mayo-free chicken salad

I’m not a lover of mayonnaise.

I don’t love potato salad.

I make egg salad with pesto.

I avoid tuna salad except maybe once a year when I have a crazy craving for it.

I’d like to say it’s because I’m trying to be all healthy and conscious because most commercial mayonnaise is made with hydrogenated oil or canola oil or soybean oil (so it’s not easy to find non-GMO mayo).  In fact, here are the ingredients in Best Foods Real Mayonnaise (from their website):  “SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, WHOLE EGGS AND EGG YOLKS, VINEGAR, SALT, SUGAR, LEMON JUICE, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY), NATURAL FLAVORS. GLUTEN-FREE.”

Soybean oil … aka GMO oil.  Vinegar … most white vinegar these days is made from GMO corn.  Sugar … often from GMO sugar beets.  Lemon Juice … ok.  That’s fine.

But what is Calcium Disodium EDTA, you ask?  I did, too.  It’s a chemical made from formaldehyde, sodium cayanide, and Ethylenediamine. “The side effects of chelation with calcium disodium EDTA include malabsorption or low levels of various vitamins, including vitamin C and the various B vitamins. To help combat low vitamin levels, calcium disodium EDTA is usually given with a vitamin booster. Other side effects include allergic reactions; dangerously low blood sugar, blood pressure, or blood calcium levels; kidney failure and seizures.”

I’m not entirely sure what it’s doing in mayonnaise that “protects the quality” of the mayo.  But it seems worth avoiding.

Then “Natural Flavors,” which we all know is code for anything but “natural” flavors.  It could be MSG.  It could be a chemical derived from a GM plant or from an animal that has been injected with all sorts of growth hormones.  There are so many bad-for-you ingredients that get generically listed as “Natural Flavors,” that if I see it on the ingredient list, more often then not, it goes back on the shelf.

But like I said … it’s just a coincidence for me that commercial mayonnaise isn’t great for you and I don’t really eat it very much.  I just don’t love the taste or the texture … and please don’t even mention Miracle Whip.  No thank you.

In fact, until we started making our own, I probably ate mayonnaise maybe two or three times a year, on a sandwich that I didn’t make.  And even though we do make our own, I still don’t want it in my chicken salad.

Because this is how I like my chicken salad:

mayo-free chicken salad


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (organic, free range and hormone free is best if you can find it)
  • 2 stalks of celery (chopped into small bits)
  • 1 cup green or red grapes
  • 2-3 scallions (chopped fine)
  • 1 small cucumber (optional) (chopped into small bits)
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard (or better yet, a lacto-fermented probiotic mustard, for good gut-health)
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • sea salt (to taste)


First things first, the chicken … if I’m making this from scratch, I take two boneless chicken breasts, cut them into one-inch bits and sauté in a pat of butter until they are cooked through.  But honestly, this is a GREAT use of leftover chicken.  If you’re using leftover chicken, this recipe works with about 2 cups of leftover roast chicken, skin removed.

Put the chicken into a food processor and pulse two or three times until it’s your desired texture.  I don’t like to pulse too much because I still want to know it’s chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, the celery, scallions and cucumber.  Start with ONE tablespoon of dijon mustard and ONE tablespoon of grapeseed oil.  Stir to combine.  If it’s not “wet” enough, add a little more grape seed oil.  If it needs a bit more “bite,” add dijon mustard until it tastes good to you.  Add just a bit of salt if you think it needs it.

It’s the combo of the grapes and mustard that really make this chicken salad work.  The sweet and spicy blend of these two flavors are fantastic.  And piled onto a good deli roll, or sourdough bread … YUM!  It’s a good lunch.  And like I said, it’s a great use of leftover chicken (or turkey … I’m freaking out that Thanksgiving is so close!).

We’re linked up:

Domestic Superhero
This Chick Cooks

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