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New England Chicken or Cape Cod Salad

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

New England Chicken Salad

As many of you know, I constantly shop in Costco.  One summer on separate occasions they had two versions of this salad.  The ‘bought in’ salad was made with canned chicken breast and then Costco made their own version using left over bbq’d chicken.  One was called Cape Cod Chicken salad and the other had to be renamed to New England Chicken Salad. I read the label (as I often do both for nutrition and recipe ideas) of the ‘bought in’ salad and it included craisins, pecans and honey with mayo.  I went back to my Chicken Waldorf salad and took that as the base for this salad. 

Using canned chicken it can easily be used as a sandwich filling, cracker spread, or to fill mini pastry tarts.  Using fresh chicken in larger pieces it is good as a meal time salad or for a picnic/party etc.   Making this yourself you can add as much craisins, pecans etc as you like and also keep the craisins, pecans etc in larger recognizable pieces, rather than almost ‘mush’.  And you are not adding all the preservatives present in bought containers of this salad.

This is the proportion of ingredients we like in my home, so play with them to your taste.

Tip: 1 Tbsp. light mayo is 35 calories, 1 Tbsp. low-fat vanilla Greek Yogurt is 15 calories.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. can of chicken, drained or 12 oz. cooked chicken shredded as finely as you want or need. (12 oz. of cooked chicken is roughly the 2 breasts from a ready roasted chicken – remember to make sure store-bought chicken is gluten-free as added sauces and injected solutions can contain gluten.)
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek vanilla yogurt.
  • 1-2 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate.  (Start with 1 Tbsp., make the salad, then taste and add more if you want.  You can use zest of  1 orange instead.
  • 1/3 cup craisins – just plain, I don't do the flavored craisins.
  • 1/3 chopped, toasted pecans. (Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes)  Or, you can cheat and chop peanuts, smoked almonds, cashews, etc.
  • 2 stalks of celery, washed, cut into 4 lengthwise and cut into ¼ to ½ inch dices.  (I like the crunch of raw celery, but you could also use shredded carrots, chopped raw broccoli, chopped Gala apples.)
  • 2-3 tsp. maple syrup (or honey) or to taste
  • 1 tsp. gluten-free honey mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional if kids won't eat green stuff)
  • 2 Tbsp. green of green onions or chives (optional if kids won't eat green stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp. leaves from the fresh celery (optional if kids won't eat green stuff, or you didn't use celery)
  • Dome freshly ground pepper.  (I don’t find I need to add salt - your decision.)

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together, refrigerate for about an hour for flavors to mingle, taste and adjust seasoning, maple syrup, more herbs etc. to your taste.

Ways to Enjoy:

  1. Serve as appetizer on top of half an avocado, hollow out orange or grapefruit half and use as serving container for individual portion on top of mixed salad.
  2. Cut edges with v-shaped cutter or knife.
  3. Serve in hollowed out melon for large party.
  4. Spread canned version into cucumber or celery boats.
  5. Spread on wraps and top with lettuce, roll up.
  6. Spread on gluten-free crackers or crostini and serve for shower or tea party.
  7. Add some curry powder/paste and pineapple instead of craisins.
  8. Add gluten-free soy sauce, honey, water chestnuts, drizzle of sesame oil, Thai basil.
  9. Make a Mexican version with cilantro, hot spice, bell peppers.
  10. Make an Italian with basil, artichokes, olives, bell peppers.
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