Autumn Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries and Grapes

The other day, I stopped and picked up a pretty good chicken salad croissant sandwich for lunch from a local gourmet grocery store . . . you know the kind of food store that has the most beautiful readily-prepared foods displayed inside and in front of glass food cases.  Foods so gorgeous that they could easily be in a glossy, high-end food magazine or blog!
Well, the sandwich wasn’t too bad, really.  It certainly satisfied my tummy.   Yet to me it lacked some major taste factors to make the sandwich better than great . . . to make it a ‘wow’ chicken salad (whether in a sandwich or salad alone).
Some of you are probably thinking that here we are in October, autumn, the pre-holiday season, and so why am I making a simple chicken salad sandwich/salad at this time of year when we celebrate pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes in our recipes?
Simply because I love chicken salad, and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is to enjoy this traditionally loved sandwich or salad.  However, in the spirit of the season, I added dried cranberries and used red onion instead of yellow or scallions . . . just to match the changing colors of autumn.
And here’s the result of my testing and re-testing of the perfect Autumn Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries and Grapes to lovingly share with you and that as of November 2014 has gone viral on the web!  WOW!
I hope that you enjoy this little twist and tribute to autumn in an old classic!  And I know that you’ll definitely taste some great flavors in this recipe!
PS:  I just wanted to give a BIG shout-out thank you to Larry and Bev over at “Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings” for their culinary approval of this recipe who also prepared substituting dried blueberries for dried cranberries (both are great additions!).  Do stop by this incredible blog that I guarantee will always inspire you and have you leaving very hungry (especially for breakfast!).
Autumn Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries and Grapes
  • 2-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup halved green grapes (red would be even prettier for the season)
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip salad dressing
  • ½ cup heavy whipped cream (whipped until soft peaks form)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly diced Italian parsley
  • (use any or all of the following seasonings to your taste preference)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or dill
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp. onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp. poultry seasoning
  • ⅛ tsp. curry powder (if desired, optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • paprika
  • Italian parsley
  • large tomatoes
  • lettuce varieties of choice
  1. Combine the first dry ingredients in one large bowl.
  2. In another medium sized bowl, blend the mayonnaise, whipped cream, and spices.
  3. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken and other ingredients.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Adjust seasonings as desired.
  6. Cut out large tomatoes.
  7. Lay tomatoes on bed of lettuce, or inside a half head of iceburg lettuce.
  8. Place the chicken salad inside the tomatoes and around the lettuce.
  9. Sprinkle with paprika.
  10. Garnish with sprigs of Italian parsley.
Oh and PLEASE let me know what you think of this chicken salad . . . what you would add, delete, etc.
to make it better for your own tastes!  I would love to know!
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  1. says

    I love chicken salad no matter what time of the year too. Like you I find that store-bought chicken salad, even if it is gourmet & gorgeous, is always lacking a little “je ne sais quoi.” Homemade is always better.

  2. says

    Hi Sam – Lots of eye appeal, but no taste, does not a good sandwich/salad make! Hope you’re doing well! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. says

    We adore chicken salad in this home. I swear if I make it – the kids come home and raid the fridge. I love how you spiced this – there are a lot of nuances at play and this is no deli chicken salad. This celebrates!

  4. says

    I love chicken salad and I love chicken salad with fruit and nuts in it – I’ve often used it as dessert for a salad bar meal. Your rendition sounds super good and I look forward to trying it.

  5. says

    I make chicken salad for sandwiches at least once a week — all year! What a lovely version. Mr. Rosemary would have me leave out the grapes on his. Too bad for him!

  6. says

    Thanks for the add on!!
    I’m so glad you added me because your description mentioned a lot about basil pesto, pasta, tomatoes and garlic so I’m like.. yum! I love all that stuff I wonder what her blog is like?! So sure enough, when I went to your blog I fell in love! So much deliciousness!
    See ya later!

  7. says

    This is so interesting, and your photos are gorgeous! Hugs to you, sweetie; I am glad you are blogging and i hope you have an amazing and wonderful week filled with blessings! I will be back here some day soon for more dinner inspiration; I have been burned out on cooking awhile and my sweet hubby’s been doing a lot of it. It’s time for me to find more joy in the kitchen myself and he happens to adore chicken salads and since it is a variation on something I know well, this is a perfect easy thing to get that fun started! I was also eyeing your midwest sandwich, something completely new and different, which I know he will also adore, so I’ll be back for that soon 😉 Thanks for sharing inspiration and bless you.

  8. says

    Oh that chicken salad looks amazing- so light and delicious and i love the cranberries in it instead of using grapes only. Divine- Now i wish I had a huge slice of bread to pile it on top of!

    Hey- not sure if you saw it or not but I have a fun little cooking giveaway of paula deen bowls and kitchen shears on my blog- it was posted monday so stop by and enter if you can-

  9. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE chicken salad! And this looks delicious! I too use red onions in it instead of brown… I love the combo! And what an amazing presentation! :)

  10. says

    Wow, definitely have to try this one.

    I must say chicken and grape is an interesting combo but your gorgeous photos make it all the more tempting.

    Thanks a lot.

  11. says

    You are all absolutely the best people that i’ve met! Thank you for all of your kind comments on my very simple, very humble, very ordinary cooking and blog.

    Blessings, Roz

  12. says

    Hi Roz, First I want to say how happy I am that you have returned to your beautiful blog. I have just finished catching up with all your posts that I missed while traveling in Europe and enjoyed them all. A good chicken salad sandwich is one of my favorites and yours sounds delicious.

  13. says

    Roz – I’m in no way a seasonal eater whatsoever, and as far as I’m concerned, anytime is a good time for some chicken salad. I love that you added the dried cranberries. To me, chicken salad always benefits from some type of fruit and/or nut.

    Enjoy the Halloween weekend!

  14. says

    This looks like an awesome chicken salad…I especially like the cranberries and curry added! Wow, I am going to try this soon. Thanks for a great recipe!

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