Bursting with fresh basil, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese, these Basil Chicken Salad Sandwiches taste like summer!
Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. My birthday is on the 2nd, so as a little girl I liked to pretend all the celebrations, cook outs, fireworks, and sparklers were just for me. Columbus hosts a pretty impressive fireworks display each year called Red, White, and Boom, and it’s one of my favorite events. Families from all over the city and state trek downtown early in the morning to stake out the best spot. Blankets are spread out, makeshift tents go up, and folks settle into their lawn chairs for a long day out in the sun.
There are a few things that are absolutely necessary for having a successful fireworks experience. If you don’t look like a pack mule heading to your viewing spot, you’re most likely not doing it right. The aforementioned blanket, comfy chairs, and shade are obviously necessities. Sunscreen will also serve you well. No one wants to spend the Fourth looking like the red stripe on the American flag. Next on the list, water. Trust me, you don’t want to spend $8 for a bottle of water downtown, or be that crazy person who’s telling your kids they can only drink 2 sips of water per hour.
Finally, food. This may be the most important item on the list. You’ve got to think of this day as one long, 16 hour picnic. Plenty of snacks and cold beverages will help stave off crankiness. When the troops get really antsy, I recommend pulling out these Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. (Bonus: they won’t melt in the sun!). And for lunch, these Parmesan Basil Chicken Salad Sandwiches will make everyone happy.
I love packing these sandwiches on picnics. They’re a great twist on traditional chicken salad. Bursting with fresh torn basil, lemon juice, and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, these sandwiches taste like summertime. This chicken salad recipe is really simple, so the quality of your ingredients is important. Look for bright green basil leaves that smell sweet and not spicy. And be sure to look for the pinholes on your cheese to make sure you’re getting real Parmigiano Reggiano, with no additives or preservatives. The nutty, savory flavor of the Parmesan really makes these sandwiches something special!
I love to serve this on sliced ciabatta bread, but it’s also good on a hearty wheat bread or croissants. If you’re packing these for a picnic, I recommend storing each sandwich in a plastic bag wrapped in foil and placing them in a cooler filled with ice to make sure they stay safe until you’re ready to eat them. So grab your blanket (and chairs and umbrella and water bottles and bags of snacks and dignity), and claim the best spot in town. Just be sure to pack the sandwiches. No one likes the guy who forgot the sandwiches.
- 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped (Grilled chicken breast or rotisserie chicken works great)
- 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
- ⅔ cup shredded Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- Fresh leaf lettuce, for serving
- Wheat bread, croissants, or ciabatta bread for serving
- Place the chicken in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk together the mayonnaise, Parmesan, basil, and lemon juice. Add this mixture to the chicken along with the sliced celery. Stir until well combined. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Serve the sandwiches on the bread of your choice with fresh leaf lettuce and tomatoes, if desired.
This post is sponsored by the lovely people at Parmesan.com. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who keep this blog afloat!