Lemon almond chicken salad
FoodA great way to use leftover chicken

Lemon almond chicken salad

Perfect on a sandwich or added to a green salad

Lemon almond chicken salad (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Lemon almond chicken salad (Photo by Jessica Grann)

I created this recipe based on my memory of a chicken salad that I used to get at a gourmet deli many years ago and that I’ve never noticed again in a local store. It used to be one of my favorite lunches.

I make chicken almost every Friday night, and I always have leftover chicken that I struggle to use, so this recipe works nicely — you can use any kind of simply-flavored roasted chicken, whether white or dark meat.

I use a little bit of avocado oil mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together, but this dish is definitely lighter than a traditional chicken salad. The lemon flavor is present but subtle, and the sliced almonds add to the texture.

This makes a lovely lunch; you can make sandwiches or just add a nice-sized scoop to a green salad.

Lemon almond chicken salad

2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
½ cup diced sweet onion or sliced green onion
½ cup diced celery
Fresh lemon juice; start with half a lemon, add more to taste
⅓ cup sliced almonds
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise, more if desired
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the skin from the chicken and cut the meat away from the bones, then either dice or shred the meat. (You can also use cooked plain boneless chicken, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.)

Add the chicken, diced celery and onion of your choice to a medium-sized bowl, and add the juice from half a lemon (typically about 2-3 tablespoons). Mix it and let it rest on the counter for about 15 minutes, then taste to see if it needs more lemon or salt.

When the flavor is right, add mayonnaise to taste. This salad needs at least 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise per 1 cup of chicken. I use mayonnaise lightly with this recipe, but you can add more to taste. If you use only breast meat then you may need a little extra.

A smaller amount of lemon juice adds a soft lemon fragrance to the salad. If you desire a more intense lemon flavor, add more lemon juice to taste.

Mix in the almonds last unless you are making this a day ahead. In that case, mix the almonds in before serving.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. I keep this in the fridge for about two days after preparation.

If you’re serving this as a salad, you can garnish the top with extra almonds or fresh parsley to add a bit of color.

Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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