It’s sweetish with a subtle tang (the apple cubes are tossed with a little lemon juice to minimize discoloration and to add a layer of flavor), salty (the chicken is cooked with a generous amount of salt), crunchy (that’s what the nuts and celery provide) and just absolutely wonderful.
What apple is best for this salad? Dessert apple, as opposed to cooking apple, is ideal. We used Fuji apples but Gala or Red Delicious will be just as good.
Walnuts were used here but you may substitute your preferred nut. Whatever nut you choose, remember to roast them before chopping. Roasting heightens the nutty flavor and aroma.
As for the cooked chicken… it may be boiled, poached, roasted, grilled, smoked… So long as the chicken is fully cooked, it can be added to this salad. Note, however, that how the chicken was cooked will affect the flavor of the salad. Boiled or poached chicken will have a milder flavor while grilled or smoked chicken will have a bolder taste.
I understand that not everyone is a fan of celery but this vegetable gives this salad a brightness that not many vegetables can provide. Carrot would be a second choice, it will add crunch to the salad too, but the aroma of the salad will not be as great.
The dressing is nothing but mayo. We’re partial to Japanese mayo at home. It’s thicker and richer, and full of umami delight. Use regular mayo only if Japanese mayo is unavailable.
Full recipe below
Apple chicken salad
- 2 dessert apples - we used Fuji
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup roasted walnuts - loosely packed
- 200 grams cooked chicken meat - meat from the thighs is recommended
- 1 rib celery
- 6 tablespoons Japanese mayo - you may need more
- Peel the apples and cut into half-inch cubes.
- Place the apple cubes in a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
- Roughly chop the walnuts and chicken.
- Cut the celery into slices about a quarter inch thick.
- Add the walnuts, chicken and celery into the bowl with the apples.
- Sprinkle in half a teaspoon of salt and quarter teapsoon of pepper.
- Add the mayo and toss thoroughly.
- If the salad appears too dry, add more mayo, no more than two tablespoonfuls at a time, and tossing after each addition.
- Taste and add more salt or pepper, or both, as needed.
- Chill the apple chicken salad for a few hours before serving.