Inject Your Leftover Chicken Salad With A Blast Of Fruity Sweetness

Creamy, versatile, and quick to assemble, chicken salad is a classic dish that can be rustled up with nothing but shredded leftovers from a weekend roast and a dollop of mayo. And it couldn't be easier to inject your basic chicken salad with a blast of fruity sweetness, courtesy of a handful of grapes and chunks of golden pineapple.

This combination of juicy fruit lightens and lifts chicken salad, adding textural interest, fragrance, and vibrant color. It also lends this simple staple a burst of sugariness that pairs wonderfully with the other ingredients. Individually, the pineapple brings a touch of welcome tang to the heaviness of a mayo-based dressing and the fresh grapes deliver a juicy punch. Much like adding a sprinkle of brown sugar to chicken salad, these fruity additions counteract the bitterness of chopped celery, and the harshness of a freshly-diced onion, lending this classic deli fave a harmoniously balanced taste. Moreover, as the chicken mayo sits, the juices from the pineapple and grapes leech into the mayo, loosening its thick texture and boosting its fruity flavor profile.

If we've sold you on adding fruit to your chicken salad, prep your grapes by halving or quartering them first before tossing them into a bowl of your favorite fixings, from pecans and grated carrots to diced pickles and onion. The pineapple too, is best chopped into smaller segments to match the grapes, creating a uniform salad that features every ingredient in each bite.

Experiment with other fruits to lend your chicken salad a seasonal sweetness

If your grapes are too sour and you haven't got canned or fresh pineapple on hand, try experimenting with other options in your fruit bowl. Apple is brilliant for adding a sweet crunch to a yielding chicken salad, instantly transforming the texture — simply dice or julienne into thin matchstick-like shapes. To avoid chopping altogether, stir through whole berries, like raspberries, blueberries, and smaller-sized strawberries, that deliver sweetness and color. Once the flavors have developed, the pink and purple juices from the fruits will seep into the mayo (a gentle stir will create a pretty marbled effect that looks tempting once served).  A handful of pomegranate seeds are also a delicious no-chop alternative that can be scattered on top for an appetizing finish.

Incorporating dried fruit works as well, à la the British classic Coronation Chicken, which combines shredded chicken with curried mayo, mango chutney, dried apricots, or sultanas. Indeed, no matter which fruit tickles your fancy, a sweet chicken salad is scrumptious sandwiched between two slices of bread, slathered on crackers, or piled high on a bed of romaine. Why not save a little of your next rotisserie chicken for some fruity experimentation?