- Amanda

A few years ago, Toby Cecchini published a tuna salad recipe in the New York Times that was unlike any I'd seen before. Divorced of mayonnaise, the tuna was left in large slivers, dressed with lemon and oil, and mixed with pepperoncini, dill, parsley and smoked almonds. There wasn't a scrap of celery in sight. The tuna held its own between lashings of pepper and flourishes of dill, and seemed like so much more than just tuna salad.

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I wondered: why not apply the same method to chicken? I like a good mayonnaise-based chicken salad, but one with more candid flavors would be a great recipe to have around for when chicken salad and a glass of white wine feels like the perfect weekend lunch.

Chicken Salad

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Salt
  • 4 cups cubed roasted chicken (I like to include some of the crisp skin)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered peppadew peppers
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (drained thoroughly)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped smoked almonds
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Sprinkle the onion with salt and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze the onions to drain any juices.

2. In a bowl, toss together the onion, chicken, peppadews, artichoke hearts and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together the thyme, mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chicken and fold together. Squeeze in lemon juice to taste -- it will take a fair amount, probably 1/2 to 1 lemon. Let sit for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve.


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healthierkitchen April 9, 2010
Wow! Made this during the late afternoon today for a weekend lunch (just waited to add the almonds) and later found that I was on my own for dinner. Quick change of plans and a sprinkle of almonds, and this became my dinner on a bed of baby spinach leaves with a few olives on the side and a glass of wine. Kinda glad everyone else ate out - I get to have it again for lunch tomorrow, maybe with some avocado slices.
Amanda H. April 9, 2010
Agree -- it's a great home-alone meal.
Cara E. April 6, 2010
I may be one of the few who doesn't keep mayo in the house...I hate so much how it looks/smells when you open the can! So when I make mayo-y salads, I start from scratch. I'm glad this chicken salad saves me that effort.
SueonFood April 4, 2010
Just to be sure, that's a 1/4 CUP of olive oil, right? Looks fantastic!
Amanda H. April 4, 2010
Yes -- but start with 2 or 3 tablespoons if that makes you nervous.
kxr173 April 3, 2010
Oh my goodness! I just roasted a chicken the other day and have been thinking of ways to use the leftovers. I absolutely detest mayo and am always ready to try any potato, tuna and chicken salad recipes without it. The only thing missing in my cupboards is the peppers & I know my Whole Foods carries peppadews so I cannot wait to pick some up tomorrow & try this recipe.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,
From all the non-mayo eaters in the world :-)
Amanda H. April 4, 2010
Let me know how it goes!
amysarah April 2, 2010
Have always loved smoked almonds, but never thought to put them in a chicken salad. I still associate them with childhood airplane travel - little bags of smoked almonds and a ginger ale...total sophistication, back in the day. Also, a big fan of sherry vinegar (always good with almonds) and have been rediscovering the joy of jarred marinated artichoke hearts ever since Merrill posted her Chicken Scarpariello. Even better, this recipe lends itself to a favorite cheat - start with a bought rotisserie chicken and you'd be half way there.
Amanda H. April 4, 2010
I always think of tomato juice when I remember childhood airplane travel.
mrslarkin April 2, 2010
Yum! Like a Chicken Scarpariello Salad! Thanks for the recipe!
Amanda H. April 4, 2010
Maybe I should have called it that -- must more exciting than "Chicken Salad."
debperelman April 2, 2010
That tuna salad is a staple in our apartment! My husband adores it. And I'm not even a fan of tuna. I'm looking forward to trying a chicken version of this and also, why hadn't I thought of this before?
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
Glad to know you like that salad, too! I think the secret ingredient is the smoked almonds -- I always associated them with watching football games, not cooking.
AntoniaJames April 2, 2010
Yummmmm. I don't care for peppers, but could see substituting a few capers or a few green olives, chopped. The smoked almonds are such a nice touch. Just roasted a chicken the other night, and have been waiting for inspiration re the follow up. What a great recipe! ;o)
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
That's a great idea -- also because it's not always easy to find peppadews.
Alyssa S. April 2, 2010
I just wrote about about what to make for brunch tomorrow...and now I know!! Thank you!!! Riding my bike to the market now!!!
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
Hope you enjoy it!
Loves F. April 2, 2010
This sounds delish!
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
Thanks -- hope you'll get a chance to try it out.
Lizthechef April 2, 2010
It's 8:00 am in CA but I'm ready for lunch after reading this. What are "peppadews"? Pepperoncini?
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
It's a sweet and hot pepper in the piquante family and comes from South Africa -- peppadew is actually the brand name. You could substitute pepperoncini, but they're a bit hotter, so what I might do is mix half pepperoncini and half sweet (pickled) pepper.
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
P.S. Merrill wrote about peppadews for the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/style/tmagazine/06tstaples.html?sq=merrill%20stubbs%20peppadews&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=1&adxnnlx=1270230473-JghudL9QvPkZFK5dIXt57A
Loves F. April 2, 2010
I feel like I'm the Trader Joe's evangelist here or something... but I'm pretty sure they have jarred peppadews... and another place I've found them is at grocery stores that have a antipesto bar...
Amanda H. April 2, 2010
Great to know about Trader Joe's. Also, I think Whole Foods carries them jarred.
Lizthechef April 2, 2010
Thanks, team - off to TJ's after lunch...