This incredible California chicken salad recipe is made with red grapes and celery to give it a delightful crunch that kids love. It's an easy ten-minute recipe that is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
This is a 'copycat' version of the Sonoma Chicken Salad recipe that you can find at Whole Foods... with just a few slight modifications;)
I substituted the pecans with walnuts because I don't typically keep pecans in my pantry, and I added a pinch of garlic powder to take the flavor up a notch. The rest of the ingredients are the same, just in different proportions.
If your kids like salads on the sweeter side, I think they'll agree that this is the best chicken salad dressing. It's made with honey and apple cider vinegar, just like the recipe Whole Food's uses.
Why This Recipe is so Great
- Easy recipe
- Dairy free
- High in protein
- Great for meal prep
- Quick and easy lunch or snack
- Excellent for school lunches
- Chicken Good source of protein. Use shredded chicken breast (or thighs), or leftover rotisserie chicken.
- Walnuts Significantly high in omega-3 ALA, according to California Walnuts. Walnuts are also a good source of protein, fiber, and magnesium.
- Red grapes Contain various compounds that have health benefits, including flavonoids.
- Celery High in fiber and rich in minerals. Celery adds color, texture, and flavor. According to my kids, chicken salad isn't chicken salad without celery.
- Honey I use raw local honey because of its many potential health benefits. But that's just me. Use what you have!
- Apple Cider Vinegar Offers a variety of potential health benefits.
Tip 1: Chicken salad is an excellent option for school lunches. I suggest packing the chicken salad separately in an air-tight container.
Then, pack whole grain crackers or sandwich bread separately so they don't get soggy.
My kids especially love eating chicken salad with whole wheat pita bite crackers, pita chips, triscuits, or on a whole grain croissant. Serving it as a lettuce wrap would also be delicious!
Tip 2: This one is a time-saving meal prep idea. Consider making shredded chicken breast or grilling and chopping up lightly seasoned chicken breast once a week and storing it in the refrigerator.
Then you will have cooked chicken ready to use to make salads, soups, wraps, burritos, casseroles, quesadillas, and so much more. If after three days you realize you won't be able to use all of the chicken, place it in an air-tight resealable freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer.
- Add all dressing ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk well.
- Add chicken, celery, grapes, and walnuts (optional) to the dressing.
- Stir well to incorporate the dressing.
- For optimal flavor, let sit or refrigerate for five minutes before serving.
- Use either homemade shredded chicken breast or leftover rotisserie chicken.
- If your child does not have a dairy allergy, consider substituting 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt for 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise. In this case, you would use 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise in place of the quarter cup of mayonnaise.
- Walnuts are optional. If your child has a nut allergy, do not add walnuts to this recipe.
Photo Credit: amazon.com
Chicken salad can be served on top of a lettuce salad, served with crackers, as a sandwich, or in a wrap. If you have large pieces of celery left, you can fill in the center of the stalks with chicken salad and eat it that way, too!
Store chicken salad in a sealed air-tight food-safe container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
I never have but you definitely could add hard boiled eggs to chicken salad. From what I understand, eggs are sometimes used in 'Southern style' chicken salad.
More Recipes with Chicken
Did your kids love this chicken salad recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating below or a review in the comments section!
Don't forget to snap a pic of the chicken salad and tag @carrots.and.cookies on Instagram so I can see it. Enjoy!
California Chicken Salad
- 1 ½ cups cooked chicken, shredded
- ⅓ cups red grapes About 14 grapes. Sliced in half lengthwise.
- 1 stalk celery Washed. Chopped into small pieces. About ⅓ of a cup.
- 1 tablespoon walnut pieces, toasted Smashed into very small pieces. Optional.
- ¼ cup mayonnaise Preferably avocado oil-based mayonnaise.
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- salt and pepper To taste. Optional.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Add shredded chicken, celery, grapes, and walnuts (optional) to the dressing.
- Mix all ingredients together so that the dressing is evenly distributed.