There are a few dishes my mom made that just remind me of being a kid. This chicken salad is one of them.
I remember her making this for dinner on sweaty, hot, summer nights. Actually, she would usually make it in the morning and then we would head to the pool for the entire day. I would get super excited when I saw her making this dinner because I knew a fun pool-filled day would follow.
Sidenote: I LOVED our pool when I was a kid. Before we moved to our house in Mount Prospect, we lived in an apartment in Wheeling. That meant we would go to the Wheeling Park District pool. Now, most park district pools aren’t all that exciting but Wheeling’s was awesome. There was an inner-tube slide, body slide, two drop slides, waterfalls, fountains, diving boards, and plenty of space for little ones to splash around. Basically, it was a kid’s summer dream and many happy memories were made there.
This chicken salad makes me think of those care free summers at the pool and all the fun my sister and I had. We would swim and play until our fingers were prunes, our eyes were bloodshot, and the sun wore us out. Aren’t those the best days?
While I sit here and eat this chicken salad and reminisce about my childhood, you should make it and tell me your favorite summer meal/memory!
My Childhood Chicken Salad- serves 4
- 4 cups cooked & shredded chicken OR shredded jackfruit** if you want a vegetarian version
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 cups grapes, quartered
- 1 cup pepitas, lightly toasted
- 2/3 cup Smoky Garlic Mayo or your favorite mayo
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
** If you use shredded jackfruit, saute it in a pan with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings until lightly browned. Add 1 tsp liquid smoke and then let it cool before mixing everything together. **
- Prep everything. Shred your chicken and cut the celery and grapes.
- Add the chicken, celery, grapes, and pepitas to a large bowl and stir together. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper then stir again.
- Add the mayo and stir until every thing is coated. The salad shouldn’t be drenched in mayo but it shouldn’t be dry either. Add the chopped parsley and stir one more time.
To serve: Eat on top of chopped romaine leaves, inside a butter lettuce leaf, with your favorite bread, OR my personal favorite (and how my mom used to do it) inside jumbo manicotti shells.