Brimming with fruit and nuts, Chicken Salad with Apples is a honey-kissed, autumn spin on the ever-popular Sonoma Chicken Salad.
Every time I make chicken salad, I wonder why I don't do so more often. I absolutely love the stuff. And as much as chicken salad has the reputation for being a "ladies who lunch" kind of recipe, I have to say that my kids and my husband scarf it down, too. In fact, my boys straight up cheer when they hear that it's on the menu. So today's recipe is the result of me deciding to shake things up a bit in regards to my family's beloved, all-time favorite Sonoma Chicken Salad...except this version is Chicken Salad with Apples!
I've never met a chicken salad I didn't like, but slightly-sweet and loaded-with-fruit-and-toasted-nuts is my favorite variation.
And while I typically serve chicken salad in the spring and summer, why not give it a fall twist in order to enjoy it for a few months longer?
My old standby chicken salad is embellished with dried cranberries and toasted pecans. To make any recipe seasonal for October, I bet we can all guess which orange orb comes straight to mind! 😉
But since I wasn't sure how pumpkin chicken salad would go over, I opted for dicing up some juicy, sweet-tart apples instead. And if a more delicious apple exists on the face of this earth than a Honeycrisp, somebody please show me the light.
And then it was time to debate on the choice of nuts. While you can never go wrong with the mighty pecan (which happens to be the state nut of Texas...and that's puh-CAHN, y'all), I decided to swap it out to further differentiate this chicken salad from a Sonoma version.
I considered walnuts or almonds. But then I spied a giant tub of my most favorite nut ever -- cashews, which I
hide from myself in the freezer keep on hand for making big batches of granola. And I knew I had the perfect counterpoint for my crispy apples!
As for the remainder of this recipe, it consists of pretty standard chicken salad ingredients, folks:
- Chicken. Use your favorite method to cook the chicken, whether that's poaching, roasting, slow cooking in the crock pot, or pulling it from a rotisserie chicken. And you may shred it or dice it, depending on your desired chicken salad texture.
- Mayonnaise + Greek yogurt. I like to use a combo of the two or the best flavor while lightening things up a bit. That being said, you could opt to use all mayonnaise, if you prefer.
- Honey. I like to add a little sweetness to the dressing when it comes to fruity chicken salads. Feel free to add more or less depending on your preference.
- Apple cider vinegar. At the same time, a splash of vinegar adds some balance and depth of flavor.
- Salt + pepper.
Perfect for a baby or bridal shower or simple and delicious for lunch or dinner, this Chicken Salad with Apples is a fun, fall twist on a perennial classic.
Now if you'll excuse me, there are leftovers in the fridge and I'm feeling the urge for a midnight snack...
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Chicken Salad with Apples
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup salted cashew halves & pieces
- 1 ½ pounds (about 4 cups) diced or shredded chicken
- 2 cups diced apples, such as Honeycrisps
- In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, for up to two days.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out cashew pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully. Allow to cool.
- To the bowl of dressing, add diced chicken, toasted cashews, and diced apples. Refrigerate for at least an hour to chill and allow the flavors to blend.
- You may substitute regular plain yogurt for the Greek yogurt, but it may make your dressing slightly thinner. You may also use all mayonnaise and no yogurt if you prefer.
- You may cook chicken using your favorite method (or use rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken). Seasoned chicken (using at least salt & pepper) will give your chicken salad more flavor. You may dice it or shred it depending on your preferred chicken salad texture.