Got 5 minutes? Got these 5 ingredients? Then you've got what you need for this healthy chicken salad recipe! It's quick, easy, and perfect for a lunch for two.
What is Chicken Salad?
It's not complicated: a Chicken salad is any salad with chicken as the main ingredient. This kind of salad uses a binding ingredient like mayo, mustard, or a salad dressing to hold all of the ingredients together.
Other common ingredients include hard-boiled eggs, celery, peppers, onions, pickles, nuts, and grapes. Chicken salad is typically creamy, chunky, and a combination of sweet and savory flavors.
It is usually served chilled and with bread.
Healthy Chicken Salad
Depending on the ingredients you use and the quantity of them, chicken salad can be a healthy and nutritious lunch choice!
Chicken salad can get a bad rap because it's typically a super creamy egg and mayonnaise-based dish served on a croissant.
While the original recipe can provide protein, it often pairs with high levels of calories from fats and carbs (if served on a croissant).
Healthy chicken salad recipe
Let's not give up on chicken salad, however. There's still a way to have a creamy, crunchy, sweet, and savory lunch all in one! Let's keep the chicken, but add more vegetables, and less cream for a high-protein, low-calorie option.
This healthy chicken salad recipe is quick, easy, and the perfect healthy lunch idea. This recipe can be made ahead of time for your weekly meal prep, brought on a picnic, or right before you're ready for lunch.
Make sure it's chilled and serve it cold on a sandwich or with crackers and veggies.
What ingredients do I need?
Like most recipes I create, I like to keep the ingredient list short and sweet. I prioritize keeping things simple and easy.
For the salad:
- chicken - You'll need shredded chicken; either from a can or shredded from a breast. A canned option will likely be the easiest and most affordable.
- grapes - Red grapes, cut in half, add some sweetness to this recipe.
- red onion - Let's be real: the process of dicing onions is never fun, but having diced red onions in this recipe adds great flavor and crunch.
- spicy pickles - Spicy pickles are going to add a little kick and some saltiness to the chicken salad.
- almonds - Almonds will be a great source of crunch along with adding some healthy fats to the recipe.
For the dressing:
- plain greek yogurt - Plain greek yogurt will create a creamy texture that you'll want in a dressing. Using plain greek yogurt will give you more protein and less fat, than an option like sour cream, mayo, or cream cheese.
- honey - This will add some sweetness to the dressing. You'll want this if you use plain greek yogurt!
- lemon juice - Using lemon juice will add some acidity from the citrus, creating a balance of flavors in the dressing.
- salt - I suggest starting with less and then adding more until the dressing tastes the way you like.
Can I make substitutions to the recipe?
- chicken - I prefer canned chicken because it takes out the hassle of cooking and shredding my own chicken, but you could totally use non-canned chicken if that's what you have available and prefer.
- veggies - Add more or less of ingredients that you like or dislike. It's really hard to "mess up" and the proportions can be made to what you prefer.
- spicy pickles - These totally aren't a necessity; I just like them more than regular pickles, but those will work just fine.
- plain greek yogurt - You could use a lemon or honey greek yogurt instead of plain greek yogurt if that's what you have available. Other options would be to use a dairy-free yogurt, cream cheese, or sour cream.
- nuts - Leave off the almonds if you have a nut allergy. To add a similar nut-free texture, you could try sunflower or pumpkin seeds!
- quantities - This dressing for this recipe lightly coats the chicken salad, but you can adjust proportions to make it creamier.
What equipment do I need for this recipe?
You will only need two bowls to make this — one for the salad and a smaller one to mix the dressing. I absolutely love when recipes are easy to make and clean up, and this definitely is right up that alley.
How do I store it?
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. The great thing about chicken salad is that since it's served chilled, you won't need to heat anything up before you want to use it again!
Meal prep tip: Double or triple this recipe so you can have it throughout the week!
How do I eat chicken salad?
There are so many ways to eat chicken salad. The two most popular methods are to make it into a sandwich or use it as a dip.
To make a sandwich, try:
To use it as a dip, try:
- Pita chips
- Toasted bead
Looking for something similar?
Try my Healthy Broccoli Salad! It's another great option for a cold, easy, and healthy lunch.
The healthy chicken salad recipe
If you try this recipe and love it, please rate it and me know your thoughts! Get creative with the ingredients and what you serve it with. Try what you love and make this your own!
Healthy Chicken Salad
- small bowl
For the Salad:
- 10 oz canned chicken
- ½ cup grapes (halved)
- ¼ cup red onion (diced)
- ⅛ cup spicy pickles (diced)
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
For the Dressing:
- ⅓ cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- dash sea salt
- Add the canned chicken, grapes, red onion, spicy pickles, and almonds to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, add the greek yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.
- Pour the dressing over the salad into the large mixing bowl.
- Stir until the dressing has coated all the ingredients.