Chicken Salad kicked up Grandma Annie Style

Chicken salad is a menu staple for lunch, but rarely does the thought of it excite the taste buds. It’s an easy and generally healthy option as long as its not weighed down in mayo. Thankfully, my grandmother knew how to take the flavor to another level.

I have taken the basics of her recipe and made a few changes, but it’s basically the same in terms of taste. I’ve also adapted it for vegans by using products like Soya chicken chunks, Gardein Chicken Strips, or Beyond Chicken.

To be sure to give you all the tips to make the chicken taste it best from the start.

  • The biggest complaint people have about chicken breast is it’s dry and if overcooked, easily gets that sawdust texture. My grandmother would use one a chicken back that she saved for soup and would put it in with the chicken breast. She’d bring it to a slow simmer for about 45 minutes, when she saw the foam rise, she’d skim it off, and remove the chicken breasts to a plate to cool down. The chicken was always moist.

To make the chicken:

2 pounds chicken breasts plus one chicken back

2 quarts of water

Add water to a large pot with chicken and chicken back.  Cook over low heat to simmer for 45 to 55 minutes. Remove chicken breasts to a plate and discard of the chicken back.

Chicken Salad recipe

2 pounds cooled chicken breast, cut into chunks or pieces (2 pounds vegan chicken substitute.)

2 small sweet onions, fine diced

2 celery stalks, fine diced

2 Cortlandt, Fuji, or Honey Crisp apple, diced

  ½ cup plain yogurt (dairy, low-fat, whole milk or Greek) (non-dairy soymilk or almond milk plain yogurt)

2 tablespoons Mayonnaise (Olive oil, or vegan mayo)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

     1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

    ½ teaspoon sage

   ½ teaspoon onion powder

   ¼ teaspoon celery seeds

  ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  ½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup golden raisins or raisins optional

¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)

¼ cup unsalted pepitas (optional)

  1. In a food processor, pulse chicken breast in batches, do not over process, you want some texture.
  2. To a large bowl add the chicken, celery, onions, and apples. Toss to distribute.
  3. In another bowl add the yogurt, mayo, Dijon mustard, and the seasonings. Mix well
  4. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and stir well. Working from the bottom to the top and vice versa.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed or to your taste. If it seems dry to you add a little more yogurt until it’s to your liking.
  6. If using, add the raisins, cranberries, or pepitas and stir well. Serve as a sandwich or over lettuce.

Additional tips,

This is also a great recipe to use for leftover turkey. Makes for great sandwiches during the game. You can also add almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, or pecans too. All are great.

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