Often times chicken salad represents a meal choice when there are no other options and you need a fast bite to eat. Mayonnaise-based salads typically are more popular in summer for picnics or outdoor activities, but there are several ways how to make the dish that offers a spicy kick that can be enjoyed in any environment.
The most important decision to make when choosing recipes is naturally the chicken itself. Traditional recipes dictate that only white meat (usually breast) should be used. The fluffier white meat does compliment the sharp taste of dill pickles or celery, but there are ways how to make the dish with dark meat that gives a whole new dish. Whatever your choice, dark or white meat, ensure that the chicken is fresh: freeze-dried chicken tends to have a rough and chewy texture that may taste more like mushrooms than meat. If you cannot get fresh chicken, use a meat tenderizer and moisten the meat in oil for at least an hour.
If you are interested in how to make it with little or no frills — to be enjoyed by a large group or fussy kids — it is as
simple as adding one part of baked white meat together with one part boiled eggs, one-half a part mayonnaise, and one-half a part celery. Use a small bit of paprika, cilantro, rosemary, or lime juice to add a bit of a kick. Serve alongside whole wheat bread or crackers. This is the standard recipe followed by supermarket deli servings, with very little changes, and offers an appealing meal but one that provides your palate with only a little bit of flavor.
For a more complex means of how to make chicken salad that will stimulate your taste buds, swap out the white meat for grilled dark meat and swap out mayonnaise for Greek yogurt. Use green peppers for crunch and add in a diced jalapeno if you are adventurous enough. Add garlic cloves and ginger along with as much lemon juice as you prefer. Spice with Cajun seasoning and serve on top of heavy pumpernickel bread or on a spinach bed.
Ethnic takes on how to make chicken salad can be a fun twist on a traditional taste. Indian mango chutney can be a smoother (and healthier) base than mayonnaise: combined with crunchy radishes and chickpeas, it can be spiced with any number of additions for your preferences. A light sandwich spread can be spiced with cinnamon and oregano, while a heavier entree can be spiced with curry powder, chili powder, and ground coriander.
For a healthier and sweeter blend, replace the crunchy veggies with almonds and the boiled eggs with chewy dried cranberries, while using plain yogurt as the base. The tartness of the fruit should be mellowed by the juicy chicken for a simple meal, but adding additional spices can send this blend in a third dimension. Black pepper and even chipotle seasoning can give it a flavor that cannot be found in restaurants or supermarkets.
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