The Chicken Salad of My Childhood

5 Reviews / 5 Average
My family gobbled up this chicken salad and asked for more, and it took me no time at all to pull it together using organic canned chicken. It's a super simple recipe that I remember enjoying when I was a kid. Make sure to pair it with whole-grain crackers for a yummy snack.
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The Chicken Salad of My Childhood on 100 Days of Real Food

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Among the list of foods I knew how to make when I left for college were boxed macaroni and cheese, chicken breasts baked in (highly processed store bought) Italian dressing, canned crescent rolls, and chicken salad. Let me tell you what – my cooking skills at the time were nothing to brag about.

I have no idea why I didn’t show more interest in learning how to cook or why my parents didn’t put me to work more, but, as a child, unless I was eating I (surprisingly) spent very little time in our kitchen.

My cooking abilities have changed quite a bit since then (thankfully), but it’s hard to beat the nostalgia of familiar things from the old days. So I was a little caught off guard at the grocery store when I stumbled upon an organic version of the staple ingredient of my childhood chicken salad – canned chicken! I didn’t know you could buy organic canned chicken now!

So I just had to buy a few cans and try to recreate what I remembered. Granted, the recipe includes store bought mayonnaise, which is technically a rule breaker that we do indulge in on occasion, but that’s how it’s done.

Funny enough, not long after I bought those cans of chicken, our Advertising Manager, Kiran, asked how I would feel about working with Valley Fresh – the maker of organic canned chicken I had literally just purchased!

I was like, “Are you spying on me or something?” There’s nothing better than working with sponsors whose products I use and love regardless, so it was obviously a perfect fit.

Making everything from scratch, including cooking all your own chicken, is a wonderful goal, but sometimes life simply gets in the way and the convenience of already cooked chicken can make all the difference. And when it’s certified USDA organic with simple ingredients that don’t include antibiotics or anything artificial, there’s nothing to be guilty of whatsoever.

The Chicken Salad of My Childhood on 100 Days of Real Food

As I mentioned in the recipe, this chicken salad is simply fabulous over the Fried Green Tomatoes I posted last week!

Chicken Salad over Fried Green Tomatoes on 100 Days of Real Food

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28 thoughts on “The Chicken Salad of My Childhood”

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Just made for work lunch tomorrow. I wanted something different but super easy and quick. I used garlic powder instead of garlic salt just cuz that’s what I had. I taste tested it and it was super good with lots of flavor flav! Excited about tomorrow’s lunch now!

  2. I looked up the garlic salt that is used in this recipe. Is there a concern about the silicone dioxide (an anti agent)?

  3. I tried this as-is and it was very tasty! The sweetness from the relish goes great with savory triscuit crackers! Can’t wait to put this in my husband’s lunch!

    1. 5 stars
      I have this recipe at least three times a week for lunch – crave it ! I do love my Triscuits too – gotten to where I throw them in the bowl and crunch up with my fork – YUM ! I do prefer to use tuna most of the time. Gotta try some of the mayo subs!

  4. Wow, I feel like I’ve missed out! :-) Our chicken salad was either shredded or diced cooked chicken with mayo, curry powder, sliced almonds, and diced apples. Or change out the apples and almonds for sliced grapes and chopped green olives. Never tried it this way, but think I just might…

  5. Lisa – one of the main reasons I follow your blog and buy your book(s) :) is because you live in the REAL world while you are trying your best to eat and serve REAL food. Thank you for keeping it real. My world does not involve cooking three times a day. It’s so great to discover these shortcuts. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you. :)

  6. Love chicken salad! But I’ve never been a fan of pickles in my chicken salad. I prefer just celery and onion, or curry and raisin, or grapes and walnuts, or cranberries and a dash of cinnamon. I also try to freeze any leftover chicken for quick chicken salads. Canned foods are on my “hardly ever, if ever” list of foods to eat, no matter if they are BPA free or not. Definitely makes food preparation a little more time-consuming, but it helps me to prepare foods from scratch!

  7. Amie Melnychuk

    This is the same as my mom’s ham salad :) All the town family dances had two loaves of mom’s ham salad sandwiches, made from the saltiest canned ham ever. But were amazing when washed down with a cup of Tang, after you had been shaking your sillies out or playing in a massive water fight.

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks for a great memory! Chicken and tuna salad was my staple dish when I left home as well…it’s so great when you can make them fresh for your family. As always, thanks for another quick and easy recipe.

  9. The chicken salad recipe is so useful it gives me a lot of pleasure in doing with basic ingredients. Sharing the post is so useful for me. Thanks a lot !!!

  10. Don’t forget hard boiled eggs! What kind of pickles do you buy? I have a hard time finding pickles without artificial colors (and why do pickles need artificial colors anyway???)

  11. 5 stars
    The most helpful “kitchen hack” I learned is how to easily shed chicken! After it’s boiled, simply put warm chicken chunks in the blender until it’s the desired sized chunks. The best part??? Freeze the leftovers! I made chicken salad in 10 minutes today, start to finish! I did pull out the chicken to thaw for an hour, but because I have a year old, my chunks are tiny and it’s quick to thaw! Another tip… I also chop up and freeze onions. I threw em in frozen and mixed up the chicken salad… By the time we were ready to eat, perfect!!

  12. I always make chicken salad with the leftovers from your Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot recipe! WAY better than canned!!

  13. That’s how I make mine too, with the addition of some onion (all the time) and celery (if I have it)