Christmas chicken salad is a delicious mix of chicken, celery, green onions, pomegranate, mozzarella cheese, and pecans, all tossed in mayo dressing. It's an easy and festive salad that's a perfect addition to any holiday meal!
Why to Love This Holiday Salad
- Festive Flavors: The combination of diced chicken, crunchy pecans, celery, juicy pomegranate arils, and mayo dressing makes a delightful blend of flavors that perfectly captures the holiday spirit.
- Easy and Quick: This salad is simple to make, especially if you use pre-cooked chicken. It's a time-saving dish that won't keep you busy in the kitchen for long.
- Festive Decoration: If you choose to use rosemary sprigs for decoration, it adds an extra touch of holiday flair, making the salad look even more appealing.
- Crowd-Pleaser: This salad is a crowd-pleaser, loved by both adults and kids alike, making it a perfect dish for family gatherings and holiday parties.
What Goes in Chicken Salad?
- Cooked Chicken Breasts: You can use rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or any leftover cooked chicken or leftover turkey for convenience.
- Pecans: Make sure to roughly chop the pecans before adding them to the salad for a nice crunch.
- Celery: Dice the celery into small pieces to add texture and freshness.
- Green Onions: Slice the green onions thinly to give a mild onion flavor to the salad.
- Mayonnaise: Choose your favorite brand of mayonnaise or use sour cream, or Greek yogurt if you prefer a healthier option.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice works best to add a tangy and zesty taste to the salad.
- Salt and Pepper: Adjust the amount of salt and pepper according to your taste preferences.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Shred the mozzarella cheese using a grater or buy pre-shredded cheese to save time.
- Pomegranate: You can use a whole pomegranate and extract the arils yourself or opt for pre-packaged pomegranate arils for convenience.
- Rosemary (Optional): If you choose to use rosemary sprigs for decoration, ensure they are fresh and washed before adding them to the salad.
How to Make Christmas Chicken Salad
In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked chicken, pecans, celery, and green onions. Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together thoroughly until well combined.
Transfer the salad to the serving plate and shape it into the form of a Christmas stocking.
Use shredded Mozzarella cheese to decorate the "sole" and the top of the stocking-shaped salad. Spread the pomegranate arils all over the salad, except for the "sole" and the top.
Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
How to Serve It
You can eat this chicken salad straight from the plate because it's just that delicious. But when you want to turn it into a complete meal, here are a few ideas:
- Sandwich: Make a tasty sandwich by layering the chicken salad between slices of bread.
- Wraps: Transform it into a wrap by using homemade cassava flour tortillas.
- Dip: Enjoy it with flax seed crackers or chips, using it as a delicious and flavorful dip.
Christmas Chicken Salad Variations
Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad: Add dried cranberries to the salad for a festive touch and a hint of sweetness.
Apple Crunch: Incorporate diced apples for a refreshing crunch and a subtle sweetness that complements the other flavors.
Greek Delight: Replace the mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt for a lighter and tangier dressing.
Nut-Free Option: If you have nut allergies or prefer a nut-free salad, omit the pecans and try toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for added crunch.
Dried Fruits Medley: Use a combination of dried fruits like apricots, cherries, and raisins instead of pomegranate arils for a unique flavor profile.
Grilled Twist: Instead of using plain cooked chicken, grill the chicken breasts for a smoky flavor that pairs wonderfully with the other salad ingredients.
As this recipe is intended to be served chilled, avoid leaving it at room temperature for more than two hours. Instead, store it in the refrigerator where it can be kept fresh for up to 3 to 5 days.
Absolutely! You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. Just keep it chilled and covered to preserve its flavors.
It is not recommended to freeze this salad, as mayonnaise-based dressings can separate and change in texture when frozen and thawed
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