The Very Versatile Chicken Salad
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
This chicken salad has been a favorite item on my catering menu for over 10 years. People love it because of its simplicity. Literally, 4 simple ingredients. No nuts, no fruit, just simple, flavorful, tender chicken salad that is easy to prepare and keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days. This is a perfect make ahead option for lunches on the go and my personal go to for camping trips. I make it the day before we leave and have it for a light dinner or enjoy for picnic lunches during our trip!
I think the dressing is what makes this chicken salad so addictive. It's bright, fresh and creamy, while finely diced celery provides a nice little crunch to the texture. Okay, so you're wondering how many ways can one serve this very versatile chicken salad? I'm about to list 10 of mine, but hey, the skies the limit! I'd love to know your favorite way!
10 ways to serve chicken salad!
1. On a buttery croissant
2. As an elegant finger sandwich for an afternoon tea
3. Stuffed in a ripe heirloom tomato
4. Stuffed in an avocado with a little chopped cilantro
5. Atop a salad of fresh romaine or arugula (great if you are watching carbs)
6. Wrapped in a tortilla wrap
7. Stuffed in a pita pocket
8. On crackers
9. In a lettuce wrap
10. Straight out of the bowl with a fork (my husband's favorite way)
My preferred method to cook the chicken is to poach it in the oven with a little chicken broth, lemon pepper and salt. But you could certainly use a rotisserie chicken or even grilled chicken breasts. Just so long as there was no barbecue sauce, not sure what that would taste like :-)
Also, I prefer to finely chop the chicken in a food processor for a delicate texture that is more suitable for sandwiches, this way chunky pieces of chicken aren't falling out while trying to eat it.
- 3.5 cups finely diced cooked chicken breast (about 2 chicken breasts)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper - or more to taste
- 1 cup finely diced celery
Directions for cooking the chicken breasts:
- Place chicken breasts in shallow baking dish and add 1/3 cup chicken broth, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until cooked through to internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 40 minutes.
- Let chicken cool completely before chopping finely by hand or in food processor.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to mix into chopped chicken.
- Toss the chicken, celery and dressing together in a medium bowl.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.