My 14-year-old daughter, who usually doesn’t even like chicken salad, gave this one an “11” on a scale of 1 to 10. I think that says a lot about this recipe! Also, it backs up the theory that your kids have to try new foods many different times and, more importantly, many different ways.
I could’ve easily labeled her as someone who doesn’t like chicken salad, but now, about a half a dozen tries later, I found one that’s a winner! I never said it was easy overcoming pickiness, but it is worth it in the end. My younger daughter, on the other hand, has never met a chicken salad she didn’t like and would happily eat this one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let her, haha. :)
We usually don’t use much mayo in our house, but when we do, we go for some of the cleaner options that didn’t exist when we first cut out processed food (as mentioned in the recipe below)! I love how much easier it is to eat better nowadays.
Speaking of, I also used organic chicken in this recipe from our sponsor, (SVO) Farmer Focus. You can use this store locator to find their products near you (we got our chicken for this recipe at Earth Fare).
Sponsor Shoutout: SVO Farmer Focus Chicken
I used Farmer Focus organic chicken, and what we like about their company (other than the fact their chicken is organic!) is their focus on the farmer and investment in the process, which means better working conditions, and in the end, a better product. Plus, their operation is 100% organic from start to finish, something that most other chicken companies don’t always do.
Farmer Focus began when the founder, Corwin, felt there was a need for high-quality chickens raised with dignity and care, and sought out to create this with a small-scale organic farm. Now with ten times the size of his original flock, his belief and ethics clearly have a place in the market!
Other chicken farmers who were tired of their existing contracts, and the competition with other farmers, were welcomed with open arms and now have the ability to own their own chickens and retain control of their farms. And thus, the Farmer Focus business model (that we are fans of!) was born.
Different Ways We Eat Chicken Salad
With warmer weather upon us, it’s the perfect time of year for this recipe. We prefer our chicken salad stuffed inside a toasted whole wheat pita along with a slice of cheese and lettuce. You can also use regular bread or crackers, of course, but there’s just something about putting it “inside” the pita that’s appealing to us.
Also, don’t forget, you can even skip the bread and crackers all together if you want and wrap it inside a big piece of lettuce all by itself! Although, I’d probably still include the slice of cheese. :) Either way, it’s great for a packed lunch or picnic outing or even for a pot luck cookout gathering!
What’s your stance on chicken salad?
Loaded Chicken Salad
- 4 1/2 pound whole chicken I used Farmer Focus organic chicken, cooked (see instructions below)
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise I like “cleaner” brands such as Chosen Foods or Primal Kitchen
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans lightly toasted
- 1 apple cored and diced. I like honeycrisp or gala (red delicious will brown too quickly)
- 1 cup red grapes diced
- 2 stalks celery trimmed and cut into small dice or slices
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Havarti cheese or cheddar
- 8 whole-wheat pitas
To cook the chicken
- Cook the chicken in the slow cooker according to directions for "The Best Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot" recipe as follows: Cut an onion in half and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker. Combine 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and place on top of the onion. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, until the chicken is falling off the bone.
To make the chicken salad
- Shred the chicken with a fork and add it to a large mixing bowl. (Don't forget to save the skin and bones to make Overnight Chicken Stock in your slow cooker!)
- Mix in the mayo, pecans, apple, grapes, celery, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until well combined. If you don't use the recommended seasoned chicken for this recipe then you may need to add more spices for better flavor.
- We like to toast whole-wheat pitas in a pan with a little butter and then add the chicken salad along with a slice of havarti or cheddar cheese and some big crunchy pieces of lettuce. Serve and enjoy!