Chicken Avocado Cranberry Salad

Liliane Kaufmann often traveled to California and Mexico, where she grew to love avocado, which at the time might have been considered exotic by some Northeasterners, especially in rural areas such as southwestern Pennsylvania. Although avocados were first shipped to Chicago and New York in the 1920s, sales in the Midwest have risen only recently. As one early wholesaler said, “Nobody here wants black fruit.” For any produce that was out of season or not available at farms near Fallingwater, the Kaufmanns had a standing-order account at a Shadyside market, where the family purchased many of their groceries. Elsie says she often featured avocado in salads when Edgar Jr. and his companion, Paul Mayen, were at Fallingwater. “Mr. Mayen loved avocados.”–Suzanne Martinson

Chicken Avocado Cranberry Salad Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 8 to 10


  • For the boiled salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (either white or cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • For the salad
  • 6 cups cooked chicken breast, chilled and cubed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, soaked overnight, drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup boiled salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 or 5 avocados, peeled, pitted and thickly sliced (see note)


  • 1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and dry mustard in a saucepan. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the milk and vinegar. Stir the mixture slowly into the flour, whisking as you pour. Cook on the range over medium heat until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat. Add the butter and stir. Cool to room temperature for serving. Cover and refrigerate the unused dressing.
  • Make the salad
  • 2. In a large bowl, add the cranberries to the cooked chicken. Mix in the celery, salt, pepper, dressing, and chopped parsley.
  • 3. To serve, arrange the salad on a large round serving plate. Prepare the avocado at the last minute so it won’t darken. Peel, pit, and thickly slice each avocado. Encircle the chicken salad in the center of the dish with the thick slices of avocado. Figure on one-half avocado per person.


  • Here’s how to cut an avocado: With a sharp paring knife, peel the avocado. Holding the fruit in one hand, crosswise around its circumference, slice the fruit into crescents, from top to bottom, just until the knife hits the pit. If not serving immediately, squirt the slices with lemon juice to avoid discoloring. Supermarket avocadoes are usually sold while still hard, so they should be purchased several days in advance. They are ripe when the skin yields when pressed gently with the thumb.
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