Summertime is here; at least in the feels with this heat! It is also the perfect time of year for chicken salad! One of my favorite aspects of summer is the food because it is so fresh and light generally. It’s just too hot and humid in the Midwest to want hearty meals, especially if baking is involved. We recently planted our garden, and we are looking forward to harvesting lots of fresh veggies by mid-July and onward.
As I mentioned, light and cool meals are my go-to during the summer months. One of my personal favorites is this chicken salad! It is versatile and can be tossed together in no time as long as you have cooked chicken. We grill a lot at our house, and one of our favorite life hacks is to grill extra chicken. This way, we have a convenient protein ready to go for recipes like chicken salad or even as a topping for an actual lettuce salad. Another great option if you are short on time is buying a rotisserie chicken. They are delicious and reasonably priced at most retailers.
For my chicken salad, I like a high ratio of add-ins to chicken, especially celery, nuts, and dried cranberries or cherries. I’m not a big fan of mayo generally, but the Kraft mayo with olive oil is my new go-to. I recently discovered that it is a reduced fat mayo, so that’s another plus if you’re looking to keep your calories down a bit. I also tend to keep the dressing pretty light since I like chicken salad on the drier side. Feel free to add more or less of the ingredients below based on your preferences.
When it comes to choosing bread, I love toasted multigrain bread or mini brioche rolls. If you really wanted to be fancy, mini croissants would also be an excellent choice. Sometimes, I even serve the chicken salad over a bed of butter lettuce. It’s actually delicious and keeps things even lighter if you aren’t overly hungry.
My last suggestion is to add the mayo just before serving. It just looks and tastes best when mixed up fresh. Enjoy!
The following ingredients and quantities may be adjusted based on you preferences
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 cup celery, diced (~2 stalks)
2 Tbsp green onion or fresh chives, thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
¾ cup pecans or almonds, coarsely chopped
¾ - 1 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Salt & pepper, to taste
Additional Ingredients for Serving
Butter lettuce leaves
Multigrain bread, mini brioche buns, or mini croissants
Mix all ingredients except the mayo in a bowl until combined. When ready to serve, add the mayo and stir well to fully coat all ingredients.
Place prepared chicken salad on toasted bread or rolls with lettuce.