“Five Easy Pieces” Chicken Salad

What I’m about to share with you is very difficult… I don’t know if you have heard about it, and I hate to be the one to tell you.  Just remember, no matter what, we can get through this together.

Guys… it’s rumored that Jack Nicholson is retired from acting.  I know, I know. I’m just as upset as you are. From the Joker in Tim Burton’s “Batman” to Jack Torrance in “The Shining,” Nicholson has been a major player in film for years and the thought of never seeing him take on a new role breaks my heart.

Five Easy PiecesWith that in mind, I decided to dedicate this “Lights, Camera, Eat!” post to one of his earlier films: “Five Easy Pieces.”  Nicholson plays Robert Dupea, a man who gave up a promising career as a concert pianist and now works in an oil rig.  Neither older generation nor hippie, Bobby fits in nowhere, and his desire for independence conflicts with his emotional emptiness. Five Easy Pieces was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and established Nicholson as a star.

I first saw this film in my 1970s Hollywood course at SMU my senior year (yes, that was the class title and yes, it was the most bad ass class ever). Since then, I’ve seen the film a few more times because there’s something about it that always brings me back. Maybe it’s an attempt to understand the ending of the film, or even to understand Nicholson’s character, I don’t know. But every time I watch it, this scene stands out in particular:

I dare you to tell me that Nicholson’s performance in that scene alone isn’t outstanding. Anyways! I’m not going to give you a recipe for an omelet and toast, but I did find a killer recipe for chicken salad that I’m sure you’ll love!

Chicken and Avocado Salad with Cilantro and Lime: Makes 4 Servings (Note: serve this right away!  It’ll survive one night in the fridge… but only one!)


  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded into large pieces (laziness won, I bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store…)
  • 2 medium avocados, diced
  • 1 T + 1 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Salt, to taste (I didn’t use too much salt because you can always add more at the table.)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 T mayo or light mayo


  • Shred the chicken apart until you have 2 cups of chicken shredded into fairly large chunks.
  • Dice the avocados into medium-sized pieces, mix with 1 T of the lime juice, and season avocado with salt to taste.  Thinly slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro.
  • Mix mayo and 1 T lime juice to make the dressing.
  • Put the chicken into a bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients.
  • Add the sliced green onions and dressing and toss until all the chicken is coated with dressing.
  • Add the avocado and any lime juice in the bottom of the bowl and gently combine with the chicken.
  • Then add the chopped cilantro and gently mix into the salad, just until it is barely combined.
  • Serve right away or chill for a while before serving.  This could be served inside pita bread or sandwich bread, or inside crisp lettuce cups, but eaten as a salad.

Bet you didn’t think Jack Nicholson had anything to do with chicken salad, huh? Well, now you have a great recipe and a great film to check out in the future! And a special shout out to my undergrad film professor Dr. Worland: I hope I made you proud. Happy eating everyone.

3 thoughts on ““Five Easy Pieces” Chicken Salad

  1. Pingback: Seafood Avocado Salad | Eating My Feelings

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