Shallot-Cranberry Chicken Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise

[My brother-in-law is going to love this post. He is an enthusiastic mayonnaise hater. Sorry man.]

I went through a phase of disliking mayonnaise because I thought it was bad for me. Turns out, it is, if it's made with rancid vegetable oils and all sorts of other chemicals (which it always is, even if it's labeled "organic" or "with olive oil").

But I have to admit, mayonnaise does something that no other substance can do. Those years of substituting plain yogurt for the mayo in my tuna salad were a dark time, though I tried to deny it. I'm so glad that's over!

Now I'm at a new place with this yellowish creamy stuff: I know that if I make it myself with pastured egg yolks and olive oil it will be nourishing and delicious, but I can't always do that. So, I sometimes buy organic (sadly, still with soybean oil) Trader Joe's mayo, but my goal is to make my own.

Making your own mayonnaise sounds daunting and complicated. Like it's going to take a LOT of time. But every time I do it I think, "Wow, that was easier than I thought it would be!"

If you are thinking, "Doesn't homemade mayonnaise contain raw eggs? I'm not eating raw eggs!" then I recommend reading this post at Kelly the Kitchen Kop to calm your nerves. It DOES matter where you get your eggs and how they are raised. You can read more about that, and why eggs are a superfood, here.

I used this recipe, but I substituted gently melted coconut oil for 1/3 of the
olive oil, in hopes that it would not have TOO strong of an olive oil flavor. The hardest part is pouring the oil in slowly, but the whole process still took less than five minutes. So if you have five minutes, you can do this! It is important to have all your ingredients at room temperature. I think that is part of what has kept me from doing this in the past - forgetting to take the eggs out of the fridge ahead of time. But yesterday I remembered, and this mayo turned out great!

This sounds silly, but I'm always amazed that it
actually looks like mayonnaise when you're done. See? Thick and delicious.

I will admit, it has a pretty strong flavor on its own. But in this chicken salad, it works perfectly. We also love it in tuna salad, egg salad, and potato salad.

Here are some tips for success when it comes to making your own mayo:
1. plan ahead! take your eggs out of the fridge an hour or so before making.
2. pour slowly, but don't stress out about it.
3. turn your food processor or blender to LOW as you pour to avoid excessive splashing.
4. wear an apron!
5. don't plan to use it right away. that way you can ferment it (like Wardeh recommends). Also, if it's a little runny, you can refrigerate (with or without fermenting first) to firm it up a bit.
6. tell your husband that, yes, the mayo is supposed to be sitting out on the counter, or he may, like mine, think he's doing us a favor by putting it in the fridge. :)

Now put that mayo to good use in this delectable chicken salad. Again, this is more of a basic method than a recipe. Eyeball it, substitute what you have on hand, and have fun!

Shallot Cranberry Chicken Salad

leftover cooked chicken from roast chicken or chicken stock
a few stalks chopped celery
1-2 finely chopped shallots
a few dollops homemade mayonnaise
a few squirts dijon mustard
a spoonful of homemade jam (I used blueberry-orange)
a handful of dried cranberries
a sprinkle of dried coconut
a handful of sunflower seeds
seasonings: sea salt, freshly ground pepper, basil, tarragon

mix it all together. taste. adjust. eat on bread, in a pita, on crackers, or, like I did, over a bed of greens drizzled with olive oil. wait for your husband or roommate or kids to say "wow, this is amazing!" Unless they hate mayonnaise like someone I know. ;)

This post is part of Tuesday Twister at Gnowfglins and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.


  1. That was a very enjoyable post! One of these days we'll get Jacob to try this mayo....

  2. This looks and sounds very good.....I always sub yogurt for mayo but will try making my own now! And really, chicken and cranberries just seem made for each other in a salad.

  3. Homemade mayo is also great on fries, a la Belgian frites!