Eating chicken salad is just like trust falling into someone’s arms. For this comparison to work, we need to be on the same page about what a trust fall is.
This is a trust fall, except you fall backwards, someone catches you, and you cry less (hopefully).
Chicken Salad is just like a trust fall because, likes arms outstretched, you must trust that the chicken salad chef has cooked the chicken well, chopped it thoughtfully, and ensured that no weird gristles or fatty pieces sneak their way into the salad because that ruins everything… absolutely everything.
You must trust. Or just be like me and make your own chicken salad because life is about managing control issues and trust issues and stumbling and salad.
Here’s the start:
Mayonnaise and plain yogurt. Dijon mustard and a dash of buttermilk. You can use either buttermilk or half and half. I like a little something other than thick mayo and yogurt to extent the creaminess and and some viscosity.
Big flakey sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper plus cayenne pepper. We like spice.
Whisk it up to smooth before adding all of the chicken salad fixins.
Chicken is key. I don’t need to tell you that do I?
I use two boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached, cooled, and coarsely chopped.
Here’s how to poach chicken breasts from The Kitchn. They make cooking much easier. Once I learned how to poach chicken without ending up with two mockingly rubber chicken pieces, boneless/skinless adventures got easier.
Fruit (grapes are great, and blueberries would be mighty fine too!) and herb (parsley is great and dill would be a nice addition) add sweet and savory notes, freshness and crunch.
Green onions and celery or cucumber. Celery is traditional but anything crunchy and green in your fridge might/could do. We’re walking the line between refrigerator dump and fine-lady-salads.
Stir and taste. Stir and refrigerate. This salad is best served chilled after a few hours in the fridge allowing for the flavors to meld.
This creamy summer salad could be a fridge staple. Or you could eat it standing in front of the fridge like I do because formalities are silly when you don’t even have pants on.
Grape and Herb Chicken Salad
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached and cooled
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (cucumber is nice if you’re out of celery)
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 heaping cup halved purple grapes
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons half and half or buttermilk
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salad greens or toasted bread for serving
- Coarsely chop cooled poached chicken. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, half and half or buttermilk, salt and pepper, and cayenne. Taste and season according to your taste.
- Add the chopped chicken, celery or cucumber, green onions, parsley, and grapes. Toss. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy over salad greens or toasted bread.
- Serving Size: 4
Making this tonight, Joy! Excited to have it for dinner and through the weekend. Will include the cornichons as well, which I notice you didn’t include in the recipe (but why?) and is an excellent idea. Love you and all that you do! Keep it up, sister.
Made this for dinner and it was very good. I’d make two changes next time; cilantro instead of parsley and add almond slices. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Thanks for this recipe! People don’t seem to appreciate how amazing grapes in chicken salad are. The photos look amazing, but the grapes seem different from the kind normally available in my local stores. Any idea what variety you used?
Nope, nothing special just red grapes. Keep it simple.
gerry @ foodness gracious
Thank you!! I will not buy chicken salad from anywhere just because I’m worried about the cook missing that tiny bone or piece of chicken feather. Call me what ya want but I always shred my own bird! :)
I can totally get behind every bit of this post, except the grapes. Please note the following is personal opinion only, not a reflection of Joy or other people’s taste in food…
The primary reason I have Chicken Salad trust issues is because people seem to think grapes in Chicken Salad are the best part of the salad. This is not true. Grapes are a fruit and they DO NOT BELONG in my Chicken Salad. True the gristly fatty pieces are pretty nasty, but that is a failure of technique, whereas the grapes are an unnecessary addtion!