Classic Chicken Salad

Spring and summer in the South call for refreshing and simple make-ahead picnic dishes. This version of classic chicken salad is just the thing for a lovely summer lunch.


Recipe by Lauren McElwain


  • 3 chicken breasts (boiled with half a red onion, 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper, until no pink remains)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise (plus more if needed)

  • 2 celery sticks (finely chopped)

  • 1 cup grapes (sliced)

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 2 hard boiled eggs (finely chopped)

  • Cayenne pepper, to taste


After cutting the tough parts off the boiled chicken breasts, pulse them in a food processor until ground to liking, along with garlic powder, salt and pepper, curry powder and nutmeg. Transfer to a large container with lid.


Add the mayonnaise, celery, grapes, pecans and eggs, and stir to combine. If you prefer more mayonnaise, add another ¼ cup. Also adjust seasonings as desired. Add about 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper as you blend (add less for less spice; more for more spice).


Once all ingredients are combined, put the lid on the container and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or even overnight to allow flavors to meld.

Before serving, sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

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Oxford, Mississippi | United States

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