Memorial Day Chicken Salad Recipe: 3 Surprising Ingredients Add So Much Flavor by Donna John

Memorial Day Chicken Salad Recipe: 3 Surprising Ingredients Add So Much Flavor

I don't eat lunch every day. There, I said it. But I do find myself getting on kicks for a certain food for lunch and eating it over and over. Egg salad, BLTs, club sandwiches, ham sandwiches, scrambled eggs (yes, for lunch) and chicken salad are the top foods for my cravings list. Right now it's chicken salad, so when I find a new and interesting way to make it, I'm all over it. This creamy Memorial Day chicken salad recipe has a few interesting ingredients I don't often see in chicken salads: cheddar cheese, lemon and carrot. This is one flavorful and tasty chicken salad recipe.

The chicken salad starts with cooked, shredded chicken. (You could dice it if you prefer it that way.) This is a great way to use up leftover chicken. If you don't have leftover chicken, cook one or two chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs, cool and shred. Or, use a rotisserie chicken. To the chicken add mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped pecans, a small grated carrot, fresh chives and some celery (the original recipe did not call for celery, but I had some so threw it in). Mix it together and season with salt and pepper.

My chicken breasts were pretty big, so I doubled this recipe. Add as little or much mayonnaise as you like in your chicken salad, and adjust the lemon juice to your tastes. The lemon adds a brightness that is really refreshing! You could use any cheese, but I loved the creaminess the cheddar added. Chopped red onion would be a good addition to this chicken salad, too. Serve this chicken salad over lettuce or in a lettuce wrap, or as a sandwich filling.

This is a wonderful spring and summer recipe for lunch or picnics – or for Memorial Day (obviously!), July 4th or Labor Day. What will be my next lunch obsession? Stay tuned...

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes (if you're using leftover chicken)

Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (I used chicken breast)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellman's Real Mayonnaise)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (or almonds)
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (or green onion tops)
  • 1 rib celery, chopped small (optional)

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Elisa Schmitz
Oooh, I love chicken salad, and this recipe has some nice unexpected flavors (hello, lemon and pecans). Yum!

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