Did you eat a lot of chicken salad growing up?
Our family did... I don't particularly know why. I guess because my mom loves the stuff.
Chicken salad is decidedly not vegan or even animal friendly. Normally these "salads" don't have the highest quality of ingredients since it's all combined and flavors are covered up. They are also high in cholesterol, saturated, and trans fats.
To be fair! Chicken salad could be light. If you skipped the mayo and the buttery croissant it's served on. There are "light" versions out there with grilled chicken, yogurt, and grapes. That's not the kind we had at my house though. We had the full fat variety with a silky creamy consistency, an earthy chicken taste and sometimes bursts of sweet with grapes or strawberries.
I visited my family for Father's Day and my mom actually made some chicken salad which got me thinking about all this.
We also went to a baseball game! Me, my dad, my grandpa, and my husband. There were even vegan snacks there!
I got home and I couldn't stop thinking about chicken salad. I thought about what I hate about it, what I love about it, and why there are so many various recipes for it with wildly different ingredients.
Here is what I came up with!
Vegan Chickpea-Chickun Salad
3/4 - 1 can of Chickpeas
1-2 tbsp Vegan Mayo
2 tbsp Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
2-3 tbsp Pecans
1/4 - 1/3 cup Raisins
2-3 tbsp minced Onion
Lots of Black Pepper
Heafty sprinkle of Tyme
Sprinkle of Rosemary
A little Salt and/or herbamare
Sprinkle of Garlic Powder
Tiny sprinkle of nutmeg
Maybe of touch of agave if you like it sweet
To Make It:
I wanted this to be creamy and spicy. I don't like my chicken salad with a lot of cinnamon, I prefer herbs and vinegar for some tang! (I didn't actually use vinegar in mine, oh well)
I made my dressing before I added the chickpeas. Stir together the coconut, mayo, raisins, onion. Once they're combined add the chickpeas and stir to coat. I was fresh out of celery but if I'd had some I would have added some. Apple would be good too.
Then I added my spices, please feel free to improvise here, you know I didn't measure any of this stuff! Parsley would be good, as would tarragon. I wanted that earthy herb taste. Keep tasting as you go to see how you like it. For me, with this salad, I took bite after bite and kept adding things until, one bite was perfect so I stopped and ate lunch.
I served it over a giant bowl of greens and vegetables!
I have been so into GIANT salads at lunch time. It's such a great way for me to get those raw leafy greens. That being said... this is not a "light" or "low-fat" salad any more than my mom's version.
Coconut, pecans, and vegan mayo all have fat in them and are are fairly calorie dense. If you're interested in reducing the nutrient "Fat" you could use coconut yogurt instead of mayo, you could skip the coconut shreds and add celery and carrot shreds instead. I've written before about how "Fats" that you eat as a nutrient similar to iron or vitamin k aren't the same thing as "fat" on your body or linked to being overweight. You don't want to overdose on any singular nutrient and "Fat" is the same. I don't worry about it but it's been a common concern so I wanted to address it.