I’ve always been a fan of foods with the word “salad” in them. I’m talking about tuna salad, egg salad, and my favorite of all – chicken salad. Yellow curry with currants, cilantro and avocado, simple celery and mayo – I love them all. But perhaps my favorite is a classic chicken salad with grapes and pecans. So imagine my excitement to come across the recipe below on Deliciously Organic’s website? I immediately saved it to Pinterest and this seemed the perfect week to make it, as I have SO much homemade mayo that must be used in t minus 4 days (or 2 if you go by the early end of the 5-7 day range the mayo is supposed to last…).
I did a little research online to determine how many pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts to buy to equal 2 cups cooked. My research indicated about 1.75 pounds. Boy way that wrong. I bought two pounds (the organic chicken breasts at my market are a 1/2 pound each) and, when poached, resulted in 4 cups of diced chicken. I figured I’d just double the rest of the ingredients. But as I started chopping and measuring, I realized double was not the way to go. But that is why I love cooking. Unlike baking, it’s not a science. There’s plenty of room for creative leeway. I only had 5 slices of bacon, so that’s what I used, and doubling the dates to 1 cup was a LOT of dates, so I used 3/4 cup. I more than doubled the celery, because Jeff insists on a good crunch in his chicken salad. And I put about 1 1/3 cups of grapes into the bowl. As for the mayo, I stopped at 1 cup which seemed like more than enough. And I wouldn’t double the salt until the salad gets an official taste test. Nothing is worse than an over-salted salad (see my tip at the end of this post about de-salting an over-salted salad).
As for the chicken, I bought mine raw and poached the breasts. It’s a really simple preparation. Place the breasts in a single layer in the bottom of a pot and cover with water by one to two inches. Bring the pot to a boil and then lower to a strong simmer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, cover the pot with a lid and let it sit for about 15 minutes (longer if the breasts are larger – 15 was perfect for the four 1/2-pound breasts). Remove them from the water with tongs and chop. You can run the diced pieces under cold water to cool the chicken down quickly before using in the recipe (or before putting in the refrigerator – poultry safety, people!).
For the rest of the ingredients, be sure to buy organic (and local) where possible, especially the red grapes as they are on the Dirty Dozen list.
Chicken Salad with Dates and Walnuts
(shared from Deliciously Organic)
- 2 cups medium diced precooked chicken
- 6 ounces bacon, roughly chopped, cooked until crisp, and drained
- 1/2 cup finely diced Medjool dates (I had Deglet dates, so that’s what I used!)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion, both white and green parts
- 1/3 cup finely diced celery, cut on the diagonal
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup raw organic walnuts, roughly chopped
Prep the chicken, bacon, dates, scallion, celery and grapes.
Place the chicken, bacon, dates, scallion, celery and grapes in a medium-size glass mixing bowl.
Stir to combine.
Pour the mayonnaise on top and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Toss to combine, making sure to coat all ingredients well.
Refrigerate until chilled, adding the nuts just prior to serving, but after the salad is chilled (to keep them crunchy).
Kitchen Tip: Did you over-salt your salad? My friend Amanda has a great trick for fixing this seemingly un-fixable problem. Take a raw potato and cut it in half and bury it in the salad overnight. The potato will absorb the excess salt from the salad.