Looking for an easy, healthy meal prep idea? A classic chicken salad recipe is a versatile option that you can customize to your taste. Whether you use leftover rotisserie chicken, baked chicken, or poached skinless chicken breasts, the result is a chicken mixture that can be turned into a variety of meals.
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Chicken salad sandwiches are a favorite for lunch, but you can also use the chicken salad as a filling for lettuce wraps or serve it over a bed of lettuce. The addition of crispy celery adds a satisfying crunch to the chicken salad, while fresh lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper give it a bright and savory flavor.
In this post, I'll share our favorite chicken salad sandwich recipe and answer common questions about how to make the best chicken salad. We'll also cover techniques for making restaurant-style salads, the most popular salads in the world, and what ingredients to add to your salad for bursts of flavor. So, whether you're looking for a quick and easy meal prep option or a way to upgrade your salad game, read on for all the tips and tricks.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This easy chicken salad recipe is the perfect dish for a healthy meal or quick lunches on-the-go. The chicken mixture is full of savory and bright flavors, with bursts of nutty celery and tangy lemon juice.
Not only is it a nutritious handheld lunch, but it's also perfect for meal prep. Make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy it throughout the week. You can also serve the chicken salad on a bed of lettuce or as a snack with buttery crackers for a low-carb lunch option.
With its versatile and delicious taste, this homemade chicken salad is a go-to choice for a satisfying and healthy meal. It's a great way to incorporate more nutrition into your diet while enjoying a meal that's quick and easy to make.
Is chicken salad gluten free?
Yes, this version of chicken salad is gluten-free. This delicious chicken salad recipe is made with fresh celery, green onion and shredded chicken. You can also add seedless grapes and use store-bought rotisserie chicken instead, which are gluten-free ingredients. You can use either chicken thighs or chicken breasts for the recipe, and you can use cubed or shredded cold chicken. This ultimate chicken salad recipe can be enjoyed in different ways, such as on a bed of lettuce, in a sandwich, or as a dip with crackers or veggies. By following this gluten-free chicken salad recipe, you can enjoy a helping of chicken salad without worrying about food allergies.
Here are the key ingredients for this easy chicken salad recipe, along with an explanation of each ingredient:
- Cooked wild rice: This grain adds a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture to the chicken salad.
- Shredded chicken breasts: The protein in the chicken makes the salad more filling, while the shredded texture allows the chicken to better absorb the dressing.
- Celery: The crunchy texture of celery adds a satisfying crunch to the chicken salad.
- Chopped roasted red peppers: These peppers give the chicken salad an acidic flavor profile, which helps balance the richness of the mayonnaise.
- Mayonnaise: The mayonnaise is the base of the dressing, adding creaminess and richness to the salad.
- Fresh lemon juice: The lemon juice adds a tangy and acidic flavor to the dressing, which helps balance the richness of the mayonnaise.
- Salt and pepper: These common seasonings help enhance the flavors of the other ingredients in the salad.
- Lettuce: Using lettuce as a base for the chicken salad adds freshness and crunch to the dish.
- Bread slices (optional): You can use bread slices to make a sandwich with the chicken salad, which can be a satisfying option for a handheld lunch.
By combining these key ingredients, you can create a delicious and healthy lunch that is perfect for meal prep or a quick and easy weekday meal.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for making this easy chicken salad recipe:
Step 1: Cook the chicken
Cook the chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let cool, then shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2: Combine ingredients
In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice, shredded chicken, half a cup of diced celery, and a quarter cup of chopped roasted red peppers.
Step 3: Mix in the dressing
Add half a cup of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well to combine.
Step 4: Add celery and serve
Remove the chicken salad from the oven and sprinkle a cup of thinly sliced celery over the top. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
This simple recipe is easy to make and can be enjoyed on its own or with a side of bread. By following these simple steps, you can create a delicious and nutritious meal that's perfect for any occasion.
How to Make A Gluten Free Chicken Salad Sandwich
Here's how to make a gluten-free chicken salad sandwich:
- Start by making a creamy chicken salad with cooked and shredded chicken, crisp celery, green onion, seedless grapes, and a gluten-free mayonnaise.
- Toast two slices of gluten-free bread.
- Spread a generous amount of chicken salad on one slice of bread.
- Add a layer of tomato slices on top of the chicken salad.
- Top with the second slice of bread.
- Serve the sandwich with a side of healthy salads or fruit.
By following these simple steps, you can make a delicious gluten-free chicken salad sandwich that is perfect for lunch or a quick and easy meal. Don't forget to check all salad ingredients for any potential food allergies before starting the prep time.
Here are some expert tips to help you make the best chicken salad:
- Cook the chicken to the proper temperature: For food safety, it's important to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.
- Try a low-carb option: Serve the chicken salad over a bed of lettuce for a low-carb option.
- Add extra crunch with celery: Use the ribs of the celery to add extra crunch to the chicken salad.
- Mix up the cooking method: Instead of boiling the chicken, you can bake it, grill it, or use a slow cooker to add different flavors and textures to the salad.
- Customize the options: Feel free to add or remove ingredients to your liking. Consider adding dried cranberries, walnuts, or grapes for extra flavor.
- Try a vegetarian option: Swap the chicken for a vegetarian protein option such as chickpeas or tofu for a vegetarian version of the salad.
By following these tips, you can create a delicious and customized version of this classic chicken salad recipe. Don't be afraid to experiment with different cooking methods, ingredients, and serving options to find the perfect version for you.
Enhancing the Flavor
If you're looking to enhance the flavor of your chicken salad, here are a couple of simple ideas:
- Add fresh grapes: Seedless grapes, especially purple grapes, can add a burst of sweetness and a nice texture to the salad.
- Serve the salad on bread with layers: By serving the salad on bread with layers of fresh tarragon, cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumber, you can add extra flavor and texture to the dish.
- Use a variety of fresh herbs: A bit of tarragon adds a unique anise-like flavor, while fresh dill and parsley add a bright and herbaceous flavor.
- Add some spice: Mix curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and lemon zest into the dressing for a bit of heat and tang.
- Use a variety of vegetables: Try adding sliced stalks of celery, 3-4 Persian cucumbers, and sliced cherry tomatoes to the salad for a refreshing crunch.
- Drizzle with olive oil: Finish the salad with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil for added richness and flavor.
By incorporating these simple ingredients and flavor enhancers, you can take your chicken salad to the next level and create a dish that is bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors.
Here are a couple of simple serving ideas for your chicken salad:
- Serve on a bed of lettuce: For a light and refreshing option, serve the chicken salad over a bed of fresh greens, such as iceberg or butter leaf lettuce.
- Make chicken salad sandwiches: Use your favorite bread and spread a generous portion of chicken salad in between for a delicious sandwich.
- Serve with crackers: Pair the chicken salad with your favorite crackers for a light and easy snack.
- Use as a dip: Serve the chicken salad as a dip with cut-up veggies, such as carrots and cucumbers.
- Add to a party platter: Arrange the chicken salad on a platter with crackers and sliced veggies for a perfect addition to any party, including birthday parties.
By using these simple serving ideas, you can enjoy the chicken salad in a variety of ways and bring it to any occasion, including parties and gatherings.
What to do with leftovers
Here are some ideas for what to do with leftovers:
- Store in the fridge: Keep any leftover chicken salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
- Make more sandwiches: Use the leftover chicken salad as a filling for more sandwiches or wraps.
- Add to a green salad: Top a bed of fresh greens with the leftover chicken salad for a quick and easy lunch.
- Use as a dip: Serve the leftover chicken salad as a dip with veggies, such as carrots, celery, and cucumbers.
- Add to pasta: Mix the leftover chicken salad with cooked pasta for a tasty and satisfying pasta salad.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your leftovers and enjoy the delicious and nutritious chicken salad in a variety of ways.
To store your chicken salad, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Avoid leaving the chicken salad at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. If you need to keep the chicken salad longer, you can freeze it for up to three months. When thawing frozen chicken salad, it's best to do so in the refrigerator.
You can enhance the flavor of your chicken salad by adding fresh herbs, such as tarragon, dill, and parsley, as well as vegetables like celery, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes. You can also add a bit of sweetness by including grapes or cranberries.
Restaurants often use a brining process to keep their chicken moist and flavorful. Brining involves soaking the chicken in a solution of salt and water before cooking.
The ingredients in chicken salad, such as chicken, celery, and mayonnaise, do not typically contain gluten. However, it's important to check the label of your ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.
You can serve chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, as a dip with crackers and vegetables, or as a filling for a wrap or lettuce cups.
Many mayonnaise brands are gluten-free, including Hellmann's, Kraft, and Best Foods. However, it's important to check the label of your mayonnaise to ensure it's gluten-free.
Mayonnaise is typically gluten-free, but it's important to check the label of your specific brand to ensure it doesn't contain any gluten-containing ingredients.
There are many gluten-free cracker options available, such as rice crackers, corn crackers, and nut-based crackers. It's important to check the label of your crackers to ensure they are gluten-free.
Easy Gluten-Free Chicken Salad Recipe
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 3 chicken breasts shredded
- ½ cup celery
- ¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook and shred the chicken breasts.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked chicken with cooked wild rice, chopped celery, and chopped roasted red peppers.
- Add mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the chicken mixture.
- Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
- Serve the chicken salad over a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich filling.