Chicken salads are a dime a dozen–individual preferences as to what should go in a “proper” chicken salad reign supreme. Substitute any of your favorite ingredients–dried cherries for the cranberries, or walnuts for the pecans, for instance. One necessity to keep is the apple cider vinegar, as it adds a much needed bit of acidity to the dish, and ensure that the mayo is glopped on in an effort to up the flavor. As my husband can attest to, gloppy use of any sort of sauce or spread is one of my biggest food aversions.
With that said, this is one of my favorite versions of the chicken salad. It is on the sweet, crispy side, rather than the tangy, tuna-salad side. While perfect assembled as a sandwich, it is also good heaped onto crackers and eaten as a midday standing-at-the-counter kind of summer meal. As an aside, it is also a great lunch to make when you’re easing back into a normal routine after having dozens of beloved friends and family members travel across the country to attend your law school graduation. (Thanks everyone!) The last crumbs of the sheetcake have been devoured and it’s time to get back to normal!
This recipe can be made using leftover grocery-store rotisserie chicken, or even canned chicken. However, while it’s summer and you have the grill out every night anyway, throw on a few extra chicken breasts. The smoky grilled flavor compliments the sweet cranberries, and the chilled chicken breasts can be diced into cubes, rather than torn into large pieces, adding to the “chunkiness” of this summer sandwich.
Chunky Grilled Chicken Salad
- 1 large (or 2 small) leftover grilled chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup dried pecans
- 1 stalk celery
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tbls red onion (a small sliver of a large red onion, not even a full quarter)
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme (or substitute up to 1 tsp fresh thyme)
- 1 Tbls apple cider vinegar
- Chop the grilled chicken into bite sized pieces
- Roughly dice the cranberries, pecans, celery, and red onion
- Mix the mayonnaise, thyme, and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl
- Add the diced chicken and mix-ins to the bowl, stir gently to combine
- Plate onto a few pieces of whole wheat sandwich bread.