Now in all honestly I feel like most chicken salad recipes can be pretty easily converted to become Paleo/Whole30 compliant. It just so happens that I made this version specifically for my January Whole30 and thus we have: Paleo Chicken Salad.
I actually threw this together for an outdoor baby shower I was hosting, while on a Whole30, and wanted to make sure there was something that I could eat. It was so good that all the non-Whole30/Paleo guests were eating it up faster than the more indulgent food options. I got asked for the recipe several times so I figured I’d just add it to the blog. And here you go! Enjoy!
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: My favorite way to cook these is to poach them in water seasoned with bay leaf, salt and black peppercorns. I think add a little of this poaching liquid back to the shredded chicken to keep it nice and moist before mixing with the other ingredients. Ir you don’t have a bay leaf or black peppercorns you can use other aromatics such as parsley or chives or nothing at all. The chicken salad will still be delicious!
- Mayonnaise: Be sure to check your labels to make sure that your mayo is Paleo/Whole30 compliant. A lot of brands use soybean oil in there mayonnaise, which is a no no for the Paleo diet. Making your own mayo at home is actually surprisingly easy. Simply combine 1 egg with about a cup of light tasting oil ( such as avocado oil), a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice in a wide mouth Mason jar. Then use an immersion blender, starting at the bottom and working your way up until the mixture has completely blended into mayo.
- Grapes: I love grapes in chicken salad and to be honest I often add more than the 1 1/2 cups written in this recipe. But that is completely up to you!
- White Onion: I prefer the milder taste of white onion in this recipe. If you only have red or yellow onion, those will still work but chop them much finer.
- Celery: I love the freshness celery gives to the recipe. About 1 large stalk or 2 medium stalks is all you need.
- Green Apple: While you can use another color or apple I highly recommend sticking with Granny Smith. It adds a nice acidity and brightness to the recipe.
- Pecans: Definitely don’t skip the step of toasting the pecans. It may be tempting to throw them in raw, and the chicken salad will still taste good. But the toasted pecans really brings out and earthiness and depth of flavor that tastes amazing.
- Fresh Tarragon: I think fresh tarragon is really the key to this chicken salad. It’s definitely a strong taste so if you want to scale back from the recommended 2 tbsp feel free. But I absolutely love the flavor this gives to the dish and really makes it something special. If you don’t like tarragon you can replace with a little chopped fresh parsley, which will give great freshness though not the same flavor.
Tips & Tricks:
While you can also go old school and shred your chicken by hand with a couple forks, I highly recommended the mixer method. Simply put your hot, cooked chicken breasts in the bottom of a stand middle with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium for 30 seconds to a minute and you will have perfectly shredded chicken. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can also put your chicken breasts in a mixing bowl and a hand mixer will work the same way. So much easier, so much quicker!
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