THE BEST CHICKEN SALAD ON THE PLANET

GRILLED Lemon-Herb Mediterranian CHICKEN Salad 

Raju Patel

By popular vote, the top 2 winners of the chicken salad contest were both leafy and green, full of bright flavors and colors! These were not Grandma's chicken salads, these were not mayo-driven comfort salads. 

The winner, Lemon-Herb Mediterranean Salad, doesn't even come with a recipe. It's an invitation and a celebration.

"Eat vibrantly! Revel in fresh and bold flavors." 

Those of us here in Washington State during the grey rainy days of our winter, seeing this salad, eating this salad, hear an extra invitation when we look at this salad, "Remember the sun!"

There are no rules for this salad: no measuring, be creative, just dive in!

"

Since high school days, I've kept a recipe diary where I glue clippings from magazines and hand-written notes, especially my mother's homemade recipes.

 

I used to assist my mother in marinating and decorating, and this continues today as a regular weekend thing. The best part is the memories attached to it, the aroma of the lemon, easy available spices, boneless part of the chicken, and obviously rich in protein and minerals.

 

Words won't end describing this. Lastly, the pure lemon aroma sticks to my fingers for hours, which is just worth of everything!

The best chicken
salad is grilled lemon- herb Mediterranean chicken salad.

The picture says it all!

— Raju Patel

Runner-up

SOUTHWEST CHICKEN Salad 

Preeti Ojha

Recipe

  1. Dipping the chicken in egg first will help the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken. The breadcrumbs and panko become crispy in the oven. The real secret to getting the chicken nice and crispy is to increase the temperature of the oven.
     

  2. You will want to line your baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray so the breadcrumbs don’t stick to the pan. Bake the chicken at 425 F. for six to seven minutes per side. The key is to not overcook the chicken as it will cook fast when it's cut up into smaller pieces like this. You can buy chicken already cut into tenders at the grocery store, or you can cut up boneless, skinless chicken breasts yourself. (If need to make it with grilled chicken, In that recipe, the chicken is seasoned with just a bit of olive oil and taco seasoning, which would work perfectly for this recipe. If you want more of a Smokey flavor and summery feel to this southwest salad, go with the grilled chicken! It will also help cut down on the calories and carbs a little bit.
     

  3. My salad dressing recipe uses sour cream as a base with lime juice and other spices mixed in. Here's what you see pictured above: Sour cream, Lime juice, Salt, Cumin, Chili flakes, Paprika, Garlic powder. Feel free to adjust the amount of chili flakes or cumin to make it more or less spicy.
     

  4. Mix every thing topping it up with tender chicken and enjoy.

5 other fabulous chicken salads

The best chicken
salad is Vindaloo chicken salad.

Recipe

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons vindaloo paste or >more to taste (see note)

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup N1 hite

  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

  • 1/2 cup minced onion

  • 1/2 cup diced celery

  • 2 1/2 pounds baked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • Fresh tomatoes, for garnish

  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish.

  • Pita wedges, fried in olive oil until crispy, then cut into wedges

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, vindaloo paste, garlic, salt, pepper and wine; whisk until thoroughly combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in pistachios, raisins, onion and celery. Gently fold in chicken; cover and chill. Serve on chilled plates, garnished with sliced or chopped tomatoes and pita. 

The best chicken
salad is made with wasabi!

Yes!
You read that correctly.

You can use Trader Joe's wasabi mayo from the get-go, or you can stir in pre-mixed wasabi paste post-assembly. Mitigates the need for hot sauce or mustard on your chicken salad sandwich. For a REAL level-up, pair a scoop of your chickensabi with sesame-ginger dressed greens. You're welcome!

The best chicken
salad is curried, with grapes, on Ritz crackers.

Recipe

Chop up some cooked chicken, mix mayo (not too much!) with some curry powder you've made (or bought) and enough salt to have it taste great, add some finely chopped celery, apples, and quartered grapes in whatever ratio looks best to you. Mix. Add cilantro or parsley or onions if you feel like it. Serve on crackers as part of a picnic.

The best chicken
salad is mine! On a croissant.

Recipe

  • 1 whole roasted chicken - cooled and cubed (skin on!) — maybe 4c?

  • ¼ c finely cut celery

  • ¼ c golden raisins

  • ½ c craisins

  • ¼ c dried cherries

  • ¼ c fresh, halved white seedless grapes

  • ¼ c fresh, halved red seedless grapes

  • 1 or 2 mid cut gala apples

  • 1 c mayo (Duke's, obv)

  • 1 c plain greek yogurt

  • Like 5-7 good shakes of Morton’s Nature's Seasons

  • A few good cracks of fresh pepper

All measures are approximate — I do keep the mayo:yogurt ratio 1:1 but the rest I just measure with my heart. Mix it together (duh)  and serve it on a jumbo croissant (From Publix if possible) and LOVE IT.

The best chicken
salad is Pompous Chicken Salad!

From The Department of Salad

Recipe

Makes four cups

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

½ cup Slightly Garlic Mayonnaise (recipe below*)

¼ cup sour cream

Juice of lemon (or less; taste as you go)

Zest of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons honey

Dash of cayenne pepper

Splash of red wine vinegar

½-1 teaspoon of salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (or none at all; I don’t use much)

2 celery stalks, chopped

¾ cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped toasted nuts (I love pecans and walnuts, almonds are good, too)

1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, sliced then lightly chopped right before adding

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

 

Preheat oven to 350º. Place breasts skin side up in a roasting pan and completely cover with Kosher salt, pressing it in a bit so it doesn’t slide off. Roast until cooked through, about 40 minutes. (I stab it with a knife to make sure the juice runs clear.) As soon as it is cool enough to handle, remove the salty skin and brush off all the remaining salt completely. Remove meat from bone and refrigerate. I usually do this in the morning and refrigerate the meat all day. Chop the chilled chicken into small cubes (or shred then chop). In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, honey, cayenne, vinegar, salt and pepper (if using). In a larger bowl, place the remaining ingredients and the chopped chicken. Pour the first mixture over the chicken and its friends. Mix well. I tend to bash around the chicken so that it’s not in perfect cubes, slightly shredded. I’d shred all of it then chop, but that takes longer. Adjust seasonings then let the flavors meld for about 10-15 minutes on the counter before refrigerating. I don’t eat my chicken salad right away: I let it sit in the fridge overnight and then correct the seasonings and lemon.

 

Slightly Garlic Mayo

  • 1 egg

  • 1 very small clove peeled and mashed garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 cup of corn or canola oil

 

Break egg in blender and add salt, mustard, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of oil. Cover and turn blender on low speed. Immediately uncover, with blender on, and pour remaining oil in slow steady stream. Turn off motor and stir. Turn on blender again, briefly. Be sure blender is dry when you start. Make sure the eggs are super-fresh. You can add garlic to make aioli, or soft herbs. Don't keep it longer than a few days in the fridge.

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