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Chicken Salad (Healthier)
Not your typical salad recipe, this chicken salad is a lettuce-less dish made with a base of diced or shredded chicken and tossed with a creamy mayo-based dressing. Typically, it is served as a dip with crackers or sliced veggies or stuffed in between slices of bread for an easy sandwich. For our version, we took the traditional recipe and bulked it up for a healthy make-ahead meal perfect for picnics, potlucks, and more.
What You’ll Love about This Healthier Chicken Salad
- From start to finish, it can be made in less than 20 minutes.
- Leftovers keep well for quick lunches all week long, if your family doesn’t devour it all at once.
- It’s loaded with veggies that pack in vitamins, nutrients, and fiber to keep you full.
- You can easily customize it with add-ins like chopped nuts, diced apples, or whatever your heart desires.
- The bright lemon flavor makes this meal extra refreshing and perfect for summer.
- High-protein, creamy, and loaded with texture, even the pickiest of eaters will ask for seconds.
Why This Chicken Salad Is Healthier
Although delicious, chicken salad isn’t always the healthiest recipe you can make…until now! Here’s why you can feel good about eating this dish:
- Cooked chicken breast provides an excellent source of high-quality protein with very little fat.
- Not found in most recipes, a variety of veggies boost the nutrient profile while also adding a lovely crunch.
- You won’t find any dried fruit, meaning our recipe contains less sugar than standard versions.
- Fresh herbs add tons of flavor and extra antioxidants.
- Part of the mayonnaise is replaced with yogurt for even more protein and less saturated fat.
Chicken Salad Commonly Asked Questions
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Yes, chicken thighs are a great alternative to chicken breasts, as they have great flavor and tend to be very forgiving when over cooked.
We love to serve this recipe with crackers, stuffed in a sandwich, layered on a lettuce wrap, or spooned over leafy greens for a salad.
You can, but you will lose some of the rich taste and supremely creamy texture.
We don’t recommend using canned chicken, but if you’re in a pinch, you can use the same amount of canned chicken as you would freshly cooked chicken, with a 1:1 ratio. Canned chicken tends to be high in sodium and tends to fall apart easily, so you’ll want to omit table salt and fold it in very gently.
More to Cook and Eat
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad – we adore this simple chicken dish for a healthy meal that’s ready in minutes and doesn’t skimp on flavor.
- Chinese Chicken Salad – this restaurant-inspired salad has all the tastes you love and is ready in minutes from the comfort of your own kitchen.
- 15-Minute Healthy Guacamole Chicken Salad – quick and healthy, this meal requires just 3 ingredients; a winning appetizer or lunch.
- 20-Minute Mexican Style Chicken Salad – bursting with warm spices, make-ahead recipes just don’t get better than this.
- Curried Chicken or Turkey Salad – the easiest way to jazz up leftovers, this is one recipe you’ll look forward to eating.
Also Try Homemade Chicken Shawarma
Lemon Chicken Salad & Sandwich
This Lemon Chicken Salad & Sandwich is both light and satisfying. It’s studded with outstanding flavors and texture. Perfect for summer picnics, potlucks, and lunches!
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
- Total Time: 11-13 minutes
Yield: 6 1x
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (alternatively, rotisserie chicken works really well)
- 4 stalks finely chopped celery
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp dill, fresh or dried
- 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup whole mayonnaise, plus more for spreading
- 1/3 cup whole plain yogurt (Greek is fine)
- 1/2 tsp table salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the Chicken: If using uncooked chicken breasts, cook chicken in well-salted boiling water just until cooked through and center is no longer pink, 8-10 minutes depending on thickness. Cool and dice chicken. Otherwise, dice about 2/3 of the meat from a rotisserie chicken. Set aside.
- Combine: In a bowl, stir together the celery, red bell pepper, red onion, parsley, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, mayo, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Add in the diced/cooked chicken and stir gently until well combined.
- Spread and Serve: If making sandwiches, spread mayo on desired amount of bread slices, top with chicken salad, and layer on lettuce or spinach if desired. Cover with second slice of bread. Serve whole or cut into halves or fourths for tea-size sandwiches.
Leftovers can be wrapped airtight and chilled for several days.
*If you enjoyed this dish, please come back and give it a rating 🙂
- Category: main, lunch, dinner
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: chicken, chicken recipe, healthy chicken recipe, picnic, summer recipes, meal prep
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