Swap Me A Grape, Chicken Salad

I know, you hear the words Chicken salad and you think of gobs of mayo, runny white water, some celery, some soggy chicken, and a few pieces of apple, laying on a limp piece of lettuce.

Well, that just goes to show what you are missing.

There are eleven hundred variations that will keep your menus fresh and your taste buds hoppin’.

This makes the best lunch around.

I’m going to give you general proportions and then all the possible swap-outs you might consider. Just be creative.

If you have other ideas, please leave a comment. This is one of my favorite lunches and I never tire of new ways to make it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of cubed chicken
  • 1  1/2 c raw veggies
  • 1  1/2 c fresh fruit
  • 1/3 c dried fruit
  • 1/3 c nuts or seeds
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 1 tsp pepper (at least)
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. The chicken can be poached, roasted, grilled, sauted. Just make it yourself please. A half breast will yield about 2 cups. If you end up with more, either use the excess for a chicken sandwich or adjust the recipe accordingly. If you must, buy store-bought cooked chicken, but really it takes 3 1/2 minutes to put a seasoned chicken breast in the oven to roast at 425° for an hour.
  2. Veggies can include celery, radishes of any kind, carrots, cabbage sliced very very thin, water chestnuts, dried off, sweet peppers, scallions (sparingly), cauliflower and broccoli, summer squash, sprouts and so forth. The key here is cut them fairly small, and make sure they are crunchy. Make sure they are pretty dry, since you don’t want puddles of mayonnaise water at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Fresh fruit can include grapes, apples, pears, mandarin oranges, mangoes, papaya, and other fruit that is not full of water, and also avoid things that are very fragile. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are okay, but plan to eat the salad quickly before they bleed out juice.
  4. Dried fruits can be anything from dried cranberries, cherries, raisins of all kinds, figs, dates, mango, peach, pear, papaya, and so forth. Cut them up if they are large.
  5. Nuts include walnuts, almonds, pecans, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts. Again, these will not last well, and left overs will find your nuts spongy, so add just before you are ready to eat, and avoid leftovers.
  6. Mayonnaise can be plain or one of the newer infused types like olive oil and pepper. I think I would avoid hot infusions although a fresh jalapeño might work in some mixes.  If you like yogurt, use it instead. The Greek yogurt would be more to my taste.
  7. Add parsley if you like, curry is nice, honey would go well with the yogurt certainly. I find pepper is great, but not much in the way of salt. If there are other spices that you think would work with the fruit, by all means mention it!
  8. Keep the dressing just enough to coat. Too much just buries the flavors.
  9. If you find you end up with leftovers, then when you return to it the next day, I’d put it in a sieve and let any water drain out. That will help it a lot.

Serves: 2 possible 3, depending if you are serving with bread and beverage.

**I consider this a “sweet” chicken salad base. Savory Chicken salad is a whole other beastie!

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