True story: On nights when we’re having roast chicken for dinner I’ll skip a second piece of meat in favor of some extra vegetables. It’s not about trying to be healthy (although it’s a side benefit) but I know that the pieces I don’t eat can be chicken salad. And I love chicken salad.
In college there was a small bakery nearby that made medium sandwiches but they did have an awesome chicken salad. Ok, I only ate it once by accident because I was a vegetarian but it stayed with me. For the past few years I’ve made a similar chicken salad with grapes and walnuts. Sort of like this one.
But then at some point I found myself with some leftover chicken and no mayo. What I did have was some avocados that were going to become guacamole. So I changed some plans and got perhaps my new favorite chicken salad.
When it comes down to it, the only real difference between chicken salad and a pile of chopped chicken with seasoning is the binder. If it won’t hold together on a sandwich it’s not really chicken salad. There’s no reason why the binder has to be mayo instead of say, ranch dressing* or guacamole.
Lemon juice keeps the salad from turning brown and unattractive and chile powder adds some kick. To make it more like guacamole you could always add some cherry tomatoes, a few spoonfuls of salsa, or some red onion. Or you could just keep it simple and eat it with a spoon. No prizes for guessing what I did.
Avocado Chicken Salad
Makes enough for four meals**
2 avocados, mashed
Juice of 1 lemon
Up to 2 tbs chile powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ lb chicken, chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces (white or dark meat, whichever you prefer, or didn’t eat last night)
Mix avocado with lemon juice and stir so that it’s well combined (and won’t brown). Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Eat with spoon or add-ins of your choice.
* No I haven’t made ranch chicken salad. Yes I’ve been seriously considering it.
** If you aren’t going to eat all this within a day or two I’d recommend cutting down the amount you make at once. The lemon juice will slow down browning, but it only works for so long.