Can we continue with the discussion of things I would have hated as a child?
Chicken salad definitely would have made that list. I had a serious aversion to anything mayonnaise or mayonnaise-related. There were two exceptions I made: 1) my mother’s macaroni salad and 2) potato salad. I guess my taste for carbohydrates trumped my distaste for mayonnaise.
To this day, mayonnaise continues to be one of my least favorite things in life. (Although throw in some garlic and call it ‘aioli’ and I’m all for it. I don’t know how that works. I blame Paseo.)
I recently attended a monthly meeting for my local dietetic association where there was food catered by Ben E. Keith. (The speaker was outstanding, but naturally, I’m talking about the food.) There was an assortment of food, including the ever-dreaded chicken salad.
“Wait a second… A chicken salad that actually looks appetizing?” I thought as I looked at the gigantic bowl of it. I saw big chunks of chicken, cranberries, and sliced almonds. I saw a chicken salad not completely swimming in mayonnaise. I decided to give it a try. Much to my surprise, it tasted great. Completely unlike any chicken salad I had ever tasted. Although to be honest, I question whether or not I had actually tried ANY chicken salad before that point.
I came home with some leftovers which were demolished far too soon and left me scouring recipes to recreate it myself.
What I came up with uses fat free Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, making it lower in fat and higher in protein. Win.
Chicken Salad with Greek yogurt, almonds, and cranberries
For the dressing:
1 6-oz container non-fat plain Greek yogurt (my favorite is Fage!)
3-4 TB white wine vinegar
1 rib celery, chopped
2 TB onion, minced
1/2 t maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts, poached and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2-3 TB dried cranberries
2-3 TB sliced almonds
Combine dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in chicken, cranberries, and almonds and stir to combine. If you wish, top with sliced green onions!
I like this on its own, but you can serve it up as a sandwich, with crackers, or whatever suits your fancy.
Here’s to non-creepy chicken salad!