Happy Monday! Today, I’m bringing you another recipe along the same lines as last week’s cherry cornmeal buckle, to continue taking advantage of cherry season: cherry poppy seed chicken salad!
In college, I didn’t eat out much. I didn’t have a car, so anywhere I went had to be within walking distance, but more importantly, I didn’t want to develop costly eating habits. Once in a while, though, I’d treat myself and go to my favorite café or to the Whole Foods deli. Now I know that Whole Foods doesn’t exactly sound like the place to go to splurge on a gourmet meal, but remember: student budget. Whole Foods on a college student budget is a treat. Heck, Whole Foods on a several-years-post-college budget is still kind of a treat.
I especially loved going to Whole Foods during college because it was where I could be surrounded by real adults – it had a certain appeal in that there were people with real jobs and real careers and salaries and leisurely weekends and fully-stocked kitchens…all of which was still beyond my reach, but I liked the shopping experience of being among such people. It was a refreshing break from the college culture of late-night pizza and quesadillas and questionable produce crammed in the back of a fridge that was so full from trying to accommodate four different people’s dietary preferences that air circulation was a mere pipe dream.
My favorite meal from Whole Foods was a chicken salad sandwich (again, I know – does not sound like a typical splurge. I’m weird, what can I say?). I’ve recreated that chicken salad here, but with a few key differences: I swapped fresh Bing cherries for the original red grapes, walnuts for pecans, and omitted the onions. I love the juicy sweetness the fruit adds to the salad, and the rich crunch of the walnuts, but most of all I love the poppy seeds. They add such a lovely texture and subtle nutty flavor, and they help elevate the chicken salad from basic, everyday lunchtime fare to a salad fancy enough to bring to picnics and potlucks, to be eaten in sandwiches, in wraps, on crackers, or even on its own.
- 10-12 ounces chicken breast meat
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ribs celery, chopped finely
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- salt and pepper
- Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Cook chicken until meat is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes per side. Chop the cooked chicken into small pieces (no bigger than 1/2-inch cubes). Place in the refrigerator to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooling, place the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once cooled, add chopped chicken. Serve as a side dish or in sandwiches.
- Makes enough for 4 sandwiches.
Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs says
So funny.. While I was grocery shopping yesterday, the deli had a chicken salad with the normal grapes… But the grapes were so dark, they looked like cherries… And I got all excited thinking how delicious that looked.. But on closer inspection, I saw that they were grapes. I made a mental note to make chicken salad this week with cherries!!
We are truly on the same wave length.. Or the same food length!!
This looks absolutely fabulous! ❤️
Oh how funny! As much as I love grapes in chicken salad, I love cherries even more. I hope you enjoy your cherry chicken salad 🙂
This looks delicious! I will be making it today!
Thanks! I hope you enjoy(ed) it 🙂
This salad looks so fresh and delicious! I bet it would be amazing for picnic sandwiches. 🙂
Ooh, definitely – a perfect picnic food! Thanks!
What a original salad! I never thought to combine cherries and chicken… I have to catch up!
Yes, I wanted to use cherries in a savory dish, and this came to mind – I highly recommend trying it!
I do love this combination! It is so tasty!!! 🙂
Thanks, me too! 🙂
Oooh, what a great idea! Perfect for the season. I love chicken salad. I’ve never had it with cherries, but this sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing! Great photography, as well. I love that first photo… great styling!
Aw, thanks so much!! Let me know how you like it if you try it!
Erin | The Law Student's Wife says
Whole Foods still actually feels like a splurge to me too! Does that mean I’m not an adult yet? lol
Haha oh gosh, well I’m glad it’s not just me!
I believe I have been an adult a number of years by now and still it feels like a splurge buying at Whole Foods! Something about that store …
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
now this is a seriously good looking salad.. love that you used cherries. definitely something i need to try. thanks for sharing the recipe + idea!
Thanks! I hope you make some – it’s delicious 🙂
Shannon | JustAsDelish says
What a delightful salad, especially now it’s cherry season! must grab some to make this.
and thanks for dropping by my blog
Thanks! And my pleasure 🙂
HomeSweetJones (@HomeSweetJones) says
This is so perfect! I’ve been looking for a way to combine chicken with this season’s amazing cherries. I was fiddling around with a chicken with cherry sauce but this looks so much better given the heat. I can’t wait to give it a try!
Thanks! It’s one of my favorites, so I do hope you get a chance to try it. You know, I had a salad in a restaurant the other day that included pieces of cherry glazed chicken, and it was phenomenal – I think you could be on to something!
Christine @ Cooking with Cakes says
LOVE using the poppyseeds, such a fun addition! great recipe girrrl 🙂
Love the idea of using cherries and poppy seeds in chicken salad! Genius!
Thanks!! I’m glad you like it 🙂
Hi there! We liked this recipe so much, that we have translated it in spanish and include it as our first post in our blog section. Hope to send some visitors for spain to your blog!
We hope to have the english version of our web soon.
Thank you and keep cooking such great meals.
I’m glad to hear you liked it! Thanks for spreading the word 🙂