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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cranberry and Pistachio Chicken Salad... Salad

It seems like every family has a go-to recipe for chicken salad. I'm talking just a basic recipe that they might use for lunches or to use up leftover chicken. Here is mine. They're usually a simple mixture of chicken and mayonnaise, a little pickle relish and some kind of crunchy veggie.

I use my basic recipe all the time. I make either chicken or tuna salad about once a week, but sometimes I just want something out of the ordinary. So I was watching television a few weeks ago and I happened to see a commercial for Arby's chicken salad sandwich. You probably know the one, it has grapes and nuts in it. I ate it a lot when I was pregnant because Aaron was on an Arby's kick and everything else on their menu made my stomach turn.

That commercial kicked my brain into gear and I thought What else would I really love to add to chicken salad?

My first thought was pistachios. Don't ask me why. They are probably my favorite nut because they have such a unique sweet/salty flavor. Plus, I have a strong need for crunchiness in chicken salad and thought the texture would be just right.

Then I thought some dried cranberries would add a touch of sweet and tart to the mixture too. I hopped in the kitchen and started experimenting and this is what I came up with.

Personally I like this chicken salad over lettuce (a chicken salad salad), but it is the perfect consistency for sandwiches. My basic recipe is rather wet, but this recipe is more dry so the bread doesn't get soggy. I made the chicken slightly chunkier so it works better with larger crackers (I usually use wheat thins but this is better with club crackers), but honestly, try it over lettuce. The small amount of mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip in my case) reduces the need for salad dressing.

Cranberry and Pistachio Chicken Salad

Source: Totally Original!

2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/4 cup Miracle Whip (my preference, you could use mayonnaise if you like)
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish or diced sweet gherkins
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or craisins)
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped

In a small mixing bowl combine the chicken, celery, Miracle Whip, relish, and cranberries.

Mix until combined. Add a bit more Miracle Whip if it looks too dry. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Just before serving mix in the pistachios or sprinkle them on top after serving. Serve on bread, with crackers, or over salad.

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