I absolutely LOVE chicken salad. Growing up, my mom used to make me chicken salad sandwiches and I remember gobbling up every last bite. Sometimes, I'd even go back for a second sandwich (I miss that fast metabolism). Recently I've been craving her chicken salad, but wanted to alter the recipe to exclude the heavy mayonnaise and lighten things up a bit. I also wanted to put my own berry twist on it, per usual.
I ended up replacing the mayo with avocado and using blackberries instead of grapes, and I'm kind of in love with this new, healthier version. I don't even miss the mayonnaise, since the avocado is so creamy. Plus, it's a lot lighter and doesn't weigh me down after! As for the blackberries, they pack a punch and definitely liven things up, without being too overwhelming. And as much as I love the classic chicken salad sandwich, I got rid of the bread and filled up the avocado skins for a pretty presentation! I think my mom might even like my version better.
I'd love to hear what you think in the comment section below!
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ tsp kosher salt
8 turns fresh cracked black pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup blackberries
⅓ cup blackberries, sliced (to garnish)
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of half a lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 cup toasted walnuts, lightly chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 T chopped parsley
**When removing insides of avocados, keep skin in tact as you will use as bowls!
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a large saute pan (oven proof) over high heat.
Add 2 T extra virgin olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the ½ tsp kosher salt and 8 turns of black pepper. Add to hot oil and let sear for 2 minutes, flip, and sear for 2 minutes on the other side.
Place the entire saute pan with the chicken into the oven and let cook for 6-7 minutes in the oven or until the chicken barely bounces back.
Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes and then put in refrigerator to chill.
Meanwhile, blend ⅓ cup blackberries, the inside of one avocado, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt until well combined.
Once chilled, shred chicken breasts and toss with the blackberry avocado dressing until well coated. Fold in chopped toasted walnuts, celery, lemon zest, and chopped parsley.
Small dice the inside of the remaining avocado and gently fold into mixture. Stuff each avocado half with the chicken salad, top with fresh sliced blackberries and enjoy!