Healthy Chicken Salad

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Healthy Chicken Salad is made with shredded chicken, crisp celery, dried sweet cranberries, juicy grapes, and crunchy sliced almonds. It’s coated in a mayo-less three-ingredient dressing.

Up-close image of Healthy Chicken Salad on a croissant, ready to be eaten.

Healthy Chicken Salad

I can’t quite take credit for this recipe as it’s one of my mom’s creations that we ate on repeat growing up. In fact, when we went out to North Dakota and visited the family for Christmas, she made this chicken salad for Christmas Eve lunch and not a bite was left!

She always piles the chicken salad high on mini buttery croissants which makes them a little bit less healthy, but after all, YOLO. 

This healthy chicken salad is delicious straight from the bowl, loaded in a whole-wheat/multi-grain toasted bread, or even wrapped in lettuce to make a lettuce wrap!

Process shots-- images of the ingredients for Healthy Chicken Salad in a bowl with the dressing being added and then it all being mixed together.

Healthy Chicken Salad ingredients

  • Rotisserie chicken: I like using rotisserie chicken because it makes the prep so fast and the chicken is already well seasoned. And speaking of quick prep time, in many grocery stores, you can buy rotisserie chicken meat that has already been pulled from the bones and shredded. You can also make your own rotisserie chicken and use leftovers in these sandwiches. A nice assortment of storage container like these will make that job easier.
  • Dried cranberries: Cranberries add a delicious sweetness and different texture. Dried cherries or cherry-juice-infused dried cranberries are also amazing in this recipe.
  • Celery: Chop into small pieces for a more-even dispersion; the celery adds a nice crunchy texture.
  • Sliced almonds: Again, a great textural ingredient. You can toast the almonds, but since this is a quick and easy recipe, I don’t usually bother.
  • Seedless grapes: Red or green work equally well, but I prefer red for color. Make sure to get ripe, flavorful grapes (they should be plump, thick, and feel full of juice) for this healthy salad.
  • Poppyseeds: This is an optional ingredient; they add a nice flavor and crunch.
  • Lemon juice: A little bit of lemon in the dressing adds a nice freshness and a very subtle tang to the salad.
  • Ranch dressing: It’s the secret ingredient of this healthy chicken salad! More on this below.

Ranch dressing?

Yes, it sounds strange, but the ranch is the secret ingredient replacing mayonnaise or other creamy ingredients typically used to dress a chicken salad. While it may sound weird, it’s addictively good and absolutely the best replacement for mayo! Low on calories and fat and high on flavor!

While you can definitely make your own ranch, this recipe is billed as quick and easy, so I recommend a store-bought dressing. Also, to keep this salad on the healthy side I recommend a low-fat ranch.

From taste test testers: Hidden Valley Ranchยฎ (low fat) was a favorite. My personal favorite dressing of choice for this healthy chicken salad is Bolthouse Farm’s Yogurt Classic Ranchยฎ (see here; not sponsored). Use whatever ranch you like best, and to keep it healthier, get a low-fat or fat-free ranch.

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Healthy Chicken Salad

4.92 from 12 votes
Healthy Chicken Salad is made with shredded chicken, crisp celery, dried sweet cranberries, juicy grapes, and crunchy sliced almonds. It's coated in a mayo-less three-ingredient dressing.
Print Recipe

Healthy Chicken Salad

4.92 from 12 votes
Healthy Chicken Salad is made with shredded chicken, crisp celery, dried sweet cranberries, juicy grapes, and crunchy sliced almonds. It's coated in a mayo-less three-ingredient dressing.
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Healthy Chicken Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8 small sandwiches
Calories 260kcal
Cost $7.54

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery (~4 stalks)
  • 1 cup sliced seedless red grapes
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried sweet cherries)
  • 1 teaspoon poppyseeds, optional
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat ranch dressing Note 1
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • For serving: 6-8 pieces green leaf lettuce, miniature or full sized croissants or other toasted bread

Instructions

  • CHICKEN: Chop or shred the rotisserie chicken to get 3 cups and add to a large bowl.
  • SALAD: Slice the celery in half and then chop to get small pieces. Halve the grapes. Add the 3/4 cup celery, 1 cup grapes, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1 teaspoon poppyseeds to the bowl with the shredded chicken.
  • DRESSING: In a small bowl, add the 3/4 cup ranch dressing, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper (add to preference). Whisk and then pour over the salad. Gently toss to combine and again taste for seasonings.
  • SERVE: Toast bread and serve the chicken salad on top of the bread with lettuce, or in croissants with lettuce, or add this chicken salad to lettuce to make lettuce wraps!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: use your favorite low fat-ranch dressing. Hidden Valley Ranch (low fat) was a favorite from taste testers. My personal favorite dressing of choice is Bolthouse Farm's Yogurt Classic Ranch or Marie's creamy ranch (both found in the refrigerated produce section of the store, not with shelf-stable bottled dressings).

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 260kcal

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Nutrition facts in healthy chicken salad

 

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103 Comments

    1. One of my favorites! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a delicious pulled pork sandwich recipe coming soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I love the little bite-sized rolls for sliders/small sandwiches for parties. It’s a fun way to try a variety of different fillings ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. My husband introduced me to the hamburger buns when we were dating! They were great and are still our favorite!

  3. I love cinnamon raisin swirl potato bread!! They’re perfect when lightly toasted and topped with homemade chia seed fruit jam!

  4. wowowow I love everything about this and my favorite type of potato roll is just like a hamburger bun!!:)

  5. 5 stars
    I love the smaller party rolls. When you are really hungry and no one is looking you can stuff a whole one into your mouth.

  6. I live in south central Pennsylvania, the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch County, and grew up with Martin’s Potato Rolls. They were a staple at every family picnic. Definitely the original sandwich potato roll… can’t go wrong!

    1. How fun to hear that! ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re right — they are absolutely amazing! Thanks for the comment Alyson!

  7. 5 stars
    yummmm! Everything about this looks delicious!! My favorite type of potato roll is just like a hamburger bun! ???

  8. My family loves the slider rolls. We use them for burgers, chicken salad and even peanut butter and jelly. They are perfect!

  9. 5 stars
    Love the sweetness of the Hawaiian potato rolls. Mix well with coleslaw and roasted portobello mushrooms.

  10. I made potato hamburger buns once and I was impressed. They were very soft and delicious. I wish I had the time to make them more often!

    1. I LOVE homemade hamburger buns but they definitely take some time! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Alessandra for the comment!

  11. rotisserie chicken is one of my favorites so using it in a chicken salad will make it THAT much better. and I have never thought about using low fat ranch dressing but that could actually be pretty good I will have to try that!

  12. 5 stars
    The Party Potato Rolls are my favorite. Something about slider buns is just so cute! And this recipe looks perfect for an easy Sunday lunch. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 5 stars
    The Party Potato Rolls are great for bison sliders; we love them grilled. But your chicken salad recipe sounds right up my alley. Can’t wait to try it.

  14. A chicken buffalo slider or a classic cheeseburger slider on the potato buns is always a hit at our football parties. Whoever said carbs were bad never had a potato roll!

  15. 5 stars
    I’m not sure I’ve even tried a potato roll! But this salad (and roll) looks great; I know I want to try both.

  16. 4 stars
    We love the slider rolls and the hamburger buns, but if I had to choose, I say hamburger buns because nothing beats a grilled burger in the summer!

  17. It’s a tough choice because I love potato rolls it’s what I pick for hot dog of hamburger buns. My favorite choice would be the potato dinner rolls because they are good on their own or to use for small sandwiches.

  18. I could eat pretty much any potato roll or bread (serious carb addict here) I love how you replaced the mayo/ yogurt with ranch because who doesn’t love ranch?!?!

  19. I love all of the martins potato rolls. We use the sandwich for every kind of sandwich to burgers. I love the hot dod rolls for grilled sausage & hot dogs & we love the sliders for grilled marinated chicken tenders or just for dinner rolls with lots of butter & I love them for breakfast egg sandwiches if there are any left overs. If I have to choose I would go for the sliders because they are so versatile.

    Chicken salad looks awesome

  20. I love chicken salad sandwiches – thanks for the low-calorie recipe! 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Potato Rolls are my favorite.

  21. I’ve actually never had a potato roll, I don’t think. I would put Italian sausage and peppers on it, or BBQ pork.

  22. MY FAVORITE IS THE PARTY POTATO ROLL. CUZ WHO DOESN’T LIKE TO PARTY WITH A BIG VARIETY OF DIFFERENT FILLINGS FOR THOSE CUTE LITTLE POTATO ROLLS?

  23. 5 stars
    I’m going to have to say the sandwich potato rolls are my fav because they are perfect for filling up with yummy goodness of all kinds!

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