Chicken salad is any salad that counts chicken as a main ingredient. Other common ingredients may include mayonnaise, hard-boiled egg, celery, onion, pepper, pickles and a variety of mustards.
In the United States, "chicken salad" refers to either any salad with chicken, or a specific mixed salad consisting primarily of chopped chicken meat and a binder, such as mayonnaise or salad dressing. Like tuna salad and egg salad, it may be served on top of lettuce,tomato, avocado, or some combination of these. It may also be used for sandwiches. Typically it is made with leftover or canned chicken. It may also refer to a garden salad with fried, grilled, or roasted chicken (usually cut up) on top.
In Europe and Asia the salad may be complemented by any number of dressings, or indeed no dressing at all, and the salad constituents can vary from traditional leaves and vegetables, to pastas, couscous, noodles or rice.
The American form of chicken salad was first served by Town Meats in Wakefield, Rhode Island, in 1863. The original owner, Liam Gray, mixed his leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. This became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.