I hate raw onions. Have we talked about this before, reader? I have gotten over every single other childhood food phobia but try as I may, I cannot make myself enjoy raw onions. To me, onions are acceptable only in the following forms:
- As a base, cooked down until you can’t distinguish them (e.g. risotto, stuffing, tomato sauce, soup, etc.)
- Chives (the whole thing) and scallions (the green part)
- Onion rings
- Onion dip – the kind made with powdered onion soup mix and sour cream – with potato chips
And that’s about it. I try them every so often, just to see if my palate has warmed up to the flavour, but to no avail. I don’t even like them cooked if I can taste and/or discern their texture in something. I know: I’m the worst. It’s really very difficult being a food lover and not enjoying onions.
That being said, chicken salad is something that I was never able to order from restaurants or delis, and as such I don’t think I even ever tasted chicken salad until I was older and could cook for myself. You see, most establishments include raw onions in their chicken salad recipe, as most (normal, sane) patrons enjoy the flavour, or hardly notice it. My tricky palate, however, can inevitably pick out the taste of raw onion one part in a thousand. I can’t even eat a sandwich if it was cut on the same cutting board, or with the same knife, as raw onions.
Okay. Enough about my weird onion aversion. This onion-free chicken salad is still incredibly flavourful. I’ve been using a similar recipe for years, based on this Fancy Chicken Salad recipe from Allrecipes. Its mayonnaise base is flavoured with garlic, dill and cider vinegar, and the salad is loaded with crumbled feta and crisp red peppers. The end result is tangy, creamy and hearty.
I suggest waiting until just before you serve it to fold in the red peppers, otherwise your salad will turn pink. If looks don’t matter to you, feel free to toss the peppers in with everything else beforehand. I like to serve this on soft wheat buns, or if you’re watching your carbs/gluten/starch, it’s fabulous wrapped up in lettuce leaves.
- ½ cup light mayo
- ¼ cup light sour cream
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 tablespoon dried dill weed (or 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 and ½ cups chopped cooked chicken (I used just about one whole supermarket rotisserie chicken, light and dark meat but no skin)
- ½ cup feta, crumbled
- ½ of a red pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- Buns, bread, wraps, or lettuce leaves, for serving (as desired)
- In a medium bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, garlic, dill, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken and feta to combine. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving; stir in red pepper just before you serve the salad (unless you don't mind pink it turning pink!).
- Serve as desired on bread, buns, wraps or lettuce leaves. Salad can be made ahead, and will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.