Summer Chicken Salad

Posted on by on June 6th, 2012 | 32 Comments »

Picnic classics; potato salad, macaroni salad, chicken salad and egg salad. Pretty much anything smothered in a ridiculous amount of mayonnaise could be passed off as a summertime salad staple. What is it about these classics that have made their way to the table generation after generation? Maybe it’s the easy preparation that could be done a day or two before your guests arrive, or before you leave for an afternoon at the beach, or maybe it’s the idea that they work well as one dish meals. Perhaps it’s the fact that they pair well with anything from BBQ ribs to grilled chicken and veggies or maybe it’s just that everything tastes great when mixed with mayo. Whatever the case, picnics, BBQ’s, summer lunches and dinners just aren’t the same without them and their popularity through the years show no signs of slowing down. These classic salads are here to stay and have been evolving in ways that make them even more appealing then ever before.

It is now cherry season here in Israel. And with cherries as cheap as $4 a kilo its pretty hard not to get caught up in the moment and buy more then you could possible eat before they go bad. Last year I made sour cherry and goat cheese turnovers and this year a delicious cherry pie, but these ruby red summer beauties aren’t just for pies, pastries or jams. Here, they are a great finish to your classic chicken salad, making it perfect for your summer meals.

In this recipe the classic chicken salad gets a makeover with summery flavors and ingredients like avocados, armenian cucumbers, candied almonds, goat cheese and cherries. The heavy mayonnaise dressing that covers the chicken salads that you are used to is replaced by a low fat mayo buttermilk and dijon mustard mixture making this salad refreshing, light and delicious.

So transform your left over chicken this summer into a dish that could easily work as a side during BBQ’s, stuffed inside a whole wheat pita for a picnic or as an elegant light dinner meal. Anyway you decide to enjoy it, it is sure to become a new classic on your summer menu.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For Salad:

4 pre cooked chicken breasts, shredded
2 large armenian cucumbers (or english cucumbers), cut in rounds then halved
2 avocados, sliced into chunks
1/2 cup candied almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup pitted fresh cherries, halved
4 ounces soft goat cheese, sliced into chunks

For Dressing:

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Whole wheat pitas

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl combine chicken, cucumbers, avocados, almonds, cherries and goat cheese; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine light mayo, buttermilk, dijon mustard and lemon juice, mixing until creamy and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad and toss gently to coat.
Let salad chill for at least 30 minutes.
Serve stuffed into whole wheat pita or however desired.

« Cherry Pie (sugar and butter free)
Spelt Pancakes with Caramelized Peaches »

32 Comments

  1. Posted on: 6-6-2012

    Oh, this is so much a chicken salad I could just dive into. I love the fact that it’s so chunky, that you have cucumbers in it and that there are cherries as well. What a bright burst of flavor they add. Thanks for sharing.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Thanks! All the ingredients in it really add to the chunkiness and flavor!

  2. Posted on: 6-6-2012

    Wow. Those cherries look incredible. And with goat cheese?? I love this.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Thanks Jackie! I never thought to add cherries to a chicken salad. I usually love apples in it but the cherries work amazingly!

  3. Posted on: 6-7-2012

    This looks like the best chicken salad! I love that you included avocados, cherries, and goat cheese!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Thanks Stephanie. It really is the best chicken salad for sure!

  4. Sue Goldian
    Posted on: 6-7-2012

    Where are you finding such inexpensive cherries? I paid 10 shekels for one of those small heart-shaped boxes at Mega in Ashdod this week. I didn’t weigh it but I don’t see how it could have contained more than a quarter of a kilo.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Sue, I get my cherries at the shuk here in Be’er Sheva. They were only 11 shekels a kilo! At Mega here those heart shaped boxes are super expensive too. Try the shuk!!

  5. Posted on: 6-7-2012

    Ooo that looks like my kind of salad :D Absolutely love avocado and it’s a perfect combination with chicken! Soooo creamy..mmmm…

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Thanks Jenny! The avocado was the perfect addition! I just love it.

  6. Posted on: 6-7-2012

    A classic summer salad indeed – beautiful :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Thanks!! Perfect for summer.

  7. Posted on: 6-7-2012

    What an unusual salad! I love it! :)

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      Thanks Giulia!

  8. Posted on: 6-7-2012

    I wish I can get cherries as cheap as from your place. For us, its really pricey, a few fruits can cost up to 10 dollars. Nice to see the salad filled into the bun but I sure can have a heap full just like that.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-7-2012

      I love that when fruits are in season here they are so inexpensive! Cherries in the states are always so much money so its nice to be able to indulge in them here!

  9. Posted on: 6-7-2012

    Here price of the cherries are crazy…Love your salad! Very summery and refreshing for these hot days!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-8-2012

      Back in NY cherries are a lot of money too. It is such a treat to be able to get them here so inexpensive.

  10. Posted on: 6-8-2012

    Wow! perfect for summer…….. love those cherries……

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-8-2012

      Thanks Daksha!!

  11. Posted on: 6-9-2012

    Very nice… I like the addition of the almonds!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-9-2012

      Thanks! Candied almonds make a good addition to anything :)

  12. Posted on: 6-9-2012

    I would say that this is a pretty awesome makeover-yum! Makes me not want to go back to the standard. Such great flavors in this, definitely a winner in my book-thanks so much for sharing this.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-9-2012

      Thanks Tina! I think this may be the new staple when it comes to chicken salad in my house!

  13. Posted on: 6-9-2012

    What wonderful additions to your chicken salad – I am a bit tired of the old chicken/pineapple combo that is prepared around here on so many occasions. But your chicken salad recipe sounds intriguing, delicious and healthy. I already love the combination of avocado and goat cheese and it sounds wonderful paired with chicken. The cherries in a salad are going to be new terrain for me/us – but I will have to try this because I love to try new things and cherries are readily available right now (and my favorite fruit).

    Have a great weekend!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-9-2012

      Thanks Andrea!! Its funny you say you tire of the chicken and pineapple combo you are used to, I havent had that combination in a chicken salad and it sounds great!! The avocado and goat cheese I used was perfect and I will be using those ingredients from now on in chicken salad!

  14. Posted on: 6-9-2012

    You had me at goat cheese! I make one similar, but I never thought to add cherries! Gorgeous salad and wonderful flavors!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-9-2012

      Thanks! The cherries are so wonderful in it!

  15. Posted on: 6-11-2012

    What a great summer salad, it looks perfect for lunch or dinner here in Florida on a hot day. I can’t wait to try this SOON!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-12-2012

      Thanks Shari! It would be perfect for the hot Florida weather!

  16. Posted on: 6-11-2012

    Such a wonderful chicken salad! Avocado and cherries? Wow, I’m looking forward to trying this one for sure! I love the pita sandwich you made with this salad. The other day I was asking my kids what they want to put in the pita. Wrong person to ask. I should just follow this recipe. ;-)

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 6-12-2012

      It’s super delicious stuffed in pita and I think even picky kids may enjoy it, especially with those candied almonds in it!

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