Try a healthy chicken salad that's perfect for a light and easy lunch. This healthy chicken salad is made with a delicious Greek yogurt dressing.
I love having light salads for lunch because they're so simple and easy to make. Some of my favorite lunch salads are Mediterranean tuna salad, Greek salmon salad and coucous salad. This chicken salad recipe made with walnuts and dill is another good lunch recipe because it's quite flavorful and fresh.
This post is sponsored by California Walnuts. All opinions are mine.
Why this recipe works
This light chicken salad is the perfect option for a healthy and quick lunch. Iyt's made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and is packed with fresh flavors. The addition of walnuts makes this a perfect lunch since walnuts are packed with nutrients and also add crunch to the salad.
I love this no mayo chicken salad because"
- It takes only a few minutes to prepare (you can even take a shortcut).
- You can add your favorite ingredients to it, it's easily customizable.
- It's packed with fresh vegetables and is actually good for you.
- It's light and healthy since it uses yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
- Chicken breast: You can either cook a chicken breast or use leftovers. If you're in a pinch, use a rotisserie chicken.
- Red onion and celery: This combination adds a nice flavor to the salad. It's best to chop the onion finely and use crisp celery stalks.
- Walnuts: For some crunch and health benefits.
- Herbs: You need fresh dill, green onions and tarragon.
- Raisins: For some sweetness and flavor balance.
To make my favorite yogurt sauce for chicken salad, you need the following ingredients:
- Yogurt: Make sure the yogurt you're using is plain and not flavored. Try my instant pot yogurt recipe for a homemade version.
- Dijon mustard: Just a little bit adds a lot of flavor.
- Spices: I suggest using smoked paprika, cumin and salt.
Walnuts in chicken salad
Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which would make them a good addition to any lunch. What I love about walnuts is that they are incredibly versatile and you can use them in different recipes. You can grind them with spices to make plant-based meat or simply add them to smoothies or simply add them to any salad for a bit of crunch. Some of my favorite walnut recipes are marinated olives with walnuts, stuffed eggplants and Persian pomegranate walnut stew called fesenjan.
- Bake the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with non stick spray. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides and place it on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until it's fully cooked and the internal temperature registers at 165°F. Let the chicken cool completely and then shred it using two forks. Alternatively, you can make instant pot poached chicken.
- Mix the chicken salad: Chop all the ingredients including red onion, walnuts, dill, green onions and celery. Mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
- Make the dressing: In a bowl or a measuring cup, mix yogurt, dijon mustard, paprika, cumin and salt. Add a little bit of lemon juice to balance the acidity and then mix the dressing with the chicken salad. Cool in the fridge for a few minutes before serving.
Frequently asked questions
Yes you can make this chicken salad ahead of time. However, I suggest you mix in the dressing right before serving to make sure it's absolutely creamy and delicious. It's best you prepare the chicken and chop the veggies beforehand and store them properly, mixing them right before serving would be easy and the salad will taste very fresh.
Yogurt chicken salad can keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Since this chicken salad has fresh ingredients, I suggest you consume within 48 hours to avoid wilted raisins and veggies. After 48 hours, chicken salad is still edible but may not look as fresh as it does on the first day.
Yes, you can use parsley, cilantro or thyme to add more flavor to this salad.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. This salad cannot be frozen since it would lose its texture and flavor.
This salad is a complete meal on its own and there are a few ways you can serve it. Here are some ideas:
- Serve it with romaine or butter lettuce and make a lettuce wrap.
- Top toasted French bread with cold Greek yogurt chicken salad to have an open faced sandwich.
- Make a sandwich using some whole wheat sandwich bread or ciabatta.
- Serve with your favorite crackers or pita chips.
- Stuff a pita pocket and add some greens such as lettuce or arugula for a healthy chicken salad sandwich. You can also make a wrap using my homemade lavash.
- Simply enjoy it on its own with a big spoon!
Notes and tips
- You can use rotisserie chicken instead of chicken breast to save time. Simply shred a rotisserie chicken and mix it with the other ingredients. If using more than one or two chicken breasts, you might need to increase the amount of the other ingredients and the yogurt dijon dressing.
- Tarragon is optional for this recipe, however, if you find it in your local supermarket, don't skip it since it makes the salad very aromatic.
- To make healthy chicken salad recipe with Greek yogurt, I usually use 1% yogurt but you can also use whole milk yogurt or non fat yogurt as well.
- You can add other vegetables to this salad such as chopped bell pepper or avocados.
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More Chicken Recipes
Healthy chicken salad with walnuts and dill
- 1 lb chicken breast see notes
- ½ red onion chopped
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- ½ cup fresh dill chopped
- 1 cup green onions chopped
- ¼ cup fresh tarragon chopped
- 5 stalks celery chopped
- ½ cup raisins optional
Greek yogurt dijon dressing
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with non stick spray.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breast and place it on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature registers at 165F.
- Let the chicken breast cook and then shred it using two forks.
- Place the shredded chicken in a bowl and add in chopped red onion and walnuts.
- Add in fresh dill, green onions, tarragon, celery and raisins (if using). Mix all the ingredients together.
- To make the dressing, mix Greek yogurt, dijon mustard, paprika, cumin and salt in a bowl.
- Mix the dressing with the chicken salad. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Use red grapes instead of raisins if you're not a fan of raisins.
- For a sweeter sauce, use honey dijon instead of dijon.
- If you like your chicken salad creamier, double the dressing recipe.
- You can use rotisserie chicken instead of chicken breast to save time or make instant pot poached chicken.
- Serve the salad as is, on lettuce or as a sandwich using pita or lavash bread.
- To make healthy chicken salad recipe with Greek yogurt, I usually use 1% yogurt but you can also use whole milk yogurt or non fat yogurt as well. You can also make your own yogurt using my instant pot yogurt recipe.
- You can add other vegetables to this healthy chicken salad such as chopped bell pepper or avocados.