Tutti Frutti Chicken Salad

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have a confession to make. I don’t like chicken breast.  I especially dislike the boneless, skinless kind.  Scandalous, I know, but despite its popularity in our culinary culture, I’ve just never taken to it.  I know chicken breast is a healthier, low-fat option, but I don’t really care.  It is ubiquitous and boring and blah!  Oh sure, I’ve choked it down many times at numerous weddings, dinner parties and banquets, but usually only in order to be polite, or because I was very, very hungry.  Even then, it had to disguised by some kind of tasty sauce or hidden in a bowl of pasta.  There is only one way that I can honestly say that I actually enjoy eating chicken breast, and that is in a fruity, nutty, mayonnaise-laden chicken salad. 

One thing I do love, however, is homemade chicken stock. And for that, you need the whole chicken, breast and all.  If I’m making a regular chicken soup, I’ll usually dice up the chicken and toss it back into the stock with some vegetables and pastina or rice.  If not, I’ll save it to make chicken salad for lunches and an occasional quick weeknight dinner.  Since the breast meat doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own (in my opinion), you can add almost anything to a chicken salad and come out with a successful dish.


There are several really nice chicken salad recipes in my repertoire that my family enjoys.  All are easy and take little time to prepare, assuming I’ve already got some cooked chicken on hand.  One of my favorites is this Tutti Frutti Chicken Salad, which is filled with herbs, fresh and dried fruits, nuts and of course, a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing.  You can use any combination of fruits and nuts that you like, and it always turns out great. You can also adjust the quantities to your heart’s content.  This time, I used grapes, pineapple, dried cherries, pecans and walnuts.  I really like this salad with dried apricots, mango, apples, mandarin oranges and almonds as well.   Whatever floats your boat is fine.  I would recommend that you do use fresh tarragon, if you can find some.  It gives the salad a lovely hint of anise flavor.  Though, when I can’t get tarragon, I often substitute some fresh parsley, dill or cilantro and it is still delicious.

I like to serve my chicken salad in big, juicy, hollowed out tomato, pineapple boat or avocado half.  It makes the beginnings of a darn good sandwich too!

So tell me, how many of you REALLY like chicken breast?  Come on and spill. You can be totally honest.  And if you do like chicken breast, what is your favorite way to eat it?   You never know. Though I doubt it, one of you might actually convert me!



Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Chicken Curry Salad from Simply Recipes

Vietnamese Chicken Salad from East Village Kitchen

Asian Chicken Salad from I Shot the Chef

Warm Chicken Salad with Arugula, Olives and Pine Nuts from Orangette

Chinese Chicken Salad from Steamy Kitchen

Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Salad from Yumsugar

28 responses to Tutti Frutti Chicken Salad

  1. On August 25, 2009 at 11:55am, Lori @ RecipeGirl said...

    Looks like a gorgeous way to spruce up a chicken breast, but I do have to say… I like chicken breast. As long as it’s cooked in a way that keeps it moist and tender, I do like it!

    • On August 25, 2009 at 12:40pm, Susan said...

      The problem is that it is cooked that way so infrequently.

  2. On August 25, 2009 at 11:57am, Jen @ MaplenCornbread said...

    YUMMY! This is exactly how I LOVE my chicken salad too!! The pineapple is something Ive never added though, will try! Great pics as always!

  3. On August 25, 2009 at 12:12pm, Amy J said...

    How could you not like that?!?

    Fantastic photo.

  4. On August 25, 2009 at 12:22pm, LizAnderson said...

    Dark meat poutlry makes me gag.
    I buy the boneless, skinless frozen bags for the grocery store. Since I usually have to get a meal done on the quick, I marinate or season them heavily so that I can throw them on the Foreman Grill. I especially love olive oil, a no-salt lemon pepper mix and a heavy hand of Mexican Oregano. Cook these 4 minutes per side, then let rest while you throw together either a bed of pasta or leafy green salad. Forget the Chicken Ceasar and make mine Greek!

    I also like to butterfly them, panko bread them and go Japaneese style. Shredded Chicken Breast in a big steaming bowl of Ramen? You bet! The only thing you can’t do with them is over cook or underseason.

    • On August 25, 2009 at 12:42pm, Susan said...

      Love the Japanese-style idea! Might have to try that one. Hmmm. Maybe I can use shrimp too. :)

  5. On August 25, 2009 at 1:34pm, Rosa said...

    Delicious! I love tarragon, especially with chicken!



  6. On August 25, 2009 at 1:39pm, CookiePie said...

    That looks fabulous!! I came to a love of chicken salad later in life, and now I can’t get enough! Yours looks just divine :)

  7. On August 25, 2009 at 1:48pm, justcooknyc said...

    i am so with you on chicken breast… gotta do something to make it taste better.

  8. On August 25, 2009 at 1:54pm, Bellini Valli said...

    I am a chicken fan no matter how it is served Susan:D

  9. On August 25, 2009 at 2:14pm, Ciaochowlinda said...

    I do love grapes and nuts with my chicken salad. Your version with the pineapple as well looks terrific.

  10. On August 25, 2009 at 3:05pm, snooky doodle said...

    What an interesting recipe. Nice variation to my usual salad :)
    Visit my new blog at http://snookysrecipedoodles.blogspot.com/

  11. On August 25, 2009 at 3:25pm, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    I’m not a huge fan of chicken breast either. If I want quick-cooking boneless meat, I’d rather use thighs. The one advantage the breasts have is the hefty size. I don’t always feel that boneless thighs are substantial enough, but they taste way better!

    I love tarragon in my chicken salad. I didn’t really discover it until a couple of years ago and now I don’t understand how I ever went without it.

  12. On August 25, 2009 at 3:41pm, Coleen said...

    So…if I’m hearing you correctly, chicken breast’s best use is the surface for some tasty herb mayonnaise? lol I hear you. Your sandwich looks delicious (and I’m really hungry). My favorite way to eat chicken breast is to cook the be-Jesus about of it (until it falls apart) and then make a gravy and eat it over toast.

  13. On August 25, 2009 at 4:54pm, Kalyn said...

    Well I have to say I *do* like chicken breasts. They’re easy to ruin though, I’m with you on that. If I’m grilling them, they must be marinated, otherwise no go.

    The other thing I LOVE is tarragon. Great looking salad!

  14. On August 25, 2009 at 10:41pm, annie said...

    GREAT salad. I am growing taragon on my deck. As a matter of fact, I just used it in a lobster salad.
    YUM! I do like chicken breast as long as it is seasoned properly and not overcooked, which is very easy to do.

  15. On August 25, 2009 at 11:17pm, Marie said...

    I like chicken breast, not fond of dark meat at all. I’m going nuts over this photo of the chicken salad in the tomato! I don’t use tarragon enough, I don’t know why! I bet it tastes great, I’m always reaching for basil.

  16. On August 25, 2009 at 11:48pm, Katrina said...

    Yum! I love chicken salad. This sounds great with all the nuts and fruit!

  17. On August 26, 2009 at 1:01am, Donna said...

    Well Susan it looked great to me… YUMO!!!


  18. On August 26, 2009 at 9:45am, Joan Nova said...

    Wonderful salad…I love adding nuts and fruits for crunch and chew. But, tell me, were you able to open your mouth wide enough for that delicious looking sandwich? P.S. Prefer thighs.

  19. On August 26, 2009 at 12:56pm, Kirsten said...

    I’m with you on using a whole chicken cutting the parts off. However, I do love chicken salad as this post reminds me, yet make it infrequently. My sister makes a smashingly good fried chicken using the boneless breasts with a rolled oats, wheat flour and flax seed coating. It is to die for!

  20. On August 26, 2009 at 3:13pm, pigpigscorner said...

    This looks really tasty! I hate chicken breast too, I rather go through the trouble of deboning chicken thighs.

  21. On August 26, 2009 at 3:54pm, Jenni said...

    I’m with you on the breast meat–I much prefer dark. White meat generally ends up in chicken salad around here, too. Sometimes I’ll just poach the breasts in a court bouillon-type broth and then use the liquid to cook some rice.

    I like toasted walnuts, raisins and Granny Smith apples in mine–sort of like a Waldorf salad with chicken!

  22. On August 26, 2009 at 3:58pm, Cookie said...

    I love all the different combinations of fruit you used and NUTS! LOVE nuts in my chicken salad!

  23. On August 26, 2009 at 5:39pm, Kathy - Cooking On the Side said...

    THANK YOU for going ahead and using mayo in your dressing! Sometimes I feel as if everyone has turned against good ol’ mayo-based dressings. Everything in moderation, I say. Gorgeous!

  24. On August 31, 2009 at 7:01am, Kevin said...

    I like the sound of using the fruit in a chicken salad!

  25. On November 10, 2009 at 4:13pm, Bill Medifast said...

    I am one who could eat chicken on a daily basis, even if my wife opposes. This is a great recipe idea though. She would be one to not complain if I was to make it. She is like you, can’t stand chicken breast, but there are certain ways she’ll sit down and enjoy it. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Love the idea of fruit, never seen such a thing before.

    Bill M.

  26. On May 25, 2010 at 12:06am, Ask Ms Recipe said...

    Love your recipe I will give it a try

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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