Chicken salad is the perfect go-to warm summer night dinner. It’s easy, fast, delicious, and versatile. This recipe is our family favorite. The sauce is made with a combination of yogurt, mayo, and mustard so it’s tangy and light. The chicken is flavorful and tender instead of the usual water-logged and bland. And the walnuts are toasted so they’re crunchy not soggy.
I think chicken salad tastes best with roasted chicken. If you’re short on time, you can do as I often do and pick one up from the store. I’m partial to Whole Foods organic roasted chickens. Cut it up, mix in a few ingredients, put a scoop of chicken salad on top of a green salad that has a few other vegetables in it, and you have a great and nutritious meal. The recipe also includes an alternative for quick-roasting chicken breasts instead of using a whole roast chicken.
Chicken salad tastes great with all sorts of other nuts, fruit and herbs than what’s called for in this recipe. Once you’ve got the chicken and sauce down, the rest can easily be modified. I’ve included suggestions.
- 4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken, the meat from 1 roasted chicken (remove the skin); see alternative method below for quick-roasting chicken breasts
- 2 cups diced apples (unpeeled), about 1 - 1 1/2 apples
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (check label if you're going gluten free)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, I prefer whole milk
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and roughly chopped
- Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Mix in walnuts shortly before serving so that they stay crisp.
- May be made a day ahead and kept covered and chilled.
- Quick roasting chicken breasts instead of using a roasted chicken:
- four bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
- one tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
- Preheat oven to 400°. Put breasts on a rimmed baking sheet. Coat with oil or butter and sprinkle with salt. Roast 35-40 minutes until cooked through and meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160°. Let cool, remove skin and bones and dice. Proceed with recipe.
- Grapes (halved) instead of apples
- Tarragon instead of dill
- Pecans instead of walnuts
- Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots