May 24, 2012

Cherry-Walnut Chicken Salad {Naptime Entertaining}

Cherry Chicken Salad

When it comes to summer beach entertaining we are all about keeping it casual with a capital “c.” When the kids are involved the last thing anyone wants is to plate delicate dishes while children run wild in the sand. It is so much easier to set out buffets of delicious food and let everyone dive in as they are able! One of my favorite things to make for just these occasions is chicken salad. Every year I try to dream up a few new variations to keep it fresh and fun.

Last year I must have made our walnut-tarragon chicken salad half a dozen times. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for entertaining. This year, however, I didn’t plant tarragon in our herb pot. I plan to pick some up soon, but I haven’t been able to find it in any nurseries yet! So, given the already generous basil plant on my back porch, I decided to give this years chicken salad a makeover with sweet dried cherries, chopped basil, and toasted walnuts.

While my daughter was wrapping up her last week of school I poached the chicken and assembled the salad. It actually did not take very long, the longest part was cooking the chicken. I left it in the fridge for the afternoon and for our picnic I packed up a big cooler bag with the salad, drinks, and a vanilla toasted coconut pound cake. I also threw in a loaf of French bread for people (like me) who wanted to eat their salad on bread slices.

Recipe

Cherry-Walnut Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or more if desired)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more if desired)
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded (about a 4lb chicken)
    ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
    1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil (about 4 leaves)
    ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
    1/3 cup dried cherries

    Instructions

    1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and serve over bread!

    Naptime Notes

    Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

    I always omit celery from chicken salad but it can add a welcome bit of crunch if you desire. This salad has a nice sweetness to it thanks to the dried cherries so it tastes great served with savory or sour breads. I loved it over sourdough toast!

    Naptime Stopwatch

    15 minutes to make (not including chicken cooking time)

    Naptime Reviews

    This was a great beach picnic meal – easy to eat while handling kids!