Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

I have a tendency to overbuy ingredients sometimes.  In this case, I bought an extra rotisserie chicken when I made the pineapple chicken salad for Andrew’s birthday party.  And because that version was so delicious, and because I was itching to make some more honey wheat sandwich buns, I thought more chicken salad would be just the right thing.  So I looked back through my recipes marked to try and this one immediately jumped out at me.  This is a fantastic variation on chicken salad.  I loved the little spots of sweetness provided by the dried cranberries, and the chopped pecans really added a depth of flavor.  Though I normally don’t love celery, I think it’s flavor is barely noticeable in chicken salad but it does contribute a delicious crunch to the texture.

One great thing about this recipe is how quick it was to prepare.  I think it took me all of 15 minutes to prep and mix up a batch.  I substituted half of the mayo from the original recipe with plain yogurt to cut the mayo taste, and I thought the balance was just right.  I gave it a quick taste-test immediately after mixing and felt it was slightly bland and needed a little something extra.  I threw in a bit more shallot and that really seemed to do the trick.  You could certainly use pre-chopped pecans from the store, but I prefer to buy pecan halves and chop them myself because (1) I LOVE using my chef’s knife, and (2) I think the pre-chopped pecan pieces are too small for my taste, and I like being able to control the size of the pieces myself.  All in all, this made for several days of very tasty lunches for us.  Yum!

Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
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4 cups of cubed cooked chicken
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (I skipped toasting them)
1 rib celery, finely diced
2-4 tbsp. finely minced shallot
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl.  Mix well until thoroughly combined.  Adjust shallot and seasonings to taste.  Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more to allow flavors to meld.  Serve.

Source: adapted from Une-Deux Senses, originally from Smitten Kitchen

15 Responses

  1. your chicken salad is all kinds of wonderful–i love that there’s as much yogurt as mayo, which tends to make me squeamish and i love the sweet cranberry/crunchy toasted pecan combo. terrific use for your awesome buns too. bravo!

  2. Sounds delicious!! I love dried cranberries. This looks like a great new chicken salad recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  3. This looks wonderful. I like to make chicken salad with apricots and almonds, this looks like almost the same recipe except with cranberries and pecans! Oh and you add some red wine vinegar, I bet that takes it up a notch! Beautiful photo also.

  4. looks so perfect for lunch any day!

  5. That looks delicious! Hahaha – overbuy – I *always* overbuy! It’s as though I can’t just buy what the recipe calls for. I have to buy an extra one of everything “just in case”. In case what!? LOL!

    Those buns are just amazing. I love a good chicken salad on a warm summery day!

  6. We make a chicken salad w/ cranberries and almonds that we love. I took a peek at your pineapple one too, and just bookmarked it for tomorrow’s leftover chicken. It sounds so summery and delicious!

  7. What a wonderful flavor combination! I bet the crunchy and creamy textures work really well together. I love how you added cranberries instead of the traditional grapes too!

  8. I made this for lunch yesterday. I used dried cherries instead of cranberries, because that’s what I had in my pantry. It was divine!

  9. I have to try this recipe! I normally don’t like fruit combined with a meat dish, but a little cranberry with the chicken sounds really good. I’m also not a fan of celery, so I might have to leave that out, but I love the pecans with the chicken and I like substituting yogurt for half the mayo. I’m bookmarking this now!

  10. […] Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad, adapted from Annie’s Eats. […]

  11. I just made this for lunch tomorrow with a college girlfriend of mine. It tastes amazing and that’s before it’s even been refrigerated and served on a bun. It was really easy and cheap to make! I can’t wait to taste it as a whole package!

  12. this is the best chicken salad ive ever had that wasnt from a restaurant!! thank you so much. im making it right now to pack for a street fair im going to this evening. no point in paying top dollar for a mediocre burger when i can make this delicious restaurant style chicken salad and wrap it up in lavash and go! once again thank you so much.

  13. I made this and loved it so much!!! Chicken salad is not usually my favorite but I think the combo of mayo/yogurt made it perfect…sooo yummy!!!

  14. My mom came for a visit last week and I decided to try this one out… OMG, so delicious! We used a family-size rotisserie chicken from Walmart and it produced almost exactly four cups of chicken. My husband picked up glazed pecans by mistake at the store, instead of plain roasted pecans, but they were definitely a keeper! 🙂

  15. Sarah introduced me to this website. Wonderful…congratulations. I have loved everything I have made.

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