Categories: Eats, Life Style

No-Mayo Chicken Salad

Hey, What’s Cookin’?

I was looking through the paper (The Hartford Courant) last week and spied a recipe that I thought was worth bringing to your attention; chicken salad. Now, not just any chicken salad, but chicken salad without mayo! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of no-mayo chicken salad, so I was intrigued. This salad uses poaching liquid (basically, chicken stock) along with herbs and condiments, to make a flavorful dressing.

Chicken salad is such a staple; it’s easy to whip up, very transportable (although it does need refrigeration in all forms!) and makes a great lunch or lighter dinner.  What keeps it from being m.e.l.t.-worthy is all that mayo. Sure, you can (and should!) successfully substitute plain Greek yogurt for the mayo. But the following recipe is a great change of pace from ALL creamy salads, and I think it’s worth a try! Why not cook up a batch of no-mayo chicken salad for the week, and let me know what you think?

No-Mayo Chicken Salad

From Linda Guica and Christopher Prosperi via the Hartford Courant
Serves: 5


  • 5 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless (can substitute 3-4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup reserve poaching liquid
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper; to taste
  • 1 English cucumber, quartered, and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, sliced into fine shreds


  1.  Put chicken and garlic cloves in a 3-quart pot and cover with 1 quart of water. Bring to a simmer (bubbles reach the surface but do not break it) and cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove chicken to a cutting board to cool & drain. Measure 1 cup of poaching liquid and set aside. Spoon out the garlic cloves and reserve.
  2. To a blender, add the poached garlic cloves, parsley, mustard, vinegar, and the cup of poaching liquid. Blend thoroughly. Taste the dressing and add salt & pepper. Set aside.
  3. Using paper towels, mop up the drained liquid on the cutting board. Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, celery, and tomatoes and mix well. Pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the dressing over salad and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Serve salad over shredded romaine lettuce. Store all leftovers (salad, dressing, and shredded romaine) in covered containers in the refrigerator.


  1. For all you meal-preppers–this would make a great, easy lunch! If you want to keep the romaine fresh and crunchy, simply pack it in a zippered baggie, separate from the container of salad.
  2. Poaching the garlic cloves with the chicken softens the flavor of the garlic so it’s not too assertive in the dressing.
  3. As always, the vegetables can be adjusted to your personal likes/dislikes.



Photograph via Christopher Prosperi & the Hartford Courant

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