Looking for a nutritious, delicious, and easy-to-make chicken dish? Look no further than this Ina Garten chicken salad.
This classic recipe has been a fan favorite since the Barefoot Contessa first made it in 2006. It’s incredibly flavorful and satisfying, but that’s not all.
You can throw this healthy salad together in under 30 minutes!
That makes it an ideal lunch or dinner option when you’re short on time.
Plus, it’s packed with protein, fresh herbs, and crunchy vegetables. There are so many reasons to love Ina Garten’s chicken salad.
So keep reading to learn how to make it.
Ina Garten Chicken Salad
Whether alone or on bread, chicken salad is a favorite for many. And Ina Garten knows how to make the best chicken salad.
It’s the perfect blend of tangy, herby savoriness.
The trick is using high-quality ingredients.
Start with lean chicken, fresh grapes and celery, and good mayonnaise and olive oil. Roast the chicken before shredding it.
Also, be sure to use fresh tarragon instead of dried.
I once read somewhere that “there’s no wrong herb” for chicken salad. Even so, tarragon is your best bet.
It smells phenomenal and tastes even better. Keep those things in mind to ensure your chicken salad has the best taste.
To make Ina Garten’s famous chicken salad, you’ll need the following eight ingredients:
- Chicken breasts. I use chicken breasts because I prefer to make chicken salad with all white meat. Roast it with the bone in and the skin on. Then, remove both skin and bones once it’s cooked.
- Olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Before roasting the chicken, you’ll coat it in olive oil. Then, season it well with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Don’t skip this step, as these ingredients give the chicken most of its flavor.
- Mayonnaise. Mayo acts as the binding agent in this recipe. It’s thick and creamy and holds everything together nicely. It also has a mild flavor that lends itself well to the other ingredients in the recipe.
- Tarragon leaves. Some insist dried tarragon works just as well as fresh, but I disagree. Vehemently. If you want the best possible chicken salad, you must use fresh tarragon. It provides the best flavor.
- Celery. Some chicken salad recipes use nuts for added crunch. I prefer celery and so does Ina Garten. Celery gives you all the crunch you need without adding a lot of fat and calories. Its earthy veggie flavor also pairs well with the grapes’ sweet tanginess.
- Green grapes. Your hint of sweetness comes from green grapes. They’re juicy, slightly tart, and delicious. They’ll make your chicken salad taste phenomenal.
Those are the only things you’ll need to prepare this chicken salad. Other people like to add onions, nuts, parsley, Dijon, etc.
You can add those things if you like, but the recipe doesn’t necessarily need them.
How to Make Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad
Scroll down to see the complete chicken salad recipe. Here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll take.
1. Prepare and roast the chicken. You start by coating the chicken in olive oil and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Then, roast it for 35 to 40 minutes.
Once it’s ready, shred the meat from the bones and dice it into small pieces.
2. Prepare the grapes and celery. I always do this during the last 10 minutes or so of the chicken’s roasting. I halve the grapes and chop the celery into small, uniform pieces.
3. Combine the ingredients. Finally, you mix all the non-chicken ingredients in a bowl. Then, pour that mixture over the chicken. Stir everything until it’s all well mixed.
Once it looks like chicken salad, you know it’s ready to eat.
How to Serve Chicken Salad
You can serve chicken salad in a myriad of ways. I love to eat it with some herb-encrusted crackers, but here are some other options:
- Serve it on top of a bed of lettuce or other greens. You can also add crackers, fruit, or other side items to the plate.
- Turn it into a sandwich using croissants, baguettes, or bread.
- Serve it over pasta.
- Stuff it inside veggies, such as avocado halves or artichokes.
It also makes an excellent addition to a brunch table or appetizer tray.
Recipe Substitutions and Additions
Want to mix up the recipe a bit, or don’t like some of the ingredients?
No problem. Here are some fun and easy substitutions (and additions!) to try.
- Use dried cranberries or pomegranates in place of grapes for a more festive salad.
- Substitute raisins or red grapes for brighter color contrast.
- Substitute your choice of nuts (toasted is nice) for celery. Or use them in addition to celery.
- Experiment with extra herbs, but don’t leave out the tarragon.
- Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or use canned chicken if you’re pressed for time. (This option might not taste as good, but it will still be okay.)
- Add a diced hard-boiled egg for extra protein.
- Add a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes if you enjoy a little heat.
- Dice some green onions and add them to the salad. Doing so adds extra color and gives the salad an earthy, more robust flavor.
- Spritz a little lemon juice or vinaigrette into the mix to liven up the flavor.
Play the recipe however you like. You’ll quickly find what works best for you and what doesn’t.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, “Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?” check out my post to learn how.
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