This chicken salad is bursting with the flavors of autumn—dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, green apples, and fresh herbs. It’s great for sandwiches, and also on a bed of baby greens. I love it both ways.
I LOVE a good chicken salad sandwich. But a good chicken salad sandwich is nearly impossible to find outside of a good home kitchen. I know, because I’m always looking.
So what constitutes “good” in a chicken sandwich?
It begins and ends with the chicken–roasted or grilled chicken breast–flavorful, tender, and moist.
A hint of wood smoke from the grill is extra appealing. For speed and ease, the tender, roast chicken available at many supermarkets these days is fair game.
Beyond the chicken, a full flavored mayonnaise or aioli binder is essential. But then, the sky is almost the limit.
For me, celery, green onions, toasted walnuts, pecans or almonds, and fresh herbs are a must. And in the fall, I always add green apple and dried cranberries, which deliciously cut the richness of the mayo.
Autumn Chicken Salad Sandwich
This chicken salad is bursting with the flavors of autumn—dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, green apples, and fresh herbs. And if you can add a hint of smoke to the chicken, all the better.
You can certainly build sandwiches with this chicken salad, but it also stands on its own on a bed of baby greens. I love it both ways, depending on the mood and the moment.
Ingredient Note If you want to use brioche buns from a local bakery, hollow them out somewhat, so you don’t have too much bread in proportion to chicken salad.
1 cup homemade or best quality purchased mayonnaise
2 teaspoons country style Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 cups cooked (roasted or lightly smoked), coarsely chopped chicken breast (20 ounces) (2 whole chicken breasts typically yield 6 cups chopped chicken)
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts (4 ounces)
1 cup cored, seeded, and diced green apple ( ½ large apple)
½ cup trimmed, and thinly sliced celery (1-2 celery ribs)
½ cup trimmed and thinly sliced (½ bunch green onions)
½ cup moist, dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, optional
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dijon Aioli (from above)
rye bread or soft home-style bun (toasted if desired)
super thin potato chips
- To prepare the Dijon Aioli, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, Dijon, and garlic until smooth. Reserve.
- To prepare the Chicken Salad, in a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, walnuts, apple, celery, green onions, and tarragon if using.
- Pour about ¾ of the Dijon Aioli over the chicken mixture and toss gently to combine. Add a little more dressing if needed (reserving at least a few tablespoons for building the sandwiches), and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To build each sandwich, spread 2 slices of bread with some of the remaining Dijon Aioli.
- Arrange baby lettuce on one of the bread slices, top with a generous mound of chicken salad, and top with the remaining slice of bread.
- Serve with potato chips and pickles.
Makes 6-8 sandwiches.
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Chicken Salad | Wikipedia
- Chicken Salad | WikiChicken
- Chicken Salad with Grapes & Walnuts | Christen’s Kitchen
- Chicken Salad: Back to the Beginning | Willow Tree
- What’s the Strangest Thing You Put in Your Chicken Salad? | Serious Eat
Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.
i make a salad very similar to this with a curry dressing. Mayo + 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar + 1teaspoon curry.
This looks delicious and I will try it-I make a curried version with golden raisins, Major Grey Chutney, and sweet curry-I think adding the apples will add more texture and give it a sweet/tart dimension (I’ve never been fond of grapes in chicken salad although I enjoy raisins…go figure). Thanks again for your wonderful inspiration Susan!
I’m really digging all of those fruits and nuts! Even my picky little eaters will love this!
I’m all about this chicken salad. Grab me a good roll or a piece of baguette and I’m going to dive into it, preferably not head first. Your comment about store-bought roasted chicken is on target too – I almost never roast my own these days, since there are so many good roasted chickens one can use as the basis for a mostly homemade meal:)
I love chicken salad that has curry in it and have made a similar style since trying it in a restaurant. Your recipe looks great!
This looks fantastic! Perfect salad for summer gathering or bbq, love the flavors!
This sounds like the perfect autumn lunch! I really love a good chicken salad — this looks great.
Love the autumn touches on this chicken salad. It looks so perfect – and your tips about perfecting chicken salad are great!
Love this! I’m a vegan so probably won’t be having the chicken BUTTTTT the seasoning and ingredients look so tempting. Definitely have to adapt this for a treat I can take to work! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Susan!
You sold me with the curry, apple and dried cranberries. I always want that pop of sweet in a chicken salad, and curry just makes everything better!