Chicken-Grape Salad & Gruyere Panini

by on August 1, 2008

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Like that of many other time-strapped folks, my current weeknight dinner strategy is to cook just a few times a week and repurpose the leftovers in between.  I was on Day 3 of my five pounds of Chicken Marbella (which is amazing, by the way – I highly recommend Elise’s recipe!) today when I decided it was time to turn this one into chicken salad and call it a day.  I remembered receiving an On Your Grill submission for “chicken salad melt” type panini, and when I looked back in my e-mail, sure enough, there was the idea from Arlene of The Food of Love.  Arlene described a sweet and savory chicken salad with dried cranberries and sliced almonds, grilled with cheddar and bacon.  “This one is addictive!” she wrote, and I can understand why!

While I didn’t have all of Arlene’s exact ingredients on hand, I loved the idea of grilling up a chicken salad panino.  I still have her recipe flagged to try soon, but on this hectic day I worked with what was in my refrigerator and pantry: leftover Chicken Marbella thighs, grapes, mayonnaise, chopped walnuts, Gruyère cheese from the block I bought for last weekend’s panini and dark rye bread.  I loved it!  The warm chicken salad, with its bursts of sweetness from the grapes (I got the grapes idea from Sharon at Culinary Adventures of a New Wife!) and subtle crunch from the walnuts, was so good under the melted cheese.  Move over tuna melts – chicken melts are here to stay!

As for passing along an appreciation of chicken to my baby daughter – well, it’s off to a bit of a slow start.  She likes the jarred organic “chicken dinner” combinations that contain sweet stuff like apricots and pears and just enough chicken purée to get the requisite 2g of protein on the nutrition label.  But I read somewhere that I should give her straight chicken so she’ll get more protein, ounce for ounce.  So I poached some chicken in the microwave (no seasoning – eek!), puréed it in the food processor and gave it a try.  Yeah, it was as nasty as you think – not unlike wood pulp.

So I mixed in some sweet potatoes in hopes that would help the situation.  It was a little better.  Not great, but baby food is usually at least a little bit gross, right?  So I fed it to the baby.  Heh heh.  The expression on  my normally sweet, happy, smiley little girl’s face quickly turned puzzled…and then disturbed.  She uttered something like a growl!!  Then her mouth opened and her little tongue pushed out the offending yellow mushy stuff.

So we’re back on the jarred, organic chicken-tinged apricots for now!

Chicken-Grape Salad & Gruyère Panini

(Note: The quantity of each ingredient in the chicken salad is completely up to your personal taste.)

Chicken, cooked and shredded
Grapes, halved
Walnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper
Gruyère cheese, shaved or sliced
Dark rye bread


Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat (375 degrees).

In a small bowl, combine chicken, grapes, walnuts, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

For each sandwich: Spread about 1 cup of chicken salad onto a slice of bread.  Add cheese and top with another slice of bread.  Grill about 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is crispy, with grill marks.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

>Ready to buy a panini press? Check out my Panini Press Buying Guide for the features to look for.

>Want more panini recipes? See my Recipe Index for a list of all recipes on Panini Happy.

>Traveling to a new city soon? Browse Panini Happy’s Great American Sandwich Guide to find the best sandwiches across the country!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) August 2, 2008 at 4:25 am

Love chicken and grapes, and would never thought of using leftover Chicken Marbella in a panini. Actually, come to think of it, our Chicken Marbella leftovers don’t last long!


2 Lo! August 2, 2008 at 5:00 am

I am a sucker for chicken salad with grapes… so this looks perfect.


3 HoneyB August 2, 2008 at 9:20 am

Another great one Kathy!


4 Natasha August 2, 2008 at 11:24 am

Never tried grapes in a chicken salad, but it sounds great! After the grilled peach success, this might be the next one of your ideas I try!


5 Arlene August 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm

How funny! I just posted another chicken salad recipe today–this one has grapes and toasted pecans. I’ll bet your panini was delicious, too!


6 noble pig August 2, 2008 at 8:56 pm

It’s like crepes Veronique except with bread! I love it.


7 grace August 3, 2008 at 12:45 am

to me, chicken salad without grapes isn’t chicken salad at all. there must be grapes! 🙂
great sammich, as usual.


8 Dragon August 3, 2008 at 9:13 am

A great use of leftovers. Gruyere cheese is one of my favourties. Yum!


9 Jude August 3, 2008 at 9:30 am

Sounds great. I don’t have a press but I’m sure I’ll manage with 2 screaming hot cast iron pans.


10 Kevin August 3, 2008 at 11:19 am

That is one tasty looking sandwich!


11 Jenny August 3, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Mmmm, what a great looking sandwich! Love chicken salad with grapes.


12 Katie B. August 5, 2008 at 7:17 am

Yum – sounds lovely!! I can’t remember the last time I had actual grapes in my chicken salad (as I don’t often make it at home), but it is certainly a fond memory of my childhood! 🙂


13 sharon August 5, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Glad the grapes worked out! I’ve never had a chicken salad panini but I’d imagine it’d be absolutely delicious.


14 dak0 March 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

First time I see a combination of chicken and grape, but I definitely got to try it.
Thanks for sharing.

I’m also a Elise fan.
dak0´s last blog post ..Przepis na kurczaka piri piri – dieta dukana


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