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Easy Picnic Food Ideas

Brazilian Chicken Salad (Salpicão de Frango)

Brazilian-style chicken salad over lettuce and topped with potato sticks

Brazilians love their mayonnaise, and it features heavily in a variety of dishes and dips. In the summer, salads made using mayo are an especial favorite at barbecues, potlucks, and picnics. They are cooling, but satisfying, and can be made well ahead of time. 

This chicken salad recipe is similar to American versions, but with a few classic Brazilian twists. Corn, shredded carrots, and raisins add sweetness and crunch, and green olives lend a tangy, earthy flavor. And, of course, we top it off with batata palha, the crispy potato sticks Brazilians adore and put on everything from hot dogs to rice. 

If you don’t have the potato sticks, you can get a similar effect by crumbling some ridged potato chips on top. The effect is crunchy, salty, and delicious. 

What is Salpicão in English?

The word salpicao is a Portuguese derivative of the Spanish word salpicon. A salpicon in Spain refers to any number of salad-like dishes combining meat, vegetables, and dressing. It translates most closely in English to a “medley.” 

A similar dish in the UK is referred to as “salmagundi,” a word that is also used in general to describe a medley or hodgepodge of things. 

Healthy Chicken Salad Options

Mayonnaise-based salads are not at the top of the list for diet friendly meals, but you can make a few simple tweaks to this recipe for a chicken salad that is actually quite healthy. For example, you can skip the potato sticks topping all together if you are looking for a healthier version. 

Another way to cut calories in chicken salad is to substitute half of the mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt. (You can replace the mayo entirely with yogurt, but the dressing will not be as creamy.) 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise has a whopping 90 calories. By comparison, 1 tablespoon of nonfat Greek yogurt has about 10 calories, much less fat, and a considerable amount of protein. 

In addition, if you are planning to use your salpicao as a sandwich filling, you can use lettuce cups in place of bread. 

How to Make Brazilian Chicken Salad (Salpicao de Frango)

Makes about 8 servings


For the Salad:
4  boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
Half of one medium yellow onion, diced (about ¼ cup)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup sweet corn
½ cup raisins, brown or golden
¼ cup diced green onion
½ cup whole green olives
Brazilian potato sticks or crushed potato chips

For the Dressing:
½ cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil saute your chopped yellow onions until softened (2 minutes or so). Add in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in with the cooked garlic and onions. Cover with just enough water to fully submerge. 
  3. Add in 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook until chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 minutes). 
  5. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and shred it on a plate using two forks. Discard the water in your stock pot. 
  6. While the chicken cools, prepare your dressing. Add mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons olive oil, dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar to a large bowl and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. When chicken has cooled to room temperature, add it to the bowl with the dressing. Combine with your carrots, yellow corn, raisins, olives, and green onions and mix until all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing. 
  8. Top with the batata palha or crushed potato chips.

Pair your chicken salad with a refreshing class of Brazilian lemonade and you have a simple but delicious summer meal. Enjoy!

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