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
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.