the best chicken salad I’ve ever made

I have an unhealthy relationship with chicken salad. I’ve been known to accidentally eat an entire over-sized tub of this chicken salad (a Costco favorite) in, well, far less time than it should take one person to consume 40 oz of chicken salad.  Chicken salad includes some of my favorite things – mayonnaise, chicken, and fruit – so what could be better?

Granted, as much as I like chicken salad, I’ve never actually made it myself. Why reinvent the wheel when so many people are so much better at making chicken salad than I am? Well, when you’re eating clean, you realize that almost all those “other people” who are happy to mass produce chicken salad do not care about us little cavepeople. If I wanted chicken salad, it is up to me to hunt for a recipe and make it myself.

Browsing through my Well Fed cookbook, I stumbled across this beautiful Waldorf Tuna Salad recipe. If you know me, you know seafood and I aren’t exactly besties, although we are working on our relationship every day. So the brilliant newly-inspired chef inside of me, always willing to try any recipe that involves mayo, thought I could use chicken instead of tuna. And thus, a star was born.

I cut one large (we’re talking about an almost 3/4 lb baby!) chicken breast into large chunks and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I baked the chicken at 350 for about 25 minutes. After the chicken was thoroughly cooked, I cut it into bite-size pieces, like so:

ImageI put the bowl of chicken pieces in the fridge for a quick cool-down. Chicken salad likes its chicken chill, not all hot and bothered.

Next, I assembled my nutty-fruit team: an apple, pecans, green onions, and parsley. I chopped everything up and tossed them in a bowl like happy, healthy confetti. Look how pretty they look together:

ImageI then added a little lime juice to slow down the browning of the apples. No one likes a brown apple!

After my chicken was sufficiently cool, I mixed the chicken into my fruity-nutty confetti, along with the mayo and ground mustard. I tasted, and it did not even need extra salt or pepper because it was that good. The finished product:

Image

It took every ounce of willpower to put this masterpiece back in the fridge to let the flavors mingle, but about 30 minutes later it was totally worth it. Heaven in every bite!

I ate this using iceberg lettuce leaves as “wraps” a la Stephanie’s favorite tacos, and it was delicious. I have lot of other meat to use for dinner tonight, but I cannot stand the thought of that delicious concoction sitting in my fridge uneaten overnight. Only time will tell if it survives the evening!

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