created at: 2013-03-29

Spring has officially sprung! Most of the snow has melted, the sun is shining, and I’m just waiting for it to get a few degrees warmer so I can take my lunch outside with me. Fortunately, if the forecast is correct, it looks like that might happen this weekend.

If you’re like me, chicken salad is a must-have at any picnic. But it doesn’t have to include mayonnaise. This version is one of my favorites, and it relies on a tangy vinaigrette and a few unexpected, Passover-friendly ingredients to put a new spin on a classic dish.

There are a few options for the chicken base. I bake it because I think that’s the easiest method, but feel free to poach it or just buy a ready-made rotisserie chicken from your grocery store (though this may compromise its kosher status, of course). A few of the other ingredients may sound exotic, but they’re available at most grocery stores. Here’s a quick rundown: Peppadew is a type of small, sweet, piquante pepper, Marcona almonds are salty and crunchy, and Castelvetrano olives (which you can replace with any olive of your choice) are firm and slightly salty.

So don’t let Passover discourage you from planning your first picnic of the season. This chicken salad is kosher for Passover—and I’m sure it’s great on matzoh, too.

Passover-Picnic Chicken Salad

Serves 4

2½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
½ cup sliced Peppadew peppers, plus 1 tablespoon liquid peppers are packed in (for vinaigrette)
½ cup minced Castelvetrano olives
½ cup Marcona almonds, sliced
½ red onion, sliced thin
4 cups mixed greens


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
1 tablespoon Peppadew pepper packing liquid (mentioned above)
½ tablespoon honey
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Season chicken with salt and pepper, place on wire rack, and transfer to oven. Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 18 minutes. Take care not to overcook.

2. For vinaigrette: While chicken cooks, whisk together vinegar, mustard, thyme, pepper liquid, and honey in small bowl. Then slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice into bite-sized pieces and transfer to large bowl.

4. Add peppers, olives, almonds, and onions to bowl. Stir to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette over chicken salad and stir until dressing is evenly distributed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over greens.