This Healthy Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad will quickly become your favorite lunchtime meal and with about 200 calories per serving, it's so much better for you than traditional mayo heavy chicken salad.
There is nothing better than a tasty chicken salad at lunch and this version with dried cranberries, almonds, and Greek yogurt is so good! Great for sandwiches, wraps, green salad, crackers, and more.
I have a friend who is completely obsessed with this cranberry almond chicken salad that she buys at Costco. The ones that come preportioned in individual servings. She eats it almost daily for lunch and she has served it at every party she has ever had.
The only problem is that her chicken salad habit is actually pretty expensive. She is trying to make more food at home, so this past weekend we set out to recreate her favorite cranberry almond chicken salad.
After a few attempts, we came up with a version we actually like more than the version she usually bought. With cooked chicken breast, dried cranberries, celery, sliced almonds, and a simple yogurt-based dressing - it's really delicious. She likes it with a bit of honey to sweeten it up, although I prefer it without.
What's the best chicken for chicken salad?
There are so many options when it comes to choosing chicken for making homemade chicken salad. Here are the most popular options and things to consider when choosing.
- Rotisserie chicken: This is my go-to option since it is quick, affordable, and easy. Either I grab a precooked chicken at the store or make this rotisserie chicken in the slow cooker.
- Leftover cooked chicken: If you have any type of leftover chicken in the fridge, you can use it to make chicken salad. Generally speaking, use something that doesn't have a sauce or competing flavor. I love making this salad with leftover grilled chicken.
- Quick poached chicken: For something quick, add some chicken breasts to a pot and cover them with about 1 inch of water or broth. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Remove and shred.
- Canned chicken: If you like canned chicken breast, it is a great option for this salad. Make sure to fully drain the chicken so the salad doesn't turn out watery.
What You'll Need for Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad (And Swaps!)
- Cooked chicken: Any cooked chicken will work in this salad. Swap in tuna, salmon, chickpeas (slightly mashed), or tofu.
- Mix-in's: The secret to this salad is all the delicious mix-in's including celery, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, green onions, and poppyseeds. These can be customized to whatever crunch and sweetness you like - raisins, apricots, cashews, walnuts, red onion, carrots, or chives.
- Dressing: To get a creamy dressing that isn't too tangy, the secret is combining mayo, sour cream, Greek yogurt, honey, and vinegar. Although you could leave out one of the three main ingredients, this combination really works.
Ways to Serve Chicken Salad
Most people think of a sandwich when it comes to chicken salad, but there are so many different options from wraps to salads and more.
- Sandwiches and wraps: Grab some toasted bread or a low carb wrap. Pile in the chicken salad along with some crunchy lettuce, sliced cucumbers, and tomatoes.
- Salad: Make a big green salad and serve a couple of scoops of chicken salad on top. Many people find they don't even need to add dressing since the chicken salad adds so much flavor.
- Crackers or pretzels: Think of the chicken salad as a dip and serve it alongside your favorite crackers, pretzels, chips, or toast points.
- Raw veggies: This is great with sliced mini bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, endive, celery, and more.
- Lettuce wraps: Grab some butter lettuce or Romaine lettuce and use lettuce in place of bread.
Storing Leftover Chicken Salad
If you have leftover chicken salad, store it in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. If you know you will make this in advance, leave out the almonds since they will soften over time.
This recipe does not freeze well.
Frequently Asked Qeestions
Here are the most common questions about making this cranberry almond chicken salad.
This recipe works great with canned chicken. Just make sure to fully drain the chicken before using it and rinse it if needed. Then simply combine it with the other ingredients.
This chicken salad works great without mayo, just use a combination of Greek yogurt and sour cream. For a dairy-free option, swap in mashed avocado for the yogurt, mayo, and sour cream.
This recipe is delicious with canned tuna instead of chicken. Just make sure to fully drain the tuna before adding.
Healthy Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad
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- 1 lb. cooked chicken breast, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup green onions
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp. low fat mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. low fat sour cream
- 1 tbsp. honey (leave out for low carb)
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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