Venezuelan Chicken Salad: Ensalada de Gallina + VIDEO

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I promise you, after you try this ensalada de gallina (aka Venezuelan chicken salad), you will never ever make another recipe. This is modesty aside, the perfect Venezuelan chicken salad recipe. Trust me.

Venezuelan Chicken Salad

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Ensalada de gallina means hen salad because the original recipe calls for hen meat. However, I make it with chicken breast. With that said, I must confess I was never a poultry person, so I was never into this salad. I liked ensaladilla rusa, instead. The same salad that is so popular in Spain.

potatoes for the Venezuelan ensalada de gallina

A Family Recipe

That is why, when my son Tomás Eugenio’s godmother, who was visiting Miami, told me that she was going to prepare it (with the recipe of Elsy, her mom, to be precise), I said to myself: I have to do this! So I let go of everything I was doing, grabbed my apron, and went to help her.

carrots and green peas to make ensalada de gallina

Christmas Chicken Salad

In Venezuela, this chicken salad is synonymous with Christmas and New Year’s celebration, when it is served as a side of a roasted pork leg, the superb hallacas, and of course with a couple of slices of the so delicious pan de jamón.

But also, this chicken salad is present in any important celebration including christenings, communions, and weddings. That is to say: in Venezuela, this is the holiday salad.

How to Make Venezuelan Chicken Salad

onion chopped in brunoise to make Venezuelan Christmas salad

Besides chicken breasts, this salad has steamed al dente diced potatoes and carrots, and also steamed green peas. Since I learned to make it the way my comadre does, I steam the veggies instead of boiling them.

scannone's Venezuelan ensalada de gallina

The dressing for this salad is made of mayonnaise. Elsy’s secret is blending the mayo with a little bit of fresh garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard. Then onion, finely chopped in brunoise, is added.

shredded chicken to make Venezuelan Christmas chicken salad

Elsy also adds finely diced green apples. For me, the firm, crunchy Granny Smith apples are the ingredient that gives this salad the so needed crunchy texture and a freshness that otherwise it would not have.

diced green apples are part of the Venezuelan ensalada de gallina navideña

I cook the chicken in water with carrot pieces, the green part of a leek, and a bay leaf. The resulting broth can be used for another purpose. If you don’t have anything in mind to use it, you freeze it for later.

Venezuelan Chicken Salad, aka ensalada de gallina, ready to be eaten

Once cooked, and at room temperature, I shred the chicken with my fingers. Keep reading because there is a trick you don’t want to miss.

Traditional Venezuelan Chicken Salad, ready to eat

Venezuelan Ensalada de Gallina Recipe

When I do big, huge batches, in December, for example, when my clients order this salad along with my hallacas, pan de jamón, Christmas rum cake, and ponche crema, I don’t shred the chicken manually.

To make this recipe you’ll need some utensils and ingredients, including:

Tips to Make the Best Venezuelan Chicken Salad

Although I first shared this recipe in Spanish in December 2014, in the years that I have been making it, I have learned a few tricks that I list below:

  • To save time, you can peel, cut, and cook the vegetables the day before and add the shredded chicken and the dressing the day you eat the salad.
  • Cut the onion as finely as you can (in brunoise) and add it to the dressing.
  • If you don’t like to have apples in this salad, you can skip it, but my advice is that you try it. Definitely, green apple brings a crunchy texture and lots of freshness to this salad.
  • Go for fresh frozen peas: they taste batter than canned peas.
  • If you are one of those who don’t like garlic, you can skip it, and that’s perfectly ok. In fact, when I make this salad for sale, I don’t add garlic to the dressing. If you watch the video, you will notice there is no garlic there.
  • If you choose to follow Elsy’s recipe, cut the garlic cloves in two lengthwise, and remove the vein, to avoid repeating the flavor after eating.
  • Always use Dijon mustard.
  • If you can’t eat sugar, substitute monk fruit in equal amounts.
  • You may need to add a pinch of salt to the dressing.
  • This salad lasts fresh in the refrigerator for up to two days, no longer. That’s why when I make it on demand, I always prepare it the same day it is delivered.

Without further ado, the following is Elsy’s recipe. I hope you like it as much as my family and friends. Thanks for subscribing to my YouTube channel and visiting my Amazon shop.

4.89 from 27 votes

Venezuelan Chicken Salad (Ensalada de gallina)

A must in the Venezuelan Christmas and New Years' tables, this chicken salad is also served at weddings, christenings, and communions. Once you make this recipe, you will forget about the rest: this is heaven on earth.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 12
Calories: 373kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups carrots diced
  • 2 cups fresh peas you can use canned, but I prefer frozen ones. Reserve 1/4 cup for garnish.
  • 2 tablespoons onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups green apple peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken breasts cooked and finely shredded (about 2 chicken breasts)
  • Salt
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 garlic clove puréed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • In a steamer, cook the potatoes with a pinch of salt until they are soft but firm. Reserve.
  • In the same pot, steam the carrots with a pinch of salt until they are cooked but firm. Reserve.
  • In the same pot, cook frozen peas with a pinch of salt until they are soft but firm. Reserve.
  • Mix the potatoes, carrots, peas, onion, apples, and chicken in a large salad bowl, and carefully combine.
  • In a bowl, make the dressing by mixing well the mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and garlic, until it gets a creamy consistency.
  • Dress the salad and combine. Garnish with the reserved peas.

Video

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Venezuelan Chicken Salad (Ensalada de gallina)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 373 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 17g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 354mg15%
Potassium 471mg13%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 3804IU76%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Salads, Side Dish
Cuisine: Venezuelan
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: how to make Venezuelan chicken salad, how to make Venezuelan Christmas salad, how to make Venezuelan ensalada de gallina, Venezuelan chicken salad recipe, Venezuelan Christmas salad recipe, Venezuelan ensalada de gallina recipe
Author: Elsy Marcano de Mata

Not-to-be-missed: my Waldorf Salad.

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