I’ll Never Do Traditional Again: Mock Chicken Salad

So before I get into the recipe for today I wanted to tell you that yesterday was my 100th post!  I didn’t realize it until later in the day.  I remember at the beginning this seemed so far away and now I can’t believe how much time has passed.  Isn’t time such a fickle friend.  It is slow and fast at the same time.  I am so grateful for all the support and positive feedback I have received.  This is such a fun experience and it is helping me develop and refine talents I didn’t know I had.  I am excited for all the posts to come, especially this salad we have today! DSC_1025 DSC_1033 Growing up I really loved chicken salad, though it seems like we only ever eat it at church functions, baby or bridal showers… why is that?  Well as I got a little older and started figuring out what foods agree and disagree with my body it looked like chicken salad was out for good.  Then I discovered this recipe for “mock” chicken salad (rawmazing again!) and my world was changed once more.  Not only is this recipe healthy and I can eat every ingredient she uses, but I really think it tastes better than the traditional salad. DSC_1044 DSC_1056 Once again we are really putting our nuts and seeds to work.  The mayo is the cashew base I mentioned yesterday, but it is flavored with some oil, apple cider vinegar, agave, lemon juice and dried mustard.  So easy!  I remember when I went to the store I couldn’t find any pre-ground dried mustard.  All I found was mustard seeds.  I just ground the seeds in our ‘spice grinder’ (it is really a cheap coffee grinder from Walmart, but it makes a fantastic spice grinder!) and my problem was solved:-) DSC_1061 The walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are the reason this is called a mock chicken salad.  It wouldn’t really be very healthy to make this with raw chicken, but the soaked nuts and seeds can be finely blended to create a meat substitute.  Once you have done that you can mix your nut/seed mixture with the mayo and add the rest of your ingredients: cucumber, grapes, green onions, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Her original recipe uses half cucumber and half celery.  I made it that way the last time we had this, but my husband was none too fond of the celery so I promised him next time I would replace it with more cucumber.  You can do whatever ratio works for you.  If you want the texture of the celery, but maybe not 2 cups worth, you can adjust the ratios to your liking.  DSC_1069 DSC_1074 That is the wonderful thing about recipes.  As pirates say, they are more like guidelines than rules:-) If you want to change up the additives that go into the salad, do it.  If you want to actually use cooked chicken or tuna instead of nuts and seeds, go for it.  I think I will never use anything but this mayo recipe in the future, but sometimes we might do chicken and other times the nut/seed combo.  This is a great recipe when serving those who do and don’t eat meat.  You can make a batch of each and everyone is happy.  Also if eating this wrapped in lettuce or over a bed of greens doesn’t sound filling enough feel free to pair it with some bread.  It is still healthier than a traditional version.  If you make any fun changes that turn out well, I would love to hear about them!    DSC_1087

Mayo

1 C cashews, soaked overnight

2 T olive oil

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 T water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 T agave/honey

½ t dried mustard

  1. Place all ingredients into blender and mix until mayo becomes smooth.  Set aside.

Mock Chicken Salad

1 C walnuts, soaked overnight

½ C sunflower seeds, soaked overnight

½ C pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight

Mayo

4 C cucumber, peeled and diced

2 C grapes, halved

½ C scallions

Juice from ½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place soaked walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds into food processor and pulse until finely blended, but not turning into a paste.
  2. Place mixture into a bowl and stir in the mayo.  Mix in the other ingredients and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Scoop mixture onto lettuce leaves (or chopped lettuce, bread or anything of your choosing really.)

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Comments

  1. says

    This looks so delicious! I don’t yet cook with any nuts, and I wonder if it’s very expensive as a meat replacement. I usually get whole organic chicken when it’s on sale for 99 cents per pound. How do cashews measure up? Is there a place you recommend buying in bulk? I’m also obsessed with pinenuts, but soooooo expensive!
    Also, as one not yet committed to vegetarianism, I don’t own a grinder. Do you think it would be possible to “purée” the nuts in my blender and then smush by hand Native American style? Or is that too ridiculous? Thanks!

    • says

      This will all depend on where you live and the local market prices. I’ll give you the breakdown for Utah Valley (are you guys close?) and you can apply it to your market. Switching over to nuts/seeds instead of meat can be expensive at first as you set up a supply, but overtime I think they are similar. The nuts might end up being a little more pricey- it really all depends on what deals you can get. I buy my cashews at Winco. If you buy the raw (versus roasted) cashews they cost $2.69/lb, which is a great price. Pine nuts are super expensive and I don’t think there is any getting around that. The good thing is that most recipes only call for a small amount, less than one cup.
      Your blender should work just fine for most nut recipes. I use my food processor or blender for everything:-) It will really just depend on what is motivating you to try nuts and seeds over meat. Both can be expensive and some bodies respond better to one over the other. If you have a Winco or Winco equivalent I would get your nuts and seeds there. You get them for bulk price, but you don’t have to actually buy the bulk. You can buy the amount you need. Does that help?

  2. Jennifer Thomas says

    But why do you call it mock chicken salad? Why not name it after the ingredients that are really in it?

    • says

      Mostly because I was sticking to the name the recipe author used. It seemed only fair since she did the hard work and also so viewers are more familiar with it. The familiar name puts it in the appropriate context in their mind. When I think of walnut, pumpkin seed and sunflower seed salad an entirely different image comes to mind that when I think of chicken salad…. it is true though. The ingredients present should get a little more credit:-)

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