A delicious, cool chicken salad with green peas (for added sweetness), pecans, black olives, and feta cheese tossed with a lemon and Greek yogurt vinaigrette. It’s not your MaMaw’s chicken salad!
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I am so glad that chicken salad has moved on to being more than a spread between two slices of bread. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good chicken salad sandwich now and then. It’s a good use of leftover chicken at our house and the way my husband would prefer having this salad served instead of alone on a piece of lettuce. Its popularity without bread has grown in restaurant menus and many recipe sources. There are multiple ways to prepare chicken salad and without the added carbs from bread to help keep us healthier.
I can remember when chicken salad sandwiches were the go-to finger food for showers, teas, and other special receptions. They were usually arranged beautifully on polished silver trays (the real stuff) right alongside the punch and cake. When the women in our family would get together to make those sandwiches it was a celebration in itself. An all-day affair. I can still see MaMaw getting out her hand-crank grinder, a kitchen staple, and securing it to the end of the table.
The steamy kitchen would be filled with busy hands and conversation about the whole process and the latest news. It was usually spoken in Cajun French to where we children couldn’t understand most of what was said. I still think one reason we weren’t taught the full language of my heritage was to keep adult conversations hidden. How convenient at the time, but what a loss to our generation. I can’t blame my elders completely because it’s my own lack of curiosity that has kept me from knowing more.
In the midst of those conversations was the work of boiling and deboning the chickens. Then came the grinding of the chicken with certain seasonings like Tobasco sauce added along with a bit of chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. To bind the spread together they stirred mayonnaise, mustard, and broth into the large bowls of chicken mixture. We always used fresh Evangeline Maid bread for all of our eating. The bread was stacked high in order to cut away the crust with one swipe before being spread with the chicken salad. After that, the sandwiches were cut into triangles then placed in large Tupperware containers between sheets of wax paper. Into the freezer, they would go until the day of the party. I was always amazed at how fresh the sandwiches tasted when at last we could eat them in celebration of the special occasion.
Today’s Chicken Salad
Our Chicken Salad With Peas recipe is a long way from those appetizing finger foods. No hand crank grinder here! Just a sharp knife and a cutting board for a quick dice to the chicken is needed. You can even use pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store to save time in the kitchen.
The peas may be an unusual item for a chicken salad, but I wanted a little less sweetness than the usual fruit ingredients.
Using frozen peas gives it a crisp, sweet bite and they defrost by the time the salad is served. So easy!
A creamy, lemon vinaigrette adds lots of flavor without any heaviness.
To add to the savory and sweet taste some black olives and feta cheese goes in last.