My husband told me when we first started dating that he wasn’t a fan of mayonnaise based salads. Well, that was then. These days? He can’t get enough. Now whenever I make a batch mayo based salad, it usually doesn’t last until the end of the day. I have a few secrets that make my mayo based salads addicting.
First, I use homemade mayo. I make my own because its truly superior to store bought, and ever since I learned how to make it in culinary school, I was hooked. Also, I can control the ingredients that go into my mayo ~ good quality egg yolks, real lemon juice, and a healthy oil like avocado oil or light olive oil. Most store bought mayo is made with rancid canola or soybean oil, and 25 other ingredients, most of which are cheap and unpronounceable. Anyway… I digress. There are a few really good quality healthy mayos out there, like Sir Kensington’s or Tessamae’s, but I’ll be honest, they are a bit pricey, even if they are very delicious. So I make my own.
And I may get crucified for even saying this, but if you aren’t going to make your own mayo or buy one of the healthy ones, taste wise the best ‘regular’ store bought mayo, in my opinion, is Duke’s Mayo. It’s not made with healthy ingredients, but most southern chef’s agree that Duke’s is as close to homemade as it gets. I would hate for you to miss out on making my recipes that include mayo if you are staunchly against making your own mayo.
But I highly encourage you to make your own.
Other than a great mayo, the other trick to a great mayo based salad is finely chopped veggies, and shredded and chopped protein. I always have a batch of cooked House Rub Roasted Chicken Breasts in my fridge, and I think it is always important to start with chicken that already tastes really good and is well seasoned. When it is cold from the fridge, it is really easy to pull it apart and shred it with my fingers, then run my knife through it and chop it even further. When your veggies and chicken are minced and shredded like this, it makes the mayo cling to the ingredients better, and the whole salad is creamier and just more delicious.
This recipe is a combination of two retro classics, plain chicken salad and carrot raisin salad, but with better ingredients, and no granulated sugar. Instead, I use a few tablespoons of honey, but if you are avoiding all sweeteners, you could leave it out and this salad would still be delicious. Avoiding dried fruits? You could also substitute diced apples or pineapple.
Carrot Raisin Chicken Salad
2 cups of freshly shredded carrots (about 4 carrots)
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded and chopped
1/3 cup of minced red onions
1/3 cup of organic raisins
1/3 cup of sliced raw almonds
1 1/3 cup of mayo 3 Tablespoons of raw organic honey (local if possible)
1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
about 20 grinds of fresh pepper
Combine all ingredients together thoroughly. For best results, allow to chill in the fridge for an hour before serving to allow the dressing to soak into all the chicken and vegetables, and for the flavors to marry and blend. Serve over organic arugula or spinach as a salad, or in lettuce wraps.