Chicken Salad, Any Way You Like It
A good chicken salad is an easy, economical staple on the menu any time of year, and it’s easy to make gluten-free. It can be any way you like it…a simple salad, a sandwich or even a quick dinner.
Chicken salad also can easily be dressed up to make elegant tea sandwiches, hearty submarine sandwiches or tempting dinner salads. Sadly, this one didn’t last as long as I had hoped it would.
And, here’s what one of these ‘finger-lickin’ good” finger sandwiches looked like before a “snack attack.”
Chicken is gluten-free but if you buy it precooked or canned, you must check any seasonings or broth to be sure there is no gluten hiding there. This is true whether it’s a rotisserie chicken or canned chicken.
Rotisserie cooked chicken may have seasonings on it or may be basted with broth, so be sure to check the label or ask the cook to be sure it is gluten-free.
If the chicken is canned in broth (sometimes called “water-pack”), some brands use a gluten-based flavoring, so be aware to avoid that if you’re on a gluten-free diet. One of the brands that shows clearly on the label and on their website that it’s gluten-free is Valley Fresh, a Hormel brand.
You can also cook your own chicken and shred it. I like making gluten-free chicken salad with leftover chicken.
While chicken is the main ingredient in chicken salad, the mayonnaise is also crucial. Whichever type of mayonnaise or dressing you like to use in this recipe, make sure it’s gluten-free. I often use Hellman’s, which according to their website is gluten-free.
Here’s a basic chicken salad that can be made in 15 minutes or less. Then you can serve it on salad greens, or make sandwiches or subs.
The optional additions hint at the variety of flavors that complement chicken salad, if you want something different. Sometimes I like to have tomatoes and olives, and other times the dried cherries and cashews are better.
What add-ins sound good to you?
Chicken Salad, Any Way You Like It
- 1/4 Cup Onion, minced (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 Cup Celery, minced (more or less to taste)
- 10-12 Ounces Chicken (about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 Cups, Shredded from Rotisserie or Stewed, or Canned (chill beforehand, if possible — I keep a can or two in the refrigerator for snack attacks)
- 8 Tablespoons Mayonnaise, gluten-free, or more as needed
- 1/2 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved, or Whole Tomato, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Olives, sliced
- 1/2 Cup Dried Cherries (cut in half) or Cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons Cashews, broken
- 1/4 Cup Seedless Grapes
- 2 Tablespoons Pecans or Almonds, broken
- 8 Cups Spring Salad Greens, washed and spun or patted dry
- 8 Slices of Gluten-Free Bread, or 2 Submarine Rolls, sliced
First, drain the liquid off the chicken — I use a strainer or a sieve placed over a small bowl to do this, and let it drain while I prepare the vegetables.
After peeling the onion and scrubbing the celery, I mince them so that the flavor will spread more evenly through the salad. A food processor would work, but for such a small amount that it seems a knife and small cutting board are fine for me. You can add more onion or celery if you like, but add just a little at a time — I’ve found it’s easy to end up with more onion and celery in the salad than chicken.
Combine the drained chicken, onion, celery and mayonnaise in a bowl; stir together with a fork, breaking the large chunks into smaller pieces. Add any optional ingredients now, too.
Chill for 45 minutes, if needed. If your ingredients were already cold, you can serve it sooner.
Arrange the salad greens or bread on two, or as many as four, salad plates.
Divide the chicken salad between the plates, making salads or sandwiches.
Makes 4 sandwiches on regular-sized sliced bread. If you want tea sandwiches, you can cut and trim these. Or, you can divide the chicken salad between 2 sliced sub rolls which can then be cut in half to make 2 hearty servings or 4 smaller ones.
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