Chicken salad is a simple, yet flavorful dish that can be served as the main attraction or as a filling side dish. It uses wholesome ingredients and takes only minutes to toss together.
My own favorite chicken salad recipe has nuts and chicken breast along with fruit and veggies.
The best part about this salad is that you can swap things out as needed, so it’s great for cleaning out the refrigerator! Toss in some bell peppers or leftover chicken from the night before.
Chicken Salad Sandwiches – Main Dish or Side Dish?
A well made chicken salad has a protein as the main ingredient, a vegetable, and a fat or oil of some sort. Make it a sandwich, and you add a carbohydrate.
Chicken salad sandwiches are a complete main dish and so simple, especially if you make it with a store bought rotisserie chicken.
It’s wonderful to have a cool lunchtime option for hot summer days that really covers all of the nutritional bases.
However, you can also eat it in smaller servings alongside big bowls of soup and it makes one of the best side dishes.
It adds a nice contrast in flavor and texture, particularly to pureed soups.
The possibilities of what to pair with chicken salad sandwiches are nearly endless and your taste buds will be so satisfied!
Best Bread For Chicken Salad Sandwiches
There are many different ways to make a chicken salad sandwich.
Sometimes the choices you make while making the sandwich helps to determine what you should pair with it!
- Croissants – The fluffy, buttery flavor of croissants pair deliciously with the savory flavor of the chicken salad. When the creamy dressing melts into the pockets of the croissant it makes for a delicious pairing.
- Sourdough Bread- The subtle sour flavor of the bread and the density of the crumb is perfect for these sandwiches.
- Pita Bread – Need to take your chicken salad to go? Use pita bread! The pockets keep the chicken salad from falling out of the sides.
- Whole Grain Bread – Chicken salad is a classic dish for healthy eating. Whole grain slices of bread boost the fiber while keeping calories low.
- Bed of Lettuce – You can go without bread altogether! Use a lettuce or cabbage leaf to turn your sandwich into a wrap, while adding a nice crunch.
- Tortilla – A fun way to change up chicken salad is to use tortillas. Either use them to make a wrap, or lightly grill them to make a chicken salad quesadilla that your children will love.
Add-Ins For Healthy Chicken Salad
Another way to change up your chicken salad sandwiches is by playing with flavors you mix in to the chicken salad dressing, or what toppings you choose. Here are some options:
- Dill Pickles – The tangy flavor and crispy crunch contrasts wonderfully with the creamy texture of chicken salad. Go with pickle slices or sweet pickle relish.
- Fresh Herbs – Try dill, rosemary, green onions, or even laying full basil leaves across the top.
- Sour Cream – Many chicken salad recipes use mayonnaise as the base of the dressing. Change it up by adding sour cream, or even Greek yogurt.
- Avocado – Either add a few slices of avocado on top of your sandwich, or whip up a creamy avocado dressing.
- Bacon Bits – Bacon is always a good idea.
Delicious Sides To Go With Classic Chicken Salad Sandwiches
The best thing about chicken salad sandwiches is that there are many side dishes that pair well with it!
- Cucumber Soup – When the weather heats up, you can’t go wrong with a cold sandwich and a cold soup. It also helps use up some of the abundance of cucumbers that summer brings!
- Hot Potato Salad – Cold potato salad is great too, but there’s something about the pairing of cold chicken salad with hot potato salad that provides a nice contrast.
- French Fries – Bake your own French fries or potato wedges.
- Pasta Salad – There are endless ways to make pasta salad! It’s a great way to use many types of vegetables.
- Cheese Platter- Making a charcuterie board with chicken salad and a variety of crackers and cheese is a great way to enjoy this type of chicken dish.
Best Salads To Pair With Creamy Chicken Salad
Salad and sandwiches are the perfect combination. Some tend to shy away from pairing salads with chicken salad sandwiches – chicken salad is already “salad”, right? Don’t let that stop you!
- Caesar Salad – If you mix up a large bowl of Caesar salad, you can make a variety of sandwiches and feed a whole deck full of people!
- Fresh Green Salad – Chicken salad sandwiches are often a summertime favorite. That’s also the time our gardens are plentiful! Mix up any kind of salad using the lettuces and vegetables from your garden. Somehow, it just always tastes better.
- Ambrosia Fruit Salad – If your children tend more to fruit that vegetables, mix up this fruit salad!
Picnic-Friendly Sides For Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Sandwiches are the quintessential picnic food, and chicken salad sandwiches are a nice change from the old PB+J workhorse. Here are some of the best sides for a day at the playground.
- Potato Chips – Whether baked or traditional, potato chips are a quick and convenient picnic side. Change it up with cheese straws or veggie straws!
- Fresh Fruit – Either bring a melon to cut up, a rinsed bag of grapes, or pick up a fruit platter at the grocery store on your way!
- Raw Vegetables – While you’re at the store, grab a vegetable platter as well. Fresh veggies are a cool favorite on hot park days.
Savory Chicken Salad As A Perfect Side Dish
While chicken salad sandwiches are often thought of as a cool main dish during warmer months, you don’t have to stay in that box! You have leftover chicken all year through, so you can make a good chicken salad during the winter as well! Serve small chicken salad finger sandwiches on toasted sourdough bread alongside your favorite hot bowl of soup.
- Potato Soup – Potato soup is a favorite cold weather comfort food.
- Butternut Squash Soup – Winter is the time for root vegetables and fall squashes. This pureed soup is a great way to introduce butternut squash to your children!
- Bacon Cheddar Soup – With favorite flavors of bacon and cheese, you probably won’t have leftovers of this one.
Drinks To Serve With Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Don’t forget the drinks! Every delicious dish deserves a delicious drink to go with it.
- Iced Tea – One of the best options for a summertime drink is a nice tall glass of cold iced tea.
- Lemonade – Fresh lemon juice and just enough sugar makes a refreshing drink.
- Berry Spritzer- This is a delicious and fruity drink that has flavor and fizz.