The beauty of chicken salad is that it can have so many variations. A classic chicken salad is typically made with mayonnaise, celery, maybe a fresh herb such as parsley, thyme or dill, salt and pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice. There are so many wonderful variations. You can add a dollop of Dijon mustard, a handful of sliced grapes, poppyseeds, onion, red peppers, diced apples, raisins, nuts and the list goes on and on.
This particular chicken salad starts with the basics then takes a flavorful turn with the addition of turmeric and curry, warm spices which bring a rich flavor. Chia seeds, high in fiber, B vitamins and minerals, add subtle flavor and bite. Originally I did not add cucumber to this salad, but if you have one in the fridge, why not go ahead and toss it in. It adds even more crunch, along with the celery, and if you ask me, crunch is a good thing when it comes to chicken salad.
If you’re wary of too much mayo, start with one cup instead of two cups and slowly work in just enough to make the salad come together. You could replace the mayo with yogurt if that’s more your thing. Just remember to taste as you mix and season to suit your palate.
Don’t think you have to boil your own chicken for chicken salad. I have included a recipe to do that but it’s certainly not mandatory (not too much is in my way of cooking in case you haven’t noticed). But if you do boil your own chicken you’ll have leftover broth to use in other recipes. A plump rotisserie chicken from the market makes a delightful chicken salad as well, perfect for a quick lunch or picnic.
Whether you’re using rotisserie chicken or your own boiled chicken, you can remove the skin completely before chopping or shredding or you can include a few bits of skin for added flavor if you want.
Chia Seed Chicken Salad
- 1 whole chicken, cooked then shredded or chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups mayonnaise, more if desired
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 3 scallion (green onions), thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced small or cut into small matchsticks
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced, optional
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Tomato cups or lettuce leaves for serving, optional
- Mustard seeds, for garnish, optional
Place shredded chicken in a large mixing bowl. Stir in all other ingredients, mixing well to combine. Add more mayo as necessary to reach desired consistency. Taste for flavor, adding more seasoning and spices as desired.
Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Delicious on its own or placed in hollowed out tomato cups or on lettuce leaves if desired.
Bonus Recipe: Homemade Chicken Broth
Kill two birds with one stone. Make your own chicken for chicken salad and save the remaining broth for other dishes.
- 1 - 1 whole chicken
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 cup mushroom stems, optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
- 6-8 quarts water, or enough to cover chicken
Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken and all other ingredients into a large stock pot. Pour in enough water to cover entire chicken by a couple inches. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for about 90 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees.
Remove chicken from stock pot. Once cool enough to handle, pull meat from bones and shred/cut into bite-size pieces.
Strain broth through a sieve and keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days or pour into plastic bags or other freezer containers and freeze for up to 6 months.