When it comes to making a delicious chicken avocado salad, chicken and avocado are obviously required ingredients, but the rest is up to you. If you want to use full-fat mayonnaise or a more health-conscious plain greek yogurt, you can opt for either. If you love apples and grapes in your chicken salad, perfect.
On the other hand, if the idea of fruit in salad makes you sick to your stomach, thankfully you don’t have to entertain that thought any further. Adapt the basic recipe according to your personal preferences for a fully-customized option that hits all the right notes.
What’s the Recipe for a Basic Chicken Avocado Salad?
Two cups of cubed or shredded chicken
You need some chicken for this dish, but how you prepare the meat is up to you. If you love grilled chicken more than the baked variety, go ahead and grill a few chicken breasts then. If you want to go with what’s quick and easy, you may even opt for pre-cooked chicken strips that you simply have to reheat in the microwave or on the stove. If you want the chicken to be flavored independent of the seasonings that go into the end salad product, feel free to top your chicken with your favorite meat spices. After the chicken is cooked, you can cut the meat into chunks or you can shred it into pieces according to your preferences.
One diced avocado
Hopefully you have on hand a ripe avocado that is soft and malleable. Separate the flesh of the avocado from the peel and pit, discarding the latter components. Dice the avocado. Depending on your preferences, you may like your chicken salad to have a really creamy consistency, in which case you might even want to use a fork to turn the avocado chunks into the texture of guacamole. If you like your dish to be more on the chunky side, however, you can simply be gentle when stirring all your ingredients together.
Seasonings like garlic powder, black pepper, salt
According to your tastes, you may want to toss in a teaspoon of garlic powder, half a teaspoon of black pepper and a dash or pinch of salt. Obviously, you can toss in any additional seasonings that you personally love like onion powder, fresh cilantro pieces or even chile powder. If you seasoned your chicken, though, you may want to ease up on the amount of seasonings you put in the salad afterwards. You can always add in a little bit of spices and then taste your creation before adding in more to be on the safe side. Everyone who has ever put in too much of something like black pepper can quickly tell you the value of opting for tossing in small increments at one time.
One tablespoon of lime juice
Add in a little lime juice. You can squeeze a fresh lime yourself or simply opt for using a pre-bottled version. If you don’t have any lime juice on hand, you can certainly throw in a tablespoon of lemon juice or even apple cider vinegar if that’s a go-to kitchen liquid that serves you well. Alternatively, you can just leave out the liquid for a slightly thicker chicken salad.
Half a cup of mayonnaise
It seems as though chicken salad lovers just can’t get enough of their beloved mayonnaise. Standard recipes suggest using anywhere from a fourth of a cup to three-fourths a cup of mayo for the dish. After you’ve mixed all your ingredients together in a bowl, you should cover and refrigerate the dish for half of an hour before serving.
What Substitutions Should I Use to Help Make the Recipe Healthier?
Decrease the mayo
If you don’t love the thought of using a half of a cup of mayo in your chicken avocado salad, feel free to use a fourth of a cup of mayo and a fourth of a cup of plain greek yogurt. You can also sub part or all of the mayo out for sour cream or light cottage cheese that has been blended. Another option is to just use a fourth of a cup of your favorite balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing or even a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for a different take on chicken salad.
Increase the veggie count
If you want to improve the nutrition of your chicken avocado salad you can be sure to add in more vitamin- and mineral-rich options like chunks of tomatoes, red onions, celery, bell peppers and mushrooms. You can even add in spinach leaves or mixed salad greens.
What Variations Should I Consider if I Just Want to Change Things up a bit?
If you want to make a chicken avocado salad dish that doesn’t just stick to the basic formula, you can certainly get experimental with the kind of mix-ins you use and the way you serve the end product.
Try some fun mix-ins
If you get sick of using the same recipes over and over, you can quickly adapt a chicken avocado salad by sprinkling in some blue cheese or pieces of bacon. You can use a handful of seedless red grapes and/or half an apple to switch things up, cutting the grapes into half and the apple into small chunks. You can even throw in your favorite nut like walnuts or sliced almonds.
Switch up your serving patterns
If you always put your chicken salad in between two slices of bread, consider getting some nice croissants from the bakery to add some pizazz to your dish. You can also opt for pita pockets or crackers to go along with your chicken and avocado mixture. If you’re serving carb-conscious or gluten-sensitive individuals, you can even scoop a portion of the mixture straight onto a bed of lettuce. Even when you’re in a cooking rut and don’t want to think about making any of your go-to recipes, you can often satisfy your taste buds by simply switching up a few components and tricking yourself into thinking you’re eating something entirely new.