The most wonderful thing about making a salad is….well, it’s a salad! It’s like building a sandcastle, really simple and pretty hard to mess up. You almost have to try to mess it up in order for an actual mess-up to occur. And what’s more fun, building the sandcastle or enjoying it once it’s built? It’s like that with salad too.
I love cutting up fruit and vegetables to make a salad. It’s my Prozac. The weight of a great knife in my palm, the repetitive and relaxing motion, the crunching and chopping and slicing sounds. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel. Look at the huge pile of carrot disks! What great pepper strips those are! It’s as therapeutic as building sandcastles, with the added benefit of a meal ready to eat when I’m done.
And like sandcastles, salads are just begging for you to express your inner child, but with food. Put in what you like, like what you put in. Experiment a little to see what tastes good. There are no mistakes.
I’ll often walk down the beach imagining the personalities responsible for each sandcastle I see. The rambling, quirky sandcastle built by an unsupervised five year old, or maybe a ninety year old with a five year old’s love of play. Or the perfectly balanced, precise masterpiece built by an engineer on vacation. The tallest one I see as my eyes scan the horizon, built by an overachiever with his mellow on. Each one is just perfect.
I loved hearing from everyone who roasted their first ever whole chicken after reading my last post, Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary. Want to use the prepared roasted chicken in your fridge for a dish? You must try this chicken salad. Use my recipe as a guideline, but don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s called kitchen sink chicken salad because it’s all about using what you have on hand and what you love. Anything of course but the kitchen sink!
When I make chicken salad, I try to include a crunchy vegetable (like celery, radishes or water chestnuts), fruit (apples, grapes and pineapple work great), roasted nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews or even pistachios) and onion (diced red, sliced green onions or chives). It’s always fun to put add dried fruit like cranberries.
I love all the tastes and textures bursting in your mouth every time you take a bite. Chicken salad can be served by itself on a bed of lettuce as shown, or scooped up with crackers or used as a sandwich filling for a croissant or toasted multigrain bread.
The flavors burst in your mouth when you take a bite of this crunchy, tasty salad.
4 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup rosted walnuts, rough chopped
1 cup pineapple, diced
2-3 crisp green apples, cored and diced
1 cup mayonnaise (or sour cream or any combination of the two)
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the dressing, whisk the mustard into the mayonnaise. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve with crackers, or on a bed of lettuce or use it as a filling for a sandwich.