This tasty chicken salad is filled with flavor. The crunchy apples, cranberries, and nuts make it extra-special. This is an excellent way to use leftover chicken — or make the salad with leftover turkey. A fully cooked rotisserie chicken or convenient fully cooked chicken breast strips may be used as well. Below the recipe you'll find basic instructions for cooking chicken breasts on the stovetop.
Diced apples, dried cranberries, celery, and a dash of curry powder add flavor to this chicken salad. The chopped pecans and walnuts in the salad add some extra flavor and interesting texture, but you can leave them out if you'd like.
Serve this well-seasoned chicken salad in sliced ciabatta bread or similar bread as a sandwich, or serve in lettuce leaves for a lighter luncheon. The salad can be served in tortillas or wraps as well. Light mayonnaise may be used in this salad.
- 3 cups diced cooked chicken (see below)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup diced apple
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds or pecans, toasted if desired,* optional
- 4 to 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- lettuce leaves
- good quality bread or sandwich buns, sliced, optional
- In a bowl, combine the diced cooked chicken, cranberries, celery, onion, apple, and walnuts, if using.
- In a cup or small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. the lemon juice, curry powder, if using, and salt and pepper.
- Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken, adding more mayonnaise as needed for moisture and for flavor.
- Line the bread or sandwich buns with lettuce leaves and spread the chicken salad on the lettuce. Or serve the chicken salad on lettuce-lined plates with slices of avocado or tomatoes.
How to Cook Chicken Breasts for Salad (Stovetop)
- Pound 3 or 4 chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness.
- Place a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.
- When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until browned; flip them and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it is cooked through. The cooking time depends on the thickness. Avoid overcooking.
- The minimum safe temperature for chicken (USDA) is 165 F.
Tips and Variations
- How to Toast Nuts - Put 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds in a dry skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring and turning the nuts constantly, until they are lightly browned and aromatic. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the toasted nuts out onto a plate immediately to stop the cooking process.
- Instead of curry powder, consider adding a dash of Creole or Cajun seasoning to taste.
- Seedless red grapes, halved, may be used in place of the dried cranberries, or replace the dried cranberries with raisins.