Monday, April 9, 2012

The Best Chicken Salad Ever.

I'm serious.  This is my favorite recipe for chicken salad.  I'm a girl who never really got into mayonnaise...I don't like it on sandwiches, I prefer to keep it out of dips...we just don't cross paths all that often.  Maybe it's because I grew up on Miracle Whip Salad Dressing on sandwiches. Which I won't even buy now.  Whatever it is, I don't care for mayo much.  And chicken salad and mayo seem to be a team that everyone loves.  Everyone but me.

I want my chicken salad to be light and tasty, and mayo based chicken salad is just heavy and too greasy, at least to me.  I've run across a couple of good restaurant versions, and after a few years, here's the recipe I developed that got the best of each of those versions.



For some people, this recipe may be too light...for me it screams light spring/summer fare, and is lower in fat than comparable recipes.   I love it!  The addition of Craisins, at least to me, was the perfect finishing touch, helping to break up the savory flavors with some tart sweetness.  It's fantastic.  It's the -



Here's what I do (I'm sharing with you a recipe that took me YEARS to perfect to my liking!).

Note:  I use a food processor to make mine - you certainly don't have to.  I fought the food processor trend for years, until I had kids and asked for one to make baby food.  After making baby food, I moved on to soups...and it is fantastic to be done chopping and slicing vegetables so quickly.  I'm happy to have it, though it can be a pain to clean all the parts.   Anyway, if you don't have a food processor, finely chop the celery, onion, and dill, and shred the chicken with your fingers or with a pair of forks.

Spring Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 whole rotisserie chicken (you can use 3-4 parboiled chicken breasts instead)
1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped - if you can't get fresh dill, use Mrs. Dash's Lemon Dill seasoning. It works really well in place of fresh.

1/3 of a yellow onion, coarsely chopped (easier for the food processor)- I like red onions as garnish, but to me, yellow onions belong in salads - tuna and chicken. :)

3-4 stalks of celery, cut into chunks (easier for the food processor)

salt and fresh ground pepper

lemon juice (2-4 Tablespoons)

3/4 fat free plan Greek Yogurt

mayo (if desired, replace 1/4 c of the yogurt) - makes it richer...if the salad is a little dry in the end (more chicken than usual) I usually add a good squirt of mayo to even it out.

sour cream (if desired, replace 1/4 c of the yogurt) - makes it a little heavier and creamier.

Craisins (1/2c to 1c, to taste)




To Make it:
1. First off, tear all the meat off the rotisserie chicken, and set aside in a bowl.

2. Take about 1/2 of the chicken and run through the food processor.  It's important to pulse the processor, unless you want chicken paste.  I found if you use the dough blade, you almost shred the chicken, and it's a great consistency.  Move the shredded chicken to a bowl, and repeat with the other half of the chicken.

3. When the chicken is all shredded, pour 2-4 Tablespoons of lemon juice on top of it, and stir it all together.  Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

4. Finely process the onion and celery in the food processor.  I pretty much puree mine, since my kids don't notice either unless they taste big chunks of them.  I can't blame them, I hate to get a big bite of onion.

5. In another bowl, mix the dressing ingredients - the yogurt, mayo (if using), sour cream (if using), dill, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a bit of ground black pepper.

6. Remove the bowl of chicken from the fridge, and add the onion, celery, and Craisins.  Stir well to mix.  Add the dressing and stir until evenly mixed.
You can refrigerate it immediately and let the flavors meld for a few hours, or serve right then.  This makes a good amount of sandwiches - it lasts us for days.

You can serve it in so many ways -  I like to put it on a bed of lettuce as a salad, use it as a cracker spread, make sandwiches on croissants...I don't think there's a wrong way to eat it.

Today I treated myself to some croissants - they're something I never buy, but that buttery richness is perfect with the chicken salad.  That, and last seasons homemade pickles on the side.  Heaven.

Have a great evening!


17 comments:

  1. This looks super yummy! Thanks for Linking up at Show Me What You Got Tuesday's @ ODH http://ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com/2012/04/show-me-what-you-got-linky-party-9.html

    Mrs. Delightful
    www.ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

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  2. Sounds delicious! Do you have your pickle recipe posted too?

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    1. I don't have it posted yet, but as soon as cucumbers come into season, I'm on it!

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  3. You have such great photos of this chicken salad...really looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I like adding the yogurt instead of straight mayo.

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  4. yup, I'm in the mood for this! Thanks for posting. I've gotta go now and some nice hard rolls. Happy Spring. Linda

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  5. mmMm - this looks like a great recipe!! I love the ingredients you chose, especially the fresh dill. Thanks so much for sharing this on Romance on a Dime!! I'm pinning this!

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  6. THis sounds delish!!!!! My readers want your recipe because this was the most viewed link last week at the whatever Goes Wednesday party last week. I am featuring it today at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com.

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  7. Yum this sounds great! thanks for sharing :) Have a wonderful rest of the week!
    -Kayla :)

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  8. Sounds delish, but I think I would leave the onion out. Coming by from Whatever Goes Wednesday party.

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  9. OH My! I'll be making this soon! I love chicken salads, but I'm lactose intolerant, so will probably skip the yogurt. Thanks so much for posting your fab recipe! Found you through Someday Crafts Party today.
    JoAnn
    sweetpepperrose.blogspot.com

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  10. Oh, I want the crescent roll sandwich right now! :) I LOVE a good chicken salad so I'm pinning this to try very soon. Thanks!

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  11. i would love to have this for my baby shower but it can get expensive to buy alot of rotisserie chicken was wondering if you thought using the can chicken like tuna comes in would still be good?

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    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by!
      I've used canned chicken before, but to me, it always has the off taste like canned tuna can. A comparable alternative would be just to buy and cook raw chicken - you can buy a whole chicken and cook it, or just cook chicken breasts. The canned chicken isn't bad, but it will take a lot of it! Hope that helps!

      Jess

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  12. Finally someone who shares my dislike for mayo! looking forward to making this soon as a lighter alternative :)

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  13. This recipe really seems simple, and sometimes, the simplest are the best. I do love salads and I have tried different recipes and in those, I have used either mayo or yogurt. I have no problem with mayo but when I get enough of it, I usually substitute it with Greek yogurt. This post will surely delight other readers as well as shiva platters Fort Lauerdale providers out there who are looking for fresh ideas. It certainly is good, too. Anyway, I am going to give your recipe a try. Thank you for sharing.

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Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or ideas to share.