Hawaiian Chicken Salad
Hawaiian Chicken Salad- Rotisserie chicken is transformed into a savory tropical chicken salad served with butter lettuce on a flaky croissant.
November 19, 2021 by Nicole Collins
You know how they say “don't judge a book by its cover”?
Well, I'm here to say “don't judge a recipe by its description”.
Because, that's what I've been doing for a long, long time. And today, I'm eating my words.
I've always been a Simple Sally when it comes to my chicken salad. I'm sure we've talked about that here before. So, whenever I've seen restaurants that add grapes to their chicken salad, my knee jerk reaction every time is “eww”. And you know what, that's totally unfair. You really can't say “eww” until AFTER you've tasted something, right?
A couple weeks ago, a local blogger that I follow posted a picture of a Hawaiian chicken salad sandwich in her Instagram stories, and my immediate reaction was “eww”. But that only lasted half a second, because my second immediate thought was “hmm”. I could see there was pineapple in the chicken salad, and we all know your girl loves some pineapple. So, I did a little research and found there are A LOT of ways recipes have interpreted ingredient lists for Hawaiian chicken salad.
I sat on this chicken salad concept for about a week, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I did what any recipe creator would do. I created my own version that I knew we all would love.
So, that's what we're having today.
Today, we're making Hawaiian Chicken Salad!
If your gut reaction was anything like mine when I first considered the concept of adding fruit to chicken salad, you're probably concerned that the fruit takes over and makes this salad super sweet. But that's not the case at all! We're going to dress up some store bought rotisserie chicken, add in a slightly spicy ingredient to balance out the sweetness, and add in lots of other savory components to round out our sandwich. Plus, we're serving our chicken salad on a croissant, and tell me something that doesn't taste delicious on a croissant!
Let's talk chicken. Store bought rotisserie chickens might be my absolute favorite supermarket cheat ingredient. They're loaded with flavor. They feed a crowd. And they're super duper cheap. So, that's why I opted to go the rotisserie route for this recipe. I also like that you get a mix of dark and light meat with a rotisserie chicken, so I used both in this salad. But, if you have some leftover cooked chicken to use up that was simply seasoned with salt and pepper, you could certainly use that here too.
Just like any chicken salad I'd make, there are 3 ingredients that will always be invited to the party: mayonnaise, celery, and onion. I didn't want the onion to take over this chicken salad recipe, so we're actually going to use some minced green onion in this salad. It brings that perfect balance of oniony flavor without being too pungent.
The stars of this chicken salad are the pineapple and the jalapeno. I chose to use canned pineapple rings that had been drained and diced for this salad, because canned pineapple tends to have a softer texture than fresh pineapple. That helps it blend in a little better. If you have fresh pineapple, feel free to use it. Just make sure to dice it into small pieces.
Now we could stop this recipe at the pineapple, and it is simply delicious. But, adding in a little minced jalapeno to this salad really brings some wow factor. The amount of jalapeno that we're adding does not turn this into a spicy chicken salad at all. But the spice in the pepper balances out the sweet in the fruit just enough to create a really nice flavor profile that's simply exceptional.
Once our salad is mixed, we're going to pile it into some croissants that have been lined with butter lettuce, and it's time to eat. I found these adorable mini croissants that came in slider sizes, and that made things even better!
So what does this chicken salad taste like? Is it sweet? No. Is it spicy? No. Does it taste like your standard deli chicken salad? No. It's like a little bit of all three questions combined. It tastes very similar to a standard chicken salad but with surprise little juicy pops of sweetness and crunchy bites of heat. Does that make sense?
Probably not. But, the best way for you to know what it tastes like is to try it for yourself!
Okie dokes, everyone. I hope you give this one a chance, because it really is super delicious. I'm now officially a believer of fruit in chicken salad.
I hope you guys love this one. Let's eat!
Hawaiian Chicken Salad
Serves: 4 Print
3 cups rotisserie chicken, diced (I used a mix of light and dark meat)
2 stalks celery, diced
3 green onions, dark green parts only, sliced
1 can (20 oz) pineapple rings in juice, drained and diced
1 small jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
½ cup mayonnaise
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
butter lettuce and croissants, for serving
Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors mix.
To serve, layer butter lettuce, to taste, on the bottom half of a sliced croissant. Top with chicken salad and the top half of the croissant. Serve!
*This chicken salad tastes great on any type of bread, or even crackers. But, you can't go wrong with a croissant!
*You could use fresh pineapple instead of canned pineapple if you have it. After it's diced, you want about 1 1/3 cups total.