You'll love this chicken salad with pecans and apples and it's extra easy when made with rotisserie chicken. One unexpected ingredient makes it mouthwatering.
What kind of chicken is best in chicken salad?
We would absolutely recommend that you use freshly cooked as opposed to canned chicken. We like the ease of using a rotisserie chicken that's picked up at the store. Then it's just a matter of cutting it off the bone and chopping into bite sized pieces.
If you prefer all chicken breast in your salad you'll want to use a couple of rotisserie chickens to get enough. Then you can always use the darker meat in soups or stews.
Or, alternatively you can always cook your own. Then you have complete control over the seasoning and the type of meat used.
What gives it the creaminess?
For our Rotisserie Chicken Salad - Buffalo Style we used a combination of plain Greek Yogurt and mayo. This version uses all mayo, but if you want to lighten it up by substituting part of the mayonaisse with yogurt, that would be fine.
We've even seen chicken salad made with sour cream or part sour cream and part mayo. We love to experiment with recipes and want to encourage you to do the same.
Did you figure out what the unexpected ingredient is? A teaspoon and a half of brown sugar doesn't really make the chicken salad sweet. It just gives a bit of balance to the the saltiness.
We always love it if you come back to comment and let us know when you modify a recipe.
What add-ins are good besides pecans and apples?
- Grapes are always a fun addition to chicken salad. We recommend cutting them in half.
- Dried cranberries are perfect and give a fall feel to your salad, just like the apples and pecans.
- A lot of folks like chopped onion in theirs. We're not fans, but if you like it, this is definitely a judgment free zone.
- Besides pecans, how about other nuts like almonds or walnuts?
- Pineapple is an interesting addition that we love.
- Other ideas? Let us know what you love with a comment below.
Tips for making this Chicken Salad
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- If you can, make it at least a couple of hours before you want to serve and eat. The time for the flavors to blend are great, but not necessary if you're rushed.
- We love to chop our pecans with a mini food processor like this one.
- Toast the pecans at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes. It really brings out the flavor! (for another treat using toasted pecans you'll want to make Chocolate Covered Pecans - easy and so good!)
- Use a variety of apple that's firm, like a Granny Smith, Fuji or Honeycrisp. Whole Foods has an informative guide on how to choose and enjoy apples.
Whether you eat your chicken salad with pecans on a celery spear, make a sandwich out of it, or just have a scoop on a lettuce leaf you're going to love it.
Lunch may be the traditional time to eat chicken salad, but we like to make a light dinner from it - especially in the warm weather of summer. To make more of a meal you could round out your menu with Pasta Salad with Asparagus. It's super easy with bottled dressing that gets "dressed up" a bit.
Melon & Prosciutto Salad is served on a bed of greens and would be another great addition to your light summer meal.
Chicken Salad with Apples and Pecans
- 3-3½ cups chicken cut into bite sized pieces 1 rotisserie chicken
- ⅓-1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted toast at 350° for 5-7 minutes
- ⅓ cup celery, finely diced
- ½ cup diced apples
- 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup mayonaisse
- Stir all ingredients together until blended.
- For best flavor make the salad at least 2 hours before serving.