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Kalyn's Kitchen

Kalyn and Mimi’s Chicken Salad with Mustard and Cashews

I spend lots of time every day reading my favorite food blogs, yet interestingly enough, I don’t cook with many recipes from blogs. It’s not that the recipes don’t look great; I see lots of things that inspire me. But I’m such an intuitive cook that I rarely follow recipes the way they’re written. Somehow it feels a little strange to make changes to a fellow blogger’s recipe and then write about it on your own blog. (Obviously, I don’t have these same qualms about cookbook authors; they’re fair game for “improving” on the recipes!)

This independent spirit I have regarding recipes makes it all the more interesting that as soon as I saw Mimi’s Honey Mustard Dressing for Tossed Salad I knew I’d be making it. For one thing, Mimi sounds like my kind of cook. She said she sometimes puts in a bit of this and a bit of that. When the recipe spoke to me from her blog, French Kitchen in America, it was all about the buttermilk. I love buttermilk, and I even love that basic ranch dressing that you make with a mix (but it must be the buttermilk type and real mayo, otherwise forget it.) Mimi’s dressing had buttermilk, mayo, a touch of Honey Dijon mustard, and grated onion. (Forgive me Mimi, but I added a tiny bit of celery seed.)

Mimi says she makes it right before she uses it, but I knew that was not going to happen around here, so on Saturday, right after I included it in South Beach Recipes of the Week, I doubled her recipe and made a jar of dressing to go in the refrigerator. Then sometime around midday on Sunday that dressing started speaking to me from the fridge. I swear I have no idea how these things pop into my mind, but suddenly I channeled one of Mimi’s French ancestors and came up with this salad recipe.

There are only a few ingredients in this salad. Do try it, unless you’re another one of those bloggers who never tries any of the recipes they see on other blogs. And be sure to visit Mimi to see what type of salad she eats it on too.

I diced celery in 1/4 inch pieces to get 1 cup diced celery.

Two chicken breasts were cooked in chicken stock (which is why they turned yellow) and then cooled and diced in 1/2 inch pieces. This should be about 2 cups diced chicken.
Add 1/2 cup sliced green onions, with both green and white parts. Mix this up with 1/2 cup of my version of Mimi’s famous dressing (with celery seed). Taste to see if you want a tiny bit more mustard.

Mix in or sprinkle on top 1/3 cup chopped cashews, or more if the budget and waistline can handle it.

Kalyn and Mimi’s Chicken Salad with Mustard and Cashews
(about 3 servings, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Mimi’s Honey Mustard Dressing for Tossed Salad.)

2 chicken breasts, cooked in stock and then cooled and diced in 1/2 inch pieces (2 cups chicken)
1 cup diced celery, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced green onion, white and green parts
1/2 cup Mimi’s Famous Dressing (see my version below)
1/2 tsp. additional honey Dijon mustard, if desired
1/3 cup or more coarsely chopped cashews

Trim all visible fat and membranes from chicken breasts, then simmer in chicken stock until done, about 15 minutes. Let chicken cool and dice in 1/2 inch pieces. While chicken cooks, chop celery, green onions and cashews.

Combine chicken, celery, green onion, and 1/2 cup Mimi’s Famous Dressing and stir until chicken is coated with dressing. Taste to see if you want to add the 1/2 tsp. additional mustard. Mix in cashews, saving a few to sprinkle on top, and serve. (Best served within a few hours, but I just ate some that had been in the fridge overnight and it was still very good. If you refrigerate it too long, the buttermilk will make it waterey.)

My take on Mimi’s Famous Dressing:
(doubled and celery seed added)
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup mayo (for South Beach do not use light or fat free mayo which contains sugar)
2 heaping T honey dijon mustard with mustard seeds (Mimi uses French’s)
4 tsp. grated onion
1 tsp. celery seed

Put all ingredients in food processor and process 1-2 minutes. Store in refrigerator in glass bottle with tight lid.

More Phase One Chicken Salads:
Southwest Chicken Salad
Mimi’s Saturday Night Chicken Salad from French Kitchen in America
Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad from Champaign Taste
Zucchini and Chicken Salad with Rasberry Vinegar from Chocolate and Zucchini

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15 comments on “Kalyn and Mimi’s Chicken Salad with Mustard and Cashews”

  1. This looks great – I am anxious to try it!

  2. Anytime I see a recipe with cashews my taste buds perk up. That looks great.

  3. Hi Kalyn – I don’t tend to follow recipes either. I end up digesting the concept and working blindly off the “gestalt” of the thing. This inevitably leads to a different recipe and I do feel bad sometimes (knowing how much work goes into writing a recipe!) but I figure there are enough people out there who love to follow recipes so the more recipes the better 😉

    BTW, I guess I haven’t visited you in a while, but I love your new site design – esp the banners!

  4. Lydia, fun to hear I’m not the only one who immediately liked the sound of Mimi’s dressing.

    Meeta, thanks. Cashews were great in this!

    Christine, welcome back.

    Pebbles, hope you like it.

    Mimi, glad you discovered there’s a salad named after you! Back to school: my condolences.

    Anjali, love the idea for a vegetarian version.

  5. Kalyn fab recipe. I’m going to replace the chicken with cottage cheese, me being a veg and try this should be equaly yummy.

  6. Kalyn, celery seed sounds like a wonderful addition to this. I don’t mind at all. I’m not a a purist. In fact, next time, celery seed goes in my dressing.

    (I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get over hear and see what youw ere up to — Blogger was having conniptions tonight and I kept trying to post something. I was ready to chuck the whole thing! That on top of my first day back in the classroom — always a trying day!)

  7. This looks delicious! Now I know what I will be making for my lunches next week. Thanks!

  8. Fantastic recipe Kalyn. This one is going in my recipe file.
    What a generous person you are for featuring Mimi here. She is such a lovely person and deserves the recognition.
    BTW: I’m back, I think.

  9. Kalyn, this really does look gorgeous! Chicken salad is something I always enjoy making as it is a perfect thing to also pack in my son’s lunchboxes. You’ve got me craving. I love the addition of cashews – just wild!

  10. French Kitchen in America is one of my favorite blogs, too. When I saw this recipe, I printed it right away. I love chicken salad and cashews, separately and together!

  11. Tanna, celery seed is great. My mom always put it in macaroni salad and potato salad, so I guess that’s where I learned to like it. Interesting to hear about your peanut butter experiments.

    James, I think I need to get over it. It sounds like people don’t take it personally if you read what Pille writes.

    Pille, thanks! My condolences on the lack of cilantro, lol! Very good point about the culinary backgrounds.

  12. Looks pretty damn good to me!

  13. I happily try recipes off blogs, usually with small changes though. However, I tend to change a recipe for 2 reasons – 1) the recipe sounds perfect, but I know I like it better with small changes (our respective culinary backgrounds and tastebuds are markedly different, so that’s no surprise) or 2) I change the recipe to suit the ingredients I have in hand. For example, you cannot find fresh coriander (cilantro) anywhere in Estonia at the moment, so I usually replace with parsley, etc. etc.
    You and Alanna and Ilva must be three blogs out there that have inspired my cooking during the recent years:)

  14. I used to be like you not trying recipes off blogs but temptation got a hold of me now i make just about every one i find i think this is going to be another. Thanks to you and Mimi for the recipe.

  15. That is so terrific Kalyn! I’m thinking I want some chicken salad. Don’t promise I won’t change it somehow but you have already put the first thing in that must be in chicken salad. My mom always put celery seed in chicken salad and potato salad.
    And by the way, I saw Alanna’s Famous OatMeal on her site and linked to yours to read and then just had to try peanut butter with my 100% oatmeal waffle but the peanut taste was too suble to really justify it.

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