Like chicken salad, but trying to cut back on bread?
If you want to avoid the bread, croissants and wraps, there’s always a scoop of chicken salad on greens, in lettuce cups, or stuffed into a bell pepper, tomato, or avocado half.
But we thought these ideas from Willow Tree Farm add allure to a long-time favorite.
Whether a filling for celery or fennel stalks, or a base for mini “cucumber sandwiches,” these make fun appetizers or snacks.
Use your own chicken salad, or one from Willow Tree Farm.
cucumber sandwiches. Serve #Sriracha Chicken Salad between two cucumbers for a crunchy, cool and spicy bite.
RECIPE: CHICKEN SALAD STACKS
For snacks, with beer, or as an amuse bouche before dinner. For something sweeter, you can use apple slices.
1 container of Willow Tree Farm Sriracha Chicken Salad (or your recipe)
Garnish: cilantro or other herb
1. SLICE the cucumber into 1/2″ slices
2. PLACE the chicken salad on half of the cucumber slices. Top with a cucumber slice.
3. ROUND the edges with a spatula. Garnish with cilantro and secure with a toothpick.
THE HISTORY OF CHICKEN SALAD
It may come as a surprise—because modern mayonnaise was invented around 1800——but the Chinese were the first to serve variations of “chicken salad” (see below).
The ingredients were not the same as what we call Chinese chicken salad*, but included pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils and another binder, such as rice.
The American form of chicken salad was first served in 1863 by Town Meats, a meat market in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The owner, Liam Gray, mixed leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. It became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.
Modern Chicken Salad
In the U.S., chicken salad is a cold salad with chicken as the main ingredient, and typically bound with mayonnaise with optional mustard. Other ingredients can include bell pepper, celery, hard-boiled egg, onion, pickles or pickle relish, plus herbs, such as dill, rosemary or tarragon.
It can also include diced apples, grapes or dried fruit, such as cherries, cranberries or raisins. Diced mango is another popular addition as are nuts, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.
In some areas of the U.S., especially the South, chicken salad may be a garden salad topped with fried, grilled, or roasted chicken, sliced.
While today chicken salad is mostly served in a sandwich or wrap, it has a history as a ladies’ luncheon staple, served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper rings, and olives or other garnish, served with crackers.
Variations were inevitable, using ingredients specific to regional and international cuisines.
Chinese chicken salad is made with celery, sliced almonds, fruit (diced apples, mandarin orange segments or pineapple chunks) and mayonnaise, and topped with fried Chinese noodles.
Southwestern chicken salad includes avocado, black beans, cilantro, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, onion, shredded cheddar cheese and a garnish of crushed tortilla chips (recipe).
Modern recipes expand the concept of chicken salad to pasta salad or Caesar salad with chunks of chicken; add wing sauce and blue cheese for buffalo chicken salad.
Binders can include anything you like: blue cheese dressing, hummus, pesto, remoulade sauce, Russian dressing, Thai peanut sauce, and on and on.
In other countries, chicken salad can be made with any number of dressings, along with couscous, pasta, rice and vegetables.
So don’t be wary: Experiment!
Fancy presentations serve it in a lettuce-lined coupe; molded into a ring; or scooped into a toast cup, avocado half or pineapple half.
As with any recipe, add whatever you like; from bacon to capers to pickled jalapeño.
ABOUT WILLOW TREE FARMS
Willow Tree Farms makes pot pies and chicken salad from premium white meat.
In addition to original chicken salad, there’s a flavorful selection of:
Avocado Chicken Salad
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Sriracha Chicken Salad
The products are sold at major retailers, including BJ’s, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods in New England and the East Coast. Here’s a store locator.
 Filled celery sticks and  cucumber stacks from Willow Tree Farm.  Chicken salad in wonton wrappers (here’s the recipe from Shared).  Mango chicken salad in an avocado (here’s the recipe from The Real Food Dieticians).  Southwestern chicken salad recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  Avocado chicken salad (here’s the recipe from Whole And Heavenly Oven).