Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Chicken and Grape meets Waldorf Salad

As I have written before, I make versions of chicken and grape salads. I change what goes in them based on what is on hand at the time it is being made. Sometimes there aren't even grapes in it! I don't believe I've ever specifically gone to the store and said, "hmmm, I need this, this and this for a Chicken and Grape Salad." It just happens sometimes that I have leftover chicken, usually from a rotisserie chicken I bought for another reason and this salad, which my husband also loves, is always a sure bet in our household.

So last November we took a road trip and were in Denver visiting two of my sisters. One of them, whose house we stayed at, has some complete taboos on things like mayonnaise and mustard. This tends to limit making certain recipes, including chicken and grape salads. So, she had some leftover chicken and she said we could put together a sort of chicken and grape salad or a play on Waldorf with chicken. All this sounded great. She was at work, and I was at home to make the salad. As I started assembling the ingredients on the counter, it suddenly hit me! She doesn't eat mayonnaise, so what in the world makes her Waldorf or Chicken Grape Salads?
Waldorf-ish Salad

I called her up and she had a couple of suggestions, one of which was using Ken's Lite Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing. And I thought, hmmm....well, I guess that could be good. It's not mayo, and I am not one to buy many salad dressings, as I'd rather make them myself. Still.... if we were to have dinner, at least this dressing would probably be acceptable to my husband. As it turned out, I was really taken with the flavors of the salad. I can't recall exactly what ingredients went into the salad that time, but when we got back home I went and bought a bottle of the Ken's dressing, so whenever the time came, I could use it again. 

Last evening was finally the time.

My husband eats a little salad with his dressing. Literally, there is usually more dressing than anything green. Many salad dressings just aren't thick enough to suit him, so he sticks to things like Thousand Island or one of the thickened (preferable sweet) French dressings. With mayonnaise in the Chicken and Grape Salad, it is no problem, as long as everything is well coated. I had wondered (at my sister's house) if the Ken's Lite Sweet Vidalia dressing would be thick enough, but apparently it was, plus it is sweet, so I felt safe in getting the dressing to have on hand here at home. 

Last week I made a Chicken Enchilada Casserole and used a rotisserie chicken for that part of the recipe. To make the amount of chicken I needed for the recipe, I used the whole (admittedly quite small) chicken - all but one little lonely breast that was left over. It sat in the fridge all this time, so last night, while it was a little bit of meat, it is easy to stretch when adding other things. I had one handful of grapes left in a bowl on the counter. I had some dill left from making the Herbed Goat Cheese Ball or Spread I wrote about yesterday. I thought finally the time had come to make this salad again and use the Ken's Dressing!

A Waldorf Salad is comprised of apples, walnuts and celery in a mayonnaise dressing. Chicken and raisins or grapes are sometimes added. It is usually served over lettuce or in lettuce cups. As I use whatever is on hand, I had no lettuce on hand so no lettuce bed. In the spirit of all this, I am dedicating my version of a mayo-less and lettuce-less "Waldorf-ish Salad" to my sister Michele.

Waldorf-ish Salad

Waldorf-ish Dinner Salad

Serves 2 or 3

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced 
3/4 cup green bell pepper, cubed
3/4 cup green grapes, halved
1/2 medium apple, cored, cubed
1 - 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup walnuts, broken
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup loosely filled with fresh dillweed
1/3 - 1/2 cup Ken's Lite Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing
extra dill fronds for garnish

Combine is a bowl the first 8 ingredients, sprinkling the apples with the lime or lemon juice. Toss well. Mince the dillweed and add, along with the dressing and mix well. Serve as is, or serve over a bed of lettuce if desired. Garnish with dill fronds. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.