Serve Chicken Salad With Apples Instead Of Crackers For A Sweet And Savory Bite

Take any basic chicken salad recipe from average to A-plus simply by changing what you eat it with. Toast, crackers, and wraps are out, and crisp, tangy, fresh apples are in. The sweetness and acid are an ideal balance against rich chicken and creamy mayonnaise, and the texture lends a welcome crunch. Cut apples into slices or wedges for dipping. Or, slice the whole fruit into rounds, and mound the chicken salad on top to make crostini-ish apple bites. This preparation is great for snacking, lunching, or entertaining. 

To maintain a bright color and pleasant texture, opt for apple varieties that brown the slowest after slicing, and give them a soak in a saline solution for good measure. A ratio of about half a teaspoon of salt per cup of water and a 10 minute bath should do the trick. Just give the apples a quick rinse to remove any residual salty taste, and pat them dry before serving.

Which chicken salad ingredients pair well with apples?

A simple salad made with just deboned rotisserie chicken, mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper is instantly upgraded with an apple accompaniment, but you can also highlight the sweet and acidic flavor profile within the chicken salad itself. For the creamy dressing, incorporate some yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar for extra tanginess that plays well with the tartness of the apples.

For contrasting notes, bold flavors from punchy shallots, savory mustard, and smoky bacon also pair really nicely. Alternatively, take your chicken salad in a sweet direction with the addition of dried cranberries, dates, or raisins. You can also complement the fruity qualities with a Waldorf salad-inspired take — add in sliced grapes, diced celery, fresh parsley, and chopped pecans or walnuts. Instead of cubing up the apples and mixing them into your chicken salad, you are using them as the utensil!