A few unique ingredients and festive colors can spice up the same old chicken salad recipe. The traditional salad no longer has to be all mayo and chicken, throw in some feta cheese, fajita seasoning or dried rice noodles to add an extra punch to the dish. Browse the ideas below to find out how to spice up your chicken salad.
Just in time for the holidays, this colorful salad uses cranberries and paprika to lend lovely hues and tart depth to the usual recipe. And like any chicken salad, these leftovers make great sandwiches or salad toppers. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 tsp paprika in a medium bowl and add 1 tsp seasoning salt. Blend in 1 and ½ cups dried cranberries, 1 cup chopped celery, 2 chopped green onions, ½ cup minced green bell pepper and 1 cup chopped pecans. Add 4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat and mix together. Chill for at least one hour. Serves 12.
The earthy curry and light fruits intermingle deliciously in this refreshing salad. Try to make it a day ahead of time, as the ingredients taste best after they have marinated together for a while. Combine 4 cooked and chopped chicken breasts, 1 diced stalk celery, 4 chopped green onions, 1 cored and chopped golden delicious apple, 1/3 cup golden raisins, 1/3 cup seedless green grape halves, ½ cup chopped and toasted pecans, 1/8 tsp black pepper, ½ tsp curry powder and ¾ cup mayonnaise in a large bowl. Mix well and serve. It tastes best on bread like croissants and pita. Serves eight.
Spicy fajita seasoning, salsa and traditional Mexican ingredients make this a fun, bright salad with zesty flavor. It takes a bit more time, as you have to cook the chicken with the fajita seasoning, but is well worth it. Begin by rubbing 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts with half of 1 (1.27 ounce) packet of fajita seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken for eight minutes on each side. Take it off the heat and put it aside. Combine 1 (15 ounce) can rinsed and drained black beans, 1 (11 ounce) can of Mexican style corn, ½ cup salsa and the rest of the fajita seasoning in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium until warm. In a serving bowl, mix 1 (10 ounce) package of mixed greens, 1 chopped onion and 1 wedged tomato. Slice up the chicken and put on top of the salad. Pour the saucepan mixture over to finish. Serves four.
Sweet and crunchy, this salad is a favorite with children because of its flavor and texture. Like the Fiesta Salad, this one takes a bit longer with preparation but you get a great flavor in return. Begin by preparing the dressing at least 30 minutes ahead of time to let it marinate. Combine 2 tblsp brown sugar, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tblsp sesame oil and ¼ cup vegetable oil with 3 tblsp rice vinegar in a salad dressing carafe. Next, take 1 (8 ounce) package of dried rice noodles and add just a few to a skillet with a little oil to fry them. Because they puff up quickly, fry just a few at a time. Once they begin to puff, remove and drain on a paper towel. Let them sit while you prepare the rest of the salad. Combine 1 head of chopped iceberg lettuce, 4 boneless, cooked and shredded chicken breasts, 3 chopped green onions and 1 tblsp toasted sesame seeds in a large serving bowl. Cover and chill for at least 10 minutes. Right before serving, top with the fried noodles and serve with the dressing on the side. Serves six.
Not for the faint of heart, this salad uses chipotle peppers, sour cream and feta cheese to give it plenty of bite. Ready in 15 minutes, it makes a super simple dinner recipe. Combine 2 and ½ cups cubed, cooked chicken, 1 cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup reduced fat crumbled feta cheese, 2 chopped green onions, 3 tblsp reduced fat sour cream and 3 minced chipotle peppers in adobe sauce in a large serving bowl. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Stir and serve. Serves six. Whip up one of these exciting recipes to infuse a bit of zest into the tried and true chicken salad.