Ham salad just like mom made…with a few improvements to make this classic salad even better. Eat it in a sandwich, on crackers, or by the spoonful, it’s good!
the ham salad you remember (maybe it’s even just a little bit better?)
- the ham: I use a smoked ham…you can find it in the packaged meat section of your grocery store. Sometimes it will come sliced, but it doesn’t matter for this recipe. A smoked ham adds an extra layer of flavor to this salad.
- the mayo: sure, you could just add a big kollop of Miracle Whip to your salad, that’s what my mom did. But I’m going up a notch with actual mayonnaise, lol, and a nice glug of creamy Dijon mustard. Mix the two together and you’ve got a much better dressing for this salad.
- the relish: mom added sweet relish. As kids we loved the extra sweetness but I’m going one better with finely minced gherkins. And add in a few of the little cocktail onions that come in the jar, that’s how we’re rolling.
- the bread: ok, I cop to it, I’m using the same sliced white bread mom did. There are some things you just can’t improve on 😉
Mom had a meat grinder, and for the longest time I assumed I couldn’t make ham salad because I didn’t. But guess what? A food processor works just as good, if not better for turning chunks of ham into a fluffy salad. Who knew?
how to grind ham in a food processor
- Chop your ham into chunks. This helps the food processor grind the meat evenly.
- You’re going to use the pulse button, and you want to give it about 50 short pulses, give or take, until the ham is fluffy and evenly chopped.
how to serve ham salad
Most of the time you’re going to want to make sandwiches, and my only tip is to spread a thin layer of the mayo/Dijon mixture on your slices of bread first. It’ll bond the sandwich together and also helps keep it moist.
You can add lettuce, tomato, or a thin slice of red onion if you like, but it’s also really good on its own.
For tea sandwiches use thinly sliced white bread and cut off the crusts before slicing in triangles or rectangles.
Ham salad also makes an easy appetizer, just serve with buttery crackers like Ritz.
For the carb-averse, use it to fill ribs of celery or endive leaves.
more sandwich inspo
- Smoked Salmon Salad
- Curried Chickpea Salad (vegan or not!)
- Great Island Curried Chicken Salad
- Sheet Pan Tuna Melts
- Perfect Patty Melts
Mom’s Ham Salad
- food processor
- 1 lb smoked ham, cut in rough chunks
- 1/3 cup relish or finely minced cornichons (you can process the pickles with the ham if you like.)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tsp creamy Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Put the ham into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Give the machine 50-60 short pulses, until the ham is evenly ground and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary to make sure everything gets evenly minced.
- Transfer the ham to a bowl along with the relish or minced cornichons.
- Mix the mayo, mustard, and salt until smooth. Taste it to see if it needs any adjustments. Toss the salad with the dressing until well combined.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.