Chicken Salad with Apples is a refreshing twist on the classic. The bright clean flavor of crunchy apples stands out among tender shreds of juicy chicken, and a creamy seasoned sauce in this easy recipe.
There are things in life we need more of: kindness, generosity, and salads that don't include lettuce. So I guess making a good chicken salad and giving it away to a friend is the type of thing Nobel Peace Prizes are made of. Really, I can't get enough of chicken salads, they are quick and easy to prepare, pack a ton of flavor and can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways.
What is it?
Chicken salad with apples is not a traditional salad built on a bed of lettuce, but rather a mayo-based creamy salad that combines shredded chicken, vegetables, sweet apples, and walnuts. This is often enjoyed on its own, or as a sandwich for a tasty lunch.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken breast - The easiest way to make homemade chicken salad is to use rotisserie chicken. It is already pre-cooked and exceptionally tender, so there isn't much you need to do other than shred it. You can even buy it in advance and cool it in the refrigerator a day or two prior to making the salad. Otherwise, you can always use fresh chicken breasts and cook them yourself.
- Yellow onion - A sweet onion is a great substitute, otherwise you can use a white onion too for a nice clean crunch. Red onions can overwhelm the other ingredients with its strong flavor.
- Walnuts - Pecans are a great substitute for walnuts.
- Green Apple - Granny Smith is the best choice, but you can substitute another green apple from the grocery store if needed.
- Fresh Parsley - Green onion is also a great choice, or other fresh herbs can be substituted.
- Mayo - You can substitute plain Greek yogurt for a healthier twist, or even stir in a dollop of sour cream for a little extra tanginess.
- Lemon juice - Apple cider vinegar can be substituted.
- Dijon Mustard
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
How to Make It
I find it is best to mix all of the dressing ingredients first, without the chicken, or other chunky vegetables and nuts. The reason for doing this is not only to allow the creamy dressing to mix more evenly but also as the chicken is mixed it tends to break apart into increasingly smaller shreds.
The smaller the shreds, the less creamy the chicken salad will be because there will be more surface area of the chicken mixture that needs to be covered. If you find your chicken salad with apples needs to be creamier for any reason, there is no harm in adding more mayo.
How to Serve Chicken Salad
Chicken salad can be served in a small bowl and simply eaten with a fork, or you can serve it as a hearty sandwich with your favorite bread, which is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. I always recommend toasting your bread when serving a chicken salad sandwich, it adds better texture and it helps stand up to the creaminess of the salad. Croissants and ciabatta bread make the best chicken salad sandwiches.
Leftover chicken salad should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator to keep odors from affecting the flavor. Leftovers should be eaten within five days for the best flavor and texture.
Chicken salad is great to make a day or two in advance because the flavors will meld together as it rests in your refrigerator. However, do not expect this dish to freeze well.
More Chicken Salad Recipes
The possibilities for making chicken salad are endless. Be sure to check out my Classic Chicken Salad, it is a great base to make your own recipe too. Otherwise, Chicken Salad with Grapes is another popular variation loaded with fresh fruit as well!
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Chicken Salad with Apples
- 3 cups shredded chicken breast (can use 1 rotisserie chicken), cooked & cooled
- 1 rib celery (chopped)
- ½ medium yellow onion (chopped)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ medium green apple chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Mix the mayo, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl until combined.
- Add shredded chicken, chopped celery, onion, walnuts, apple, and parsley to the bowl and mix well to incorporate.
- Chicken salad can be served immediately or set in the fridge overnight to allow flavors to meld. Serve in bowls or on bread to enjoy as a sandwich.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com on May 3, 2018.