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Healthy and Delicious Chicken Salad Recipe – How to Make it in 13 Simple Steps

Say goodbye to old fashioned, slimy chicken salads from the deli and try our recipe for fresh, cool, and creamy healthy chicken salad. Our recipe incorporates chicken, apples, nuts and other delicious and nutritious items.

A bowl of chicken salad.

What does chicken salad bring to mind for you? If you think of little plastic tubs full of nondescript, slimy chicken-based sandwich spread from the grocery store, you are probably not alone. Chicken salad often brings to mind a luncheon in a musty church basement or something that smells funny, smeared between two slices of white bread at your Granny’s house.

Chicken salad is one of those things that seems to have come from the 1950s housewife generation. However, its origins actually reach back to the late 1800s. Shortly before the Civil War, the owner of a meat market in Rhode Island mixed some of his leftover chicken with a bit of mayonnaise, tarragon and grapes. His recipe quickly became a hit with the community, and soon, his meat market converted to a deli that sold his tasty concoction.

Chicken Salad Recipe

Many people do view chicken salad with a bit of suspicion. Perhaps they have never had truly delicious chicken salad, because a good batch of this cool, crispy mixture is never slimy or odd smelling. Our recipe creates the kind of chicken salad that will surprise people with how much they truly like it.
Prep Time30 mins
Active Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Salad, Recipe, Salad
Yield: 6 Servings
Author: April Freeman

Equipment

  • Pot
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden Spoon

Materials

  • 2 1/2 cups Cooked and Shredded Chicken 6 chicken tenders, or 3 medium whole chicken breasts
  • 2 pcs Apples Chopped and with Peel
  • 6 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Delicious Optional Extras

  • 2 tbsp Dried Cranberries
  • 1 stalk Celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup Seedless Grapes sliced in halves
  • 1/4 cup Shelled Sunflower Seeds

Instructions

  • Place the uncooked chicken pieces in a pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat, covering the pot with a tightly fitting lid.
  • Leave the covered pot undisturbed for about twenty minutes.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate to cool and later shred with your fingers. This cooking technique keeps the chicken from drying out and avoids the rubbery texture that chicken can develop if it is overcooked.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken with the apples and stir.
  • Add three tablespoons of mayonnaise and stir into the chicken and apple mixture, tossing the bits to coat.
  • Add the remaining mayonnaise one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition.
  • Chicken salad is so individual. Some people like lots of mayo on theirs, while others like less. Go with what appeals to you.
  • After you have the mayonnaise exactly the way that you like it, add the teaspoon of salt and stir very well. Add in your pecans or walnuts and stir well.
  • Now you can add some of your delicious extra ingredients to customize your chicken salad.
  • Remember, there is no perfect chicken salad recipe. Everyone has their own preferences and their own individual twists on a recipe. Choose what sounds appealing to you, or whatever you happen to have on hand in your pantry.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative! It’s really hard to mess up chicken salad. Whether you like cranberries, celery, grapes or sunflower seeds in your chicken salad, it’s going to be fabulous.
  • Just take your time and taste the salad after each addition, making adjustments as you go.

Video

Notes

To create a healthy chicken salad, you must start with shredded chicken breast meat. Some people save time by using a cooked rotisserie chicken, and that is a good option. However, if the chicken is too dry, your chicken salad won’t be so great. To create the perfect chicken for chicken salad, it is best to poach chicken breasts. Simply place five or six uncooked chicken breast tenders or two or three whole chicken breasts in a pot of cool water on the stove. Bring the water to a  boil and then turn off the heat, covering the pot with a tightly fitting lid. Leave the covered pot undisturbed for about twenty minutes and then remove the chicken to a plate to cool and later shred with your fingers. This cooking technique keeps the chicken from drying out and avoids the rubbery texture that chicken can develop if it is overcooked.
Of course, chicken salad can incorporate anything that you like to include. Our recipe is a fairly basic one, but feel free to add one or all of the delicious extras listed below the main ingredient list. If you add many of the extra ingredients, you may want to incorporate additional mayonnaise because the salad will be bulkier.
When choosing apples for this recipe, think of the taste sensation that you prefer. A tart apple like a Granny Smith makes a good, tangy addition to the salad, but a sweet apple like Fuji or Gala is tasty as well. Alternately, you can use a combination of the two for extra flavor. Chop the apples into bite sized pieces, leaving the peel on to lend some color and texture to the mixture.

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