Originally Published by Tasting Table on August 15, 2023
Written by Emma Segrest
Chicken salad is a great dish for when you need to clean out your fridge. Cooked chicken, mayo, vegetables, relish, and more make up the versatile dish. Considering the ingredients’ flexibility, you can change up your chicken salad game by using different relish flavors. Various pickles and relishes are made with different spices and flavor profiles in mind. If you are intentional with your pairings, you can create more depth of flavor in your chicken salads that will elevate the classic dish.
To incorporate this into your dish, start off with about a tablespoon and a half of relish. You can always taste your dish and decide if it needs more. Relish boasts a strong and tangy flavor, though, and you don’t want it to overpower the dish. If you are using pickles instead of relish, be sure to chop them up finely so that big pickle chunks don’t dominate your salad.
Best types of relish and pickles to use
Dill pickle relish is a popular choice for salads. The dill delivers a fresh herby flavor, and the vinegar cuts through the mayo of the salad. If you decide to use dill pickles or dill pickle relish, you can complement the flavor by adding fresh dill to your recipe. If you prefer a little kick to your food, try a spicy dill relish or pickle to bring a subtle heat to the mild dish. For extra heat, mix in whole-grain mustard or a dash of Tabasco sauce.
If you are a fan of ingredients such as raisins or grapes in your chicken salads, consider trying a sweet relish or bread and butter pickles. These have less tang than their dill counterparts and offer the perfect balance of savory and sweet to your meal. Bread and butter pickles derive their flavor from the added sugar in the pickling mixture. That makes them the perfect pairing with sweeter ingredients.