Tita Mae's easy chicken macaroni salad...with a CHIKIN vegan option
Not your average chicken macaroni salad! This recipe is sweet, slightly tangy, and full of flavor and spices. It's simple and you most likely have all of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry. Kids love this salad just as much as the adults do so it's a WIN-WIN! Prefer having this salad vegan, no problem! I've included instructions on how to do so!
mortar and pestle
- 500 G Macaroni pasta (Any spiral pasta will work well)
- 2 Chicken breast Or 1 can of green jackfruit (Sauteed shredded jackfruit for a vegan option, check the notes section for directions)
- 1 Peeled red onion (All onions work well)
- 2 Peeled garlic cloves
- ½ TSP Granulated garlic
- ½ TSP Oregano
- ½ TSP Onion powder
- 2 MEDIUM Peeled carrots
- ¼ CUP Sultanas (Raisins work well)
- 2 TBSP Finely chopped gherkins (Sweet pickles work well)
- 2 TSP White caster sugar (Granulated sugar works well)
- ½ CUP Pineapple chunks
- 270 G Vegan mayonnaise (Any mayonnaise works well)
Before you start, prep the pineapple chunks. You want to get as much of the liquid out as possible. Use a tofu press to help drain them. Pat dry afterward.If you do not have a tofu press, place the pineapple chunks on a clean cloth and ring out as much of the water as possible. Pat dry afterward.You can also leave them to drain and dry overnight on paper towels. Set aside. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging, remembering to generously salt the water. Add 3 minutes to the time suggested. You want your pasta to be very tender and slightly overcooked. Drain and set aside. Next, add the chicken breast, onion, garlic, granulated garlic, oregano, onion powder, carrots, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Add water, enough to cover the ingredients completely. Boil until the chicken is fully cooked. About 15 minutes.If you're having this salad vegan, scroll down to the notes section for instructions =) Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Continue to cook the carrots until they are tender. About another 5 minutes. Once tender set the carrots aside to cool and chop into small pieces. Drain the stock and set it aside.Using your mortar and pestle, grind the onion and garlic into a paste and set it aside. If you don't have one, use a fork to mash them. Prep the chicken.Using a fork, shred the chicken and then place it in the large bowl. Add 2 TBSP of the chicken stock and the onion and garlic paste to the bowl, then mix well.Taste the chicken, add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Mix.
To the large bowl add the pasta, carrots, sultanas, gherkins, caster sugar, drained pineapple chunks, mayonnaise, and a pinch of salt. Mix well and taste. Season with more salt if needed.
Place in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours or overnight if possible. Mix. Serve cold...AND DONE!!!
- Want to make this salad vegan? It's super simple, and Yes I've had it vegan, and it's just as delicious. Simply prep the jackfruit by removing the core and seeds. What you are left with are pieces of jackfruit that resemble pulled pork. Rinse the jackfruit and saute with some olive oil, granulated garlic, a tiny bit of liquid smoke, onion powder, and oregano. No need to salt the jackfruit. The jackfruit is ready when all the juices dry up. Use this to substitute for the chicken and continue with the recipe. Because the jackfruit has less seasoning than the chicken, at the end of the salad you may need to add some more salt or granulated garlic if that's your thing... it's def mine =) Garlic is my best friend!! Always taste first before adding more seasoning!
- Overcook your pasta slightly. Yes, you read that correctly! Pasta salads are the exception when it comes to overcooked pasta.
- The longer you drain the pineapple the better. This helps eliminate any excess liquid from the salad over time. Don't worry about losing the shape of the pineapple chunks.
- Don't throw away any leftover chicken stock. Save it, and use for it another recipe.
- You want to make sure the chicken is seasoned well before you mix in the rest of the ingredients. No one wants to eat bland chicken =) And trust if you skip it at this point and try to season it later, it won't be the same.
- Refrigerate overnight if possible. This salad is best served the day after it's made after the flavors have had time to blend well together. If you don't have the time, refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- ALWAYS SERVE COLD!!!