Although the high temperature here today is not quite going to reach 50 degrees [yes, we are approaching the end of May], I am still holding out hope that summer is somewhere on the horizon for Chicago. I keep hearing that “summer is the BEST here! OMG you’re going to just LOVE it!” Well, I think that they have such a shortage of nice days in this city that they embrace any day that is above 60 and not raining/snowing/windy as shit/apocalyptic. So to get into the summertime spirit, we have to make some of our own fun! An avocado chicken salad sandwich seems like the perfect light dinner to stir up summertime memories of the past, and offer a tiny glimpse of hope that it will reappear sometime soon around here. 🙂
I have never been a huge fan of chicken salad sandwiches, but I know they are one of my mom’s favorites. I recall family road trips as a kid where she would pack sandwiches for all of us, then climb into the backseat of the minivan to unpack our lunches as my dad continued to drive. We didn’t stop for anything or anyone, and even when we had to stop for gas, she would ask, “Who needs to take a bathroom break?” My brothers and I NEVER had to stop for bathroom breaks. I think we had it ingrained in us that stopping was not an option, and I gotta say, I embrace the fact that I can go the distance in a car without all the unnecessary stops now.
But anyway, back to my mom climbing from her spacious adult seat in the front of the minivan all the way to the very back, removing all of our bags from the top of the tiny cooler that we always carried with us, and somehow nestling in to feed the family our pseudo-picnic-lunch (minivan style). My brothers and I LOVED the basic ham sandwiches (I will never stop loving you, Party Time Ham). But I distinctly recall my parents enjoying chicken salad sandwiches on croissants as we chowed down on our lackluster (but absolutely DELICIOUS) ham sandwiches. Maybe they knew we wouldn’t whine and beg them to trade, or maybe it was their chance to enjoy themselves a little during those long, noisy car rides halfway across the country as they insisted on taking us to see Mount Rushmore, Washington D.C., Cape Hatteras, etc. (My parents get all the gold medals for doing that.)
I always saw their chicken salad sandwiches and turned up my nose. Umm, there’s fruit in those? No thanks. Even as I grew older, I just never had the desire to really try to get into this whole chicken/mayo/fruit salad filling thing. Seemed weird to me.
Until my ‘aha’ moment as I saw an avocado and some leftover pesto sitting in my refrigerator. It then crossed my mind that I could use avocado instead of mayo, and I could add a bit of my leftover pesto for extra flavor. I could also omit the fruit and the nuts if I please, right? Heck ya! I’m an adult now … I make my own chicken salad sandwich!
So, I did. And I loved it. I’m going to make this a few more times this summer, and I hope you have the chance to make it, too. Enjoy!
P.S. To all the Chicagoans, your city is fantastic. I just wish the weather would cooperate sometimes! 🙂
[my additional tips!]:
Actual Prep / cook time: 20 minutes
Clean-up difficulty: 1
Overall difficulty to make: 1 [really just mixing ingredients together!]
Overall satisfaction: 8 [very pleasing!]
Price range? This dish is under $5 for two.
What I would change next time? I may add a few more ingredients, but those are yet to be determined. 🙂
For your own version, I recommend:
- Consider some fruit for sweetness or some nuts for crunch. Feel free to add a little more mayo too for more flavor, although I thought this recipe was spot on for everything!
© 2015 : a flavor journal : by sara alvord
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 avocado
- 1 1/2 tbsp. pesto
- 1 1/2 tbsp. mayo
- 1/4 cup green onion, diced
- 1/4 cup celery, diced
- 2 bakery buns or crossiants
- 1 tomato (optional)
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and allow to heat through. Sprinkle one whole chicken breast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides. Cook through in saucepan.
- Once chicken is cooked, remove from saucepan and place onto cutting board. Allow to cool slightly, then shred as finely as possible using two forks.
- Place all shredded chicken into a large mixing bowl.
- Spoon avocado onto cutting board, then slice into small strips. Add strips of avocado to mixing bowl with chicken, and mash together until completely combined.
- Add pesto and mayo, and mix thoroughly into chicken and avocado.
- Add celery and green onion, and mix thoroughly once again.
- Spoon 3/4 cup of chicken salad onto bottom half of bakery bun, and top with tomatoes (optional).
- Serve fresh!
- Feel free to add other favorite ingredients if you wish!