This chicken avocado cranberry salad is tossed in a light, creamy egg yolk dressing, and is perfect for an easy lunch or light weeknight meal.
Liliane Kaufmann often traveled to California and Mexico, where she grew to love avocado. At the time this 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.”–Suzanne Martinson with Jane Citron and Robert Sendall
LC First Impressions Note
At first glance, this boiled salad dressing may seem sorta, oh, how shall we say this? Uh, heavy. Yet that wouldn’t be an accurate first impression. When used to cloak this simple salad, it’s actually creamy and subtle and delicate and nuanced. Just in case you were wondering.
Chicken Avocado Cranberry Salad
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 (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter at room temperature
For the salad
- 6 cups cooked chicken breast chilled and diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries soaked overnight in water, drained, and patted dry
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 cup boiled salad dressing
- 4 avocados (figure 1/2 avocado per person)
- Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and dry mustard in a saucepan off the stovetop. 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 over medium heat until the mixture thickens and remove from the heat. Add the butter and stir until incorporated. Cool to room temperature before using. (You can cover and refrigerate the dressing for up to a couple days.)
Make the salad
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked chicken, dried cranberries, celery, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.
- Add 1 cup boiled salad dressing to the salad and gently toss to combine. Plop the salad in the center of a platter or on individual plates. Peel, pit, and thickly slice the avocados. Encircle the chicken salad with the avocado. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This salad was easy and delicious. The dressing was a bit deceiving—in a good way. It was thick and almost gloppy by the time it had cooled to room temperature, but the flavor was so light and subtle. It was creamy, had a gentle vinegar taste, and the mustard managed to linger. It was perfect to marry the rest of the ingredients.
This recipe is a winner. The creamy cooked dressing is delicious and perfectly coats all the chicken. With crunchy bits of celery and the tart cranberries to contrast the smooth dressing, silky avocados and mild chicken, this salad has all the bases covered.
This is a wonderful salad—it’s delicious and presents well. I served it in a wide flat red glass bowl, and it struck me that the colors would be beautiful for a Christmas buffet. The boiled dressing is fantastic—very mayo-like. I’ll definitely be making this again and again. When I rehydrated the cranberries, it seemed a shame to throw out the cranberry soaking liquid, so I experimented by mixing that liquid with a little bit of limeade left in the refrigerator. My husband thought it was a great drink to accompany the meal.
This salad was easy to put together and very tasty. I halved the recipe, and my daughter and I split it between us for a very delicious supper.
I thought this recipe was awesome. It was a great salad and really easy to make. I plan to make this one all summer long.
This is really delicious. I loved the boiled salad dressing which is creamy and flavorful. The combination of avocado and cranberry makes for a savory summer salad.
Originally published June 23, 2009