Creamy Chicken Salad

I’ve probably made chicken salad 37 different ways over the past eight years.  And this creamy chicken salad just might be in the top two of all the variations I’ve made.  It is a lightened up version BUT I would put it against ANY chicken salad and I think you’d agree that it’s delicious.

Chicken salad made it’s way to my dinner menu this week after a long discussion about chicken salad over the weekend.  We talked about our favorites as well as ingredients we’re not wild about being added.  Our friend swears by hardboiled eggs in chicken salad.  Not only have I never tried that, but I’ve never heard of it and I’m not real sure how I feel about that ingredient.

I have a few rules for chicken salad, two of which cannot be broken (these two are noted with a *):

  1. The chicken must be shredded.*  I won’t cube or dice my chicken when I’m making it at home.  Oh, and if you don’t want to poach your chicken simply purchase a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred.
  2. The only mayonnaise is Duke’s mayo.*  (and yes, I do use the “light” version)
  3. You need nuts.  Whether it be cashews, almonds, pecans or walnuts, you need ’em.  If you’re allergic, perhaps throw in some sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  4. Freshness is a must.  You can do this through fresh herbs, celery (not my favorite) or some free onions.
  5. Add some sweetness with dried fruit or fresh fruit.  Dried fruit will last longer but I adore sliced grapes in my chicken salad.  I’ve even made one with pineapple that was awesome.
  6. Chicken salad ALWAYS gets better with a little time in the fridge.  That’s right, leave it alone for an hour.  Then taste and add some more salt and pepper, if necessary.

This chicken salad meets all of the above criteria.

chickensalad1

The chicken was poached and then shredded.

I used 1/2 cup Duke’s mayo combined with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt.  Other dressing ingredients included some lemon juice, white wine vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.

I added chopped cashews.  The recipe called for almonds but I just couldn’t get the thought of cashews out of my brain.  They’re my favorite.

Instead of celery, I used sliced green onions.  I could have easily used fresh herbs but I’m actually really happy with my decision.

Raisins were staring at me when I opened the pantry so I threw in 1/3 cup of those for some sweetness.

creamychickensalad

I served myself a big ole scoop of chicken salad along with some veggies from the garden for the most satisfying dinner.

Do you have any chicken salad rules?

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