Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

I have to admit that when it comes to chicken salad, I’ve got that take it or leave it (mostly leave it) kind of attitude. It’s not a hatred or anything—the whole thing kinda just leaves me meh. I mean, it’s just chicken and usually celery and maybe chopped up onions mixed with mayo (sometimes way too much-yuck!) so how much is there to be excited about? Ummm, a lot when it comes to this Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed Dressing! The title alone is enough to perk you up and it doesn’t even tell you half of what’s in this yummy concoction. Read on for more...

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Besides the chicken and requisite chopped celery there are strawberries (duh) and that’s where this stops being your ordinary lunch classic. Now you add a whole big bunch of crunchy, toasted pecans, chopped scallions for some color and tang and juicy mandarin oranges for even more color and sweetness.

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And if that weren’t enough, the whole thing gets tossed together with a light poppyseed dressing for even more flavor, color and crunch!  Plus, it all comes together in a snap!

While it would be great anytime, it particularly feels right for now when all the flowers and trees are starting to bloom—so gorgeous and springy. Finally!!! Perfect for an ordinary lunch or maybe that upcoming Mother’s Day brunch? No matter when you serve this, I guarantee that no one will be wearing that fake smile "it's chicken salad again?" ho-hum expression! Here's to more exciting chicken salad experiences!!

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Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Makes at least 6 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes


For the Chicken Salad

  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (you can use rotisserie or roast a few bone in chicken breasts, discard the skin and bones and chop up the white meat 
  • 1 cup hulled and chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 2-3 large stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 11 ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained well and chopped  

For the Poppyseed Dressing  

  • ½ cup mayonnaise  
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar  
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch or two of black pepper

The Recipe

1.  To make the chicken salad: combine the chicken, pecans, celery, scallions and oranges in a large bowl. 

2.  To make the poppyseed dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, poppyseeds, sugar, salt and pepper.

3.  Pour the dressing into the salad and toss well to combine. You can eat the salad now but it’s better with at least a couple of hours of refrigeration time to allow the flavors to mend together. Cover the bowl and chill up to four hours and then serve.  

4.  Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 in the fridge. 


Note:  Recipe adapted from Teatime Magazine. I tinkered with some of the proportions.  

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