Overhead View of Part of Bowl of Chicken Salad Next To Croissants.

Simple Chicken Salad Recipe – A Healthy And Delicious Meal

This simple chicken salad recipe is refreshing and easy to make. Each bite beautifully combines the plump chicken with sweetness from the grapes and craisins, crunch from the celery and pecans and tang from the Greek yogurt. And since it utilizes leftover chicken, you can throw together this chicken salad anytime you want something fresh, nutritious and delicious.  

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What I Love About This Simple Chicken Salad Recipe

Chicken salad is a food staple found in restaurants and grocery stores across the country. And for good reason – it’s delicious. However, not all chicken salads are created equal. 

I’ve eaten my fair share of chicken salads that are bland beyond belief or only taste like mayonnaise. I’ve had just as many that are nothing but mush without any texture or crunch. Simply put, they were just boring and blah. 

You won’t find any of those disappointing descriptions here. 

This simple chicken salad recipe boasts a balance of sweet and savory utilizing fresh fruits and veggies. Texture abounds with plenty of crunch from the green apples, pecans and celery and just the right amount of chew from the dried cranberries. It packs a punch of flavor with every bite that will make you wonder why you ever wasted your time on mediocre chicken salad. 

Simple Chicken Salad Recipe Pin

Chicken Salad Is A Quick And Easy Meal

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have about a million things to do on any given day. So it’s increasingly important that we have as many quick and easy meal options as possible in our recipe boxes (or Pinterest boards!). 

This simple chicken salad recipe fits just such a bill. 

The only thing that requires any sort of cooking is the chicken which you can cook in any number of ways – poach, bake, grill. 

I make things even simpler still by utilizing leftover chicken for this recipe. 

Oftentimes, when I make chicken, I make more than I need for any given meal to utilize in another dish. I especially love this technique when roasting chicken. It doesn’t take much more effort to roast two chickens versus one. So the little extra effort I put in today, saves me a ton of effort in the future! And leftover chicken is perfect for this simple chicken salad recipe. 

I also frequently use leftover chicken in my Homemade Chicken and Dumplings.

Because there is minimal cooking required, this dish is perfect for summer when you want to avoid heating up your kitchen any more than necessary.

Want Even More Quick And Easy Recipes?

Overhead Shot of Ingredients for Chicken Salad Recipe On Cutting Board Next To Towel

Ingredients In This Simple Chicken Salad Recipe

The beauty of this simple chicken salad recipe is how all of the ingredients work together to create something truly spectacular and well-balanced. Here’s what you’ll find in my basic chicken salad:

  • Chicken – I generally use leftover chicken from a previous meal. Chicken breast is the traditional protein, but I don’t hesitate to mix white and dark meat for my chicken salad. I’ve even been known to use canned chicken in a pinch. 
  • Greek yogurt – While chicken salad is traditionally made with mayonnaise, I prefer to use Greek yogurt. It’s a little healthier than mayonnaise and also adds additional protein. 
  • Grapes – I use red grapes because that is what I keep on hand. I also like the pop of color it gives this dish. You can use any grape, but I would stick with seedless grapes. 
  • Apple – I use green apple because it adds some tartness. Any apple would work for this recipe. 
  • Celery – Celery is a common addition to chicken salad. I like the crunch that it adds. 
  • Carrots – I love the additional color the carrots add. I grate my carrots so that they’re easier to eat in this dish. 
  • Dried cranberries – I’m not going to lie, I think the dried cranberries make this dish. They have just enough tartness and sweetness to help balance the other flavors, and I like the little bit of chew factor they add. 
  • Pecans – Pecans add a pleasant nuttiness to this simple chicken salad recipe. The benefits of the healthy monosaturated fats from pecans don’t hurt either 😉
Close Up of Chicken Salad Recipe On Croissant With Glass Bowl and Croissants In Background.

Method

With a chef’s knife, chop your fully cooked chicken. 

Dice the celery and apple. 

Halve the grapes.

Using a box grater, grate the carrots. 

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and combine thoroughly. 

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

It’s as simple as that!

Overhead View of Completed Chicken Salad Recipe in Glass Bowl Next to Croissants.

Different Ways To Serve Chicken Salad

This simple chicken salad recipe is versatile enough to enjoy in many different ways. 

  • Croissant sandwich – This is my favorite way to eat chicken salad! I love how well the buttery, flaky croissants pair with this simple chicken salad. To me, it creates the ultimate chicken salad sandwich.
  • Classic sandwich – Chicken salad sandwiches can be made with any bread you prefer or have on hand. You can even add some lettuce and dijon mustard to really make your sandwich sing. 
  • Lettuce wrap – Keep it refreshing and low-carb by serving your chicken salad on lettuce wraps. 
  • Pita pocket – Pita pockets are the perfect vehicle for chicken salad. Especially if you’re enjoying on the go!
  • Tortilla wrap – Create a nourishing wrap by rolling some of this simple chicken salad into a tortilla shell. 
  • Salad – Add some of this prepared chicken salad to a bowl of lettuce or spinach for a nutritious and filling lunch. 
  • Straight from a bowl – Chicken salad is packed full of so much goodness that it’s delicious all on its own! Just bust out a fork or enjoy with some crackers when you need a quick snack or a light meal. 
Overhead View Of Ingredients For Chicken Salad In Glass Bowl On Tea Towels and Wooden Spoon.

Variations For This Simple Chicken Salad

I’ve presented my favorite, tried-and-true version of this chicken salad recipe. However, I’ve tried a lot of different variations with equally yummy results. Don’t be afraid to sub for your favorite fruits and veggies or whatever you have on hand!

  • Fruit – Strawberries and mandarin orange slices are delightful in chicken salad! Make sure to thoroughly drain the oranges so it doesn’t make the salad too soggy. 
  • Veggies – Try adding finely diced red onions or scallions for an extra punch of flavor. Bell peppers are also a tasty option. 
  • Nuts – Instead of pecans, try toasted almonds, pistachios or walnuts. Or skip the nuts altogether if that’s not your jam or you have a nut allergy to consider. 
  • Dried fruit – I am a big fan of dried cranberries so I always keep some handy in my pantry. But I think dried blueberries are equally delicious in this chicken salad. Raisins or even chopped dates would be great additions to consider as well. 
  • Mayo – While I use Greek yogurt in my chicken salad, you can certainly sub mayo and achieve similar results. Or try using equal parts mayo and Greek yogurt. I’ve made this chicken salad using all of these variations, and I don’t notice a big difference in flavor amongst the different versions. 
Overhead Shot of Half of a Glass Bowl With Chicken Salad Recipe In It Next To a Cutting Board of Croissants.
Overhead View of Part of Bowl of Chicken Salad Next To Croissants.

Simple Chicken Salad with Grapes and Dried Cranberries

This simple chicken salad recipe is refreshing and easy to make. It boasts flavor in every bite with sweet grapes, chewy dried cranberries, crunchy apples and tangy Greek yogurt. And since this recipe utilizes leftover chicken, you can throw this recipe together anytime you want something fresh, nutritious and delicious.
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 245 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups fully cooked chicken
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup green apple, peeled
  • ½ cup carrot
  • ½ cup celery
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Chop your fully cooked chicken.
  • Dice the celery and apple.
  • Halve the grapes.
  • Grate the carrots.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and combine thoroughly.
  • Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Keyword Chicken Recipe, Chicken Salad, Easy Recipe, Healthy Recipe

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Chunte
2 months ago

This is such a good recipe for summer and meal prep. I really enjoy a sweet/savory combo along with the crunch.

Christine
2 months ago

4 stars
Looks tasty, Heather. Chicken Salad is one of my go-to’s during the summer months. I like it for two reasons. First, I get to use leftover chicken and secondly, I don’t have to heat up the kitchen as you mentioned in your post. Plus you’ve got veggies, nuts and fruit for flavour. I will definitely give this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.

W. Santiago | Literal Med

This simple chicken salad looks delicious and the best thing is that it is healthy and super fast to prepare. Thanks!