I’d invited my friends and staff to my house and served this chicken walnut salad. Not only was the finished dish visually appealing, it was creamy and nutty with a burst of sweetness and anise. I served it with a fresh, hot baguette that was thinly sliced, champagne, and beer. It was a lovely party. There was plenty of food. But this chicken walnut salad was the bomb.
The original chicken salad recipe version calls for pulled chicken, but I served a chunkier version at the restaurant to save time. Whether you pull or chop the chicken, you’ll love the way the flavours complement each other. Chicken Walnut Salad can be made up to two days ahead, but wait to add the grapes until you are ready to serve.
Tastiest Chicken Walnut Salad Recipe
- 1 large chicken breast boneless skinless
- 2 medium chicken thighs boneless skinless
- ½ cup mayonnaise low-fat
- ½ cup walnut halves and pieces
- ⅓ cup celery hearts minced
- ½ cup red grapes quartered on the long side
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 dash black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring water to boil on high heat in a large pot. Add chicken and reduce heat to medium heat. Cover with a vented lid halfway and simmer for 25 minutes. Make sure water remains at a soft boil. If not, increase heat to medium-high. If boiling too hard, vent the lid a little more.
- While the chicken cooks, spread walnuts on a baking tray and bake for 7 to 8 minutes on the centre rack in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven. Remove nuts from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Mince walnuts. (I use a chef’s knife for this task, but you can use a coffee grinder. However, don’t over-process the nuts in the grinder. You want the walnuts to be okay, not paste-like.
- Remove the chicken from the water to a cooling rack. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes or when the chicken is cool to the touch. Pull chicken with your fingers or shred it with two forks.
- Add pulled chicken to a large bowl. Add ½ cup of mayonnaise and stir to coat the chicken.
- Add walnuts, grapes, celery and tarragon. Stir. Add salt and pepper. Stir again. Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Stir.
- Cover and refrigerate up to one hour before serving. Refrigerate any uneaten chicken salad within two days. (As if you’ll have leftovers.)