Years ago when I used to blog on an old site (back in the ancient days of blogging), I spent a lot of time trying to come up with unique, fancy-ish recipes. They were still realistic for that stage of my life, because I didn’t have kids and spent a lot more time in the kitchen creating and experimenting. But so much of that has changed in the last four years. I still want to embrace my love for cooking and make room to create in the kitchen, but the way I do that looks a little more ordinary, a little more realistic, a little more simple.
I used to think that was a bad thing—as if complicated always meant better or if it’d been done before I couldn’t do it, too. Well, sometimes simplicity is a gift, and as it turns out, it’s all been done before. That’s no longer crippling to me but totally freeing. I get to share what I love to eat from my point of view without expecting it to be completely new and original. Believe me, I am fully aware that chicken salad is neither new nor original. All it takes is a quick Google search to find that out.
But this is a recipe we eat all the time, and we love it. So I’m sharing it.
Its simplicity means I can make it off the cuff when I need a last minute brunch, lunch, or even dinner. If you want to get a little creative, try experimenting with other additions like curry powder, apples, walnuts, or basil. Use leftover roasted chicken or freshly baked chicken breasts instead of the canned stuff, and serve it with bread for sandwiches or on top of greens for salad. Or, dig into leftovers the next day with your favorite crackers. Simple. Flexible. Easy.
Scroll down to get the recipe!
What’s your go-to easy lunch or dinner? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. You can get a beautifully designed printable version of this recipe alongside a roundup of brunch ideas for our upcoming Coffee + Crumbs Mother’s Day Brunch! Learn more about that and sign up here.
Easiest Chicken Salad (Two Ways)
Yields about 6 servings
2 (12.5 ounce) cans of chicken (or about 3 cups of chopped cooked chicken)*
8-10 ounces red grapes, halved (about 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups when halved)
1 ½ cups chopped celery
¼ cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Croissants, Dijon mustard, and arugula (optional for sandwich)
Arugula, diced avocado, and balsamic vinegar (optional for salad)**
If using canned chicken, drain the chicken. In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, grapes, celery, and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve on a croissant, slice the croissant in half and spread each half with Dijon mustard. Add greens such as arugula and a large spoonful of chicken salad.
For a “chicken salad salad” version, serve a couple spoonfuls over a bed of arugula. Add diced avocado, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and enjoy!
*Not all canned chicken is created equal. Try to find some without additional flavorings or preservatives. I like using Trader Joe’s Premium Chunk White Chicken in Water.
**This salad version is gluten-free, dairy-free, and Whole30 compliant!