By Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
Chicken salad is one of those anytime salads that seems to put a smile on anyone’s face. It’s also one of those recipes that you can make any way you want …
as long as it has chicken in it, of course! Traditional chicken salad usually includes mayonnaise as the creamy base—but the rest is up to you.
This recipe is a delightful take on a creamy chicken salad that lets you add your own twist to it, if you like.
But it’s so tasty with its distinctive tarragon as the herb of choice, you may just want to keep it as is!
To make this recipe super easy and quick to fix, simply pick up rotisserie chicken from your local market—or use leftover roasted or grilled chicken breast.
The extra seasoning on it can make this chicken salad extra tasty, too.
Alternatively, you can make the chicken for this chicken salad recipe from scratch.
Here’s how: Cut 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1/2-inch cubes.
Bring a small saucepan filled with 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth to a boil. Add the chicken cubes and return just to a boil.
Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is well done, about 5 minutes.
Drain the poached chicken cubes, reserving the broth for other use. Transfer the chicken cubes to a medium bowl and chill for use in this recipe.
Want to add your own personal touch to this chicken salad?
Pan-toast sliced almonds or choose roasted rather than raw pistachios, walnuts or pecans.
For extra crunch, consider including finely diced red onion, celery, fennel, or bell pepper.
For fruity flair, add sliced grapes, finely diced apples, or dried fruit bits. For more of a savory take, stir in sliced scallions, pickles, or a small dollop of Dijon mustard.
Or for an extra punch of protein, add diced hard-boiled egg.
By the way, if you do choose to personalize this recipe, please don’t try all of these additions at once, or you’ll likely end up with a very odd chicken salad concoction!
You don’t always have to serve this chicken salad the same way either. You can enjoy it as is along with some whole grain crackers. For fun, serve in a lettuce or bell pepper cup. Enjoy as a sandwich with rye or pumpernickel bread or a croissant. Or go open-face and serve on whole grain toast.
Hint: You can make the chicken salad in advance and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Stir in the nuts just before serving so they stay crunchy.
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a classically-trained chef, registered dietitian nutritionist, award-winning cookbook author, and media personality. She is author of several cookbooks, including The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, The With or Without Meat Cookbook, 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipe, and Big Green Cookbook. She’s a healthy cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and a contributing recipe developer and food writer for Livestrong.com. She’s made professional guest appearances on dozens of television news shows, including Good Morning America. Visit her website jackienewgent.com or follow her on Instagram: @jackienewgent.
Easy Chicken Salad Recipe
- 2 cups cubed pre-cooked, boneless skinless chicken breast, chilled
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds pistachios, walnuts, or pecans
- In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, mayonnaise, tarragon, vinegar, and salt until evenly combined.
- When ready to serve, stir in the nuts. Adjust seasoning.