Whether you’re finding yourself in the holiday spirit early, looking for a new way to enjoy leftovers, or just want to get the taste of Thanksgiving on a random Tuesday, this Thanksgiving Chicken Salad recipe is for you. Don’t be surprised, if after first tasting this, you find yourself giving thanks on the daily as you indulge (without splurging) in this tasty treat.
Tarragon Take Me Away
Tarragon may not be a go-to in the spice rack (or even in your kitchen), but the incredibly aromatic herb is widely used in traditional French cooking. It’s high in vitamins, potassium, and other nutrients. It has antioxidant properties that help reduce the effects of free radicals in the body. It also helps improve natural digestion and has been known to relieve problems like upset stomach (which makes it a perfect addition to this day-after-Thanksgiving dish, eat and recover).
The many, many ways you can modify and serve up this salad. Just like your thanksgiving dinner, this dish is incredibly customizable. There are some recipe variations listed in the notes below, but the possibilities are endless. Can’t wait to get your mouth on this? Go ahead, whip it up, and serve it as a green leaf salad topper, on a croissant or bagel thin, in a lettuce or tortilla wrap, or eat it straight from the mixing bowl. A heaping half cup is a serving.
Thanksgiving Chicken Salad (Serves 4)
- 2 cups cooked chicken (preferably lean white meat)
- ¼ cup reduced sugar dried cranberries
- ¼ cup toasted almonds
- ¼ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup light (or olive oil based) mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the cooked chicken by finely chopping or shredding it.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cranberries, pecan pieces, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well incorporated.
- Add Greek Yogurt, mayonnaise, and honey to chicken and spices. Mix very well.
- Chill before serving.
- The chicken in this recipe can easily be substituted with leftover turkey. Lean white meat from either bird works best, but you can certainly utilize white or brown leftovers that are available to you. You can also use canned chicken if you’re in a hurry.
- Substitute the dried cranberries with regular or golden raisins, diced apples or even red or green grapes. You could also use fresh cranberries, but roast them first by laying about a cup of cranberries on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper, then drizzling them with maple syrup, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and mixing them around a bit. Roast them in a 350 degree oven until they start to pop and ooze (in a good way!).
- If almonds aren’t for you, sub with chopped pecans; the flavor should be similar. If neither of those nuts suit your fancy–shelled, lightly salted sunflower seeds will be great too! If you’re allergic to nuts, omit them altogether.
- This recipe doesn’t use celery at all, but if you really love it, and think your chicken (or turkey) salad won’t be complete without it, feel free to chop or dice a stalk or two and mix it in.
- For a more subtle spice, replace the tarragon with dried basil. If using fresh tarragon, use the same number of tablespoons as the above recipe calls for teaspoons.
- To reduce fat in this dish, eliminate the mayonnaise and sprinkle in a bit of lemon juice.
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