A lot of living with a medically-necessary restricted diet, is finding ways to enjoy our favorite foods in ways that fit our new needs. Some ingredients post more challenges than others, it’s true, but often it’s just a matter of knowing your ingredients.
Chicken salad–either as a salad topping, sandwich filling, or snack with crackers–used to be one of my favorite things to whip up for picnics or a weekend lunch. My preferred version’s not-so-secret ingredient used diced apples for their bright flavor and crunchy texture. Sometimes I’d also add walnuts, but not often. Since apples are ingredient-non-grata on a Low-FODMAP diet (they’re naturally high in fructose, fructans, and polyols), I needed to tweak my go-to recipe. And while walnuts are fine, in limited quantities, they don’t show up in our home very often due to Todd’s dislike of them.
Low-FODMAP Seeded Chicken Salad
1 celery stalk, small dice (~ 1/2 cup)
3 green onion tops, sliced (~ 2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
2 Tbsp hulled sunflower seeds
1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded chicken breast
1/3 – 1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt & pepper to taste
Combine everything in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Serve atop mixed greens or with crackers. Makes about 2.5 cups.
Make sure that your mayonnaise is low-FODMAP–many include onion or garlic for flavor and if you’re sensitive to fructans this could be an issue for you. Hellmann’s seems to be a reliable choice (we buy the olive oil variety) but you need to always check the labels as formulas can change. Of course you can also make your own mayo or even substitute a lactose-free Greek-style yogurt for some or all of it.
To make this a quick recipe, I like to keep a few 13 oz. cans of chicken breast (water-packed) on hand. Drain the chicken and then break up the meat with your fingers and it’s perfect for a dish like this where you want the chicken distributed throughout the salad and not in chunks.
When we have friends coming over it’s nice to put a bowl of this out with crackers. Wheat-free crackers often leave something to be desired, however, so I was pleased to receive samples of Blue Diamond’s Artisan Nut Thins to try with it. The crackers have a shiny look to them, are very crisp (almost brittle), but the flavors are quite tasty. I served up the chicken salad as a snack with some of the Sesame Seed, Flax Seed, and Multi-Seed Nut Thins and all seemed to go over very well. My favorite is probably the Flax Seed variety, though they’re all tasty.
(Keep in mind that Nut Thins from Blue Diamond are primarily almond flour, and almonds have recently been found to be higher in FODMAPs than originally thought. Because of this you need to gauge your own sensitivity to almond products, including Nut Thins.)