There are about as many Chicken Salad variations as there are episodes of Law and Order…approximately 1.5 million. You’ve got traditional Chicken Salad, Chicken Pasta Salad, Mexican Chicken Salad, Oriental Chicken Salad, Kitchen Sink Chicken Salad, Sweet Chicken Salad, Savory Chicken Salad, Hot Chicken Salad, and on and on and on.
But really, with the right ratios you can make your own chicken salad based on what you like or what you currently have about to die in the refrigerator. So today I’m going to give you a basic formula that you can use to make any chicken salad that floats your boat.
This Cooking Through Stacy’s Stash episode is brought you to by another lovely church cookbook. I got this one on a trip with my beautiful friend, Kim Anderson, when we went to a ladies retreat for the day. Like every other awesome church cookbook, it’s full of belly warming casseroles, cakes galore, and Velveeta. Y’all, pick you up some church cookbooks – for real.
I got the idea for this when grazing through the salad section. Most church cookbook salad sections should be renamed “Mayonnaise Zone.” But really, every church cookbook will have a few different chicken salad recipes – because Beulah and Mable want their own space. “They are NOT the same, as mine calls for only ½ teaspoon pepper while you use 1 teaspoon.” Bam. Get outta my pew.
The basis for chicken salad is…wait for it————————chicken. Now honestly, I don’t care what kind of chicken you use. Most of the time I use leftover chicken from my Crock Pot Whole Baked Chicken. You could boil some chicken and shred it – which is what I did this particular time. But hey, I ain’t gonna lie. Sometimes Mama breaks open a can of chicken from Sam’s Club. Boom.
I like about 3 cups…and because I love you, I measured to find that’s about 1 ½ pounds raw chicken breast. I’m awesome and I love my kitchen scale. It doesn’t work for measuring babies though – I tried it.
Then we need our veggies. Don’t be leaving the veggies out of your chicken salad. Then it’s not really a salad…it’s just MEAT AND MAYONNAISE. Leaving out the veggies takes away its salad status. Almost all chicken salad recipes call for chopped celery and onion. I like to use red onion because I have a love affair with it. And if Barry and I both eat it, it totally cancels out the breath.
And finally, we need dressing. Those are our basic components. All the other stuff is just extra and I’ll talk about that in a minute. I don’t like mayonnaise very much. Even the smell kinda makes me want to yak. I do use it in my salads…but here is my trick – I mix it with Greek yogurt. It really gives a creamy taste and reduces the mayonnaisey flavor that sometimes can happen. Too much mayo can sit like a heavy weight in the bottom of your stomach – kinda like how you feel after watching the news.
So, what else do you need? Well, whatever in the world you want. Nothing is out of limits with chicken salad. I almost always add nuts to mine – and either raisins, cranberries, or dried cherries. I do not like grapes in my salad, but Barry does.
Here are some optional add-ins:
-chopped cilantro or celery leaves
– ¼ to ½ cup dried fruit
– ½ to 1 cup chopped fruit (apples, grapes, pineapple, etc)
– ½ cup chopped carrots
– 2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
– ¼ cup chopped nuts
– 1 avocado, chopped
– chopped cooked bacon (YEAH BABY!)
So really, anything goes. Be creative now that you have a basic framework!
Build Your Own Chicken Salad
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 1 ½ pounds raw chicken breast)
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons minced onion (red, white, or yellow)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1 tablespoon dill relish (or sweet relish)
- Salt and pepper to taste
***You may find you want more dressing. I don’t like my salad swimmy – so I use the bare minimum.***
- In a bowl, combine all. Refrigerate a few hours for best flavor.
- Serve on bread, as the meat for your salad, or eat directly from the bowl while standing at the counter.
- Chopped cilantro or celery leaves
- ¼- ½ cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, etc.)
- ½ – 1 cup chopped fruit (apples, grapes, pineapple, etc.)
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- 2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
- ¼ cup chopped nuts
- 1 avocado, chopped
- Chopped, cooked bacon (YEAH BABY)
Mexican Chicken Salad: add salsa, black beans, cheese, and taco seasoning
Oriental Chicken Salad: add soy sauce, ginger, and garlic
Yield: about 8, ½ cup servings
*This post is linked at Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes, at Random Recipe Roundup at My Mixing Spoon, at Making Monday at A Bright and Beautiful Life, at Inspiration Monday at I Should Be Mopping the Floor, at Clever Chicks at The Chicken Chick, at Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands, at Marvelous Mondays at This Gal Cooks, at Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, at Mix It Up Monday at Flour Me With Love, at A Round Tuit at Creating My Way to Success, at Homemade Mondays at Being Frugal By Choice, at Homestead Barn Hop at Homestead Revival, at Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy’s Recipe Box, at Show Me What You Got at Our Delightful Home, at In and Out of the Kitchen at Feeding Big, at Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, at Share Your Stuff Tuesdays at Our Table for Seven, at Tuesday’s Table at Love in the Kitchen, at Tasty Tuesdays at Anyonita Nibbles, at Domestically Divine at Far Above Rubies, at Growing Homemakers Link Up at Growing Home, at Gluten Free Tuesday at Easy Green Mama, at Share It Link Party at The Winthrop Chronicles, at Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings, at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, at Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, at Gluten Free Wednesday at Gluten Free Homemaker, at Wonderfully Creative Wednesday at All She Cooks, at Fresh Foods Wednesday at She Eats, at Wednesday Whatsits at White Lights on Wednesday, at Welcome Home Wednesday at Raising Arrows, at Allergy Free Wednesdays at Whole New Mom, at Works for Me Wednesday at We are That Family, at Wow Me Wednesday at Ginger Snap Crafts, at Wonderful Wednesdays at Ducks in a Row, at Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain, at Fabulously Frugal Thursday at A Life in Balance, at Pin It Thursday at Sweet Bella Roos, at Thriving on Thursday at Domesblissity, at The Project Stash at Seven Alive, at Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, at Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs, at Thrive at Home Thursday at Live Called, at Proverbs 31 Thursday Linkup at Raising Mighty Arrows, at Simple Lives Thursday at My Humble Kitchen, at Let’s Get Real Link Party at 365ish Pins, at The Weekend Re-Treat at The Best Blog Recipes, at Family Fun Friday at Happy and Blessed Home, at Creative Connection Party at Chase the Star, at Friday Pin Fest at A Peek Into My Paradise, at Crafty Friday at Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, at Inspiration Gallery at Craftberry Bush, at Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, at Gluten Free Fridays at Vegetarian Mamma, at Pin Junkie Link Party at The Pin Junkie, at Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, at Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home, at Freedom Fridays at My Turn For Us, at Foodie Friday at Simple Living Eating, at That’s Fresh Friday at Fabulous Mom Blog, at Catch as Catch Can at My Repurposed Life, at The Party Bunch at Thirty Handmade Days, at Simple Meals Friday at Nourishing Simplicity, at Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club, at Friday Frenzy at Mostly Food and Crafts, at Best of the Weekend at The Mandatory Mooch, at Get Schooled Saturday at Too Much Time, at Check Me Out Saturday at A Vision to Remember, at Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal, at Super Saturday Link Party at Made from Pinterest, at Serenity Saturday at Serenity You, at Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters’ Stuff.