Fifteen minutes are all you need to make this simple, healthy Autumn Chicken Salad, loaded up with fresh fall flavors like apple, fennel, and dried cherries for a pop of sweetness. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.
Chicken salad is one of those meals I just can’t help but love. All you need are a handful of ingredients and about fifteen minutes to make enough for delicious lunches/dinners all week long. This one has become my go-to, because no matter how many times I make it, I never get tired of the sweet, crunchy combo of fennel, apples, and tart Michigan cherries. (Yum!)
People often think that because I’m a food blogger, I eat fancy and elaborate food all the time. That’s a lovely illusion, but the reality is, there are plenty of days when I don’t have the time or energy (or desire) to make a production out of it. Let’s be real here, I’m human. This chicken salad, though? I always have time for. Even when I catch myself reaching for the take-out menu or a frozen pizza, I can usually stop and take a few minutes to cook some chicken (ahem — or grab a store bought rotisserie chicken, because hey, why not) and make this.
Yep. If you were looking for permission NOT to cook, there you go. As much as I may love roasting chickens in my own oven (totally not as hard as it sounds, totally worth the time it takes) sometimes I just don’t have that time. Rotisserie chickens are one shortcut that saves time without sacrificing too much on quality or flavor. So buy that bird with pride, and then, you know. Make this chicken salad.
My favorite way to eat this autumn chicken salad is as a sandwich (because bread — duh), but you could just as easily pile it up on a bed of lettuce, roll it into a wrap, or just eat it straight out of the fridge with a spoon. If there’s a wrong way to do it, I haven’t found it yet.
- 2 lbs cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (you can use white or dark meat, whichever you prefer, cooked however you like: pan-seared, roasted, grilled, or poached... my favorites are grilled thighs, or breast meat when I roasted a whole bird. I've also been known to grab a store bought rotisserie chicken when I'm in a rush -- they work just as well for this recipe, and are a great way to save time)
- 1 red apple, cored and diced (I like to use a sweet eating variety, like fuji or honeycrisp)
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 bulb fennel, cored and diced
- 3-4 TBSP fennel fronds, chopped
- ½-3/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped (or you can use dried cranberries)
- ¾-1 cup real mayonnaise, to taste (depending on how creamy you like it -- I find that white meat needs a bit more, while dark meat is good with less)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: ½-3/4 cup walnuts or pecan, roughly chopped
- Gently mix everything except the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add about ½-3/4 cup mayonnaise, and mix to combine. Add more mayonnaise as needed to coat everything evenly. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Salad stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- This salad is delicious on its own, over a bed of lettuce, or as a sandwich or wrap. Soft sandwich bread is great, and brings back memories of my childhood, but I'm also a big fan of rustic french or italian bread. Just add some greens, a few slices of red onion if you like, and you're good to go!