Easy Mayo-Free Chicken Salad
I developed this chicken salad recipe for a camping trip to Moab. We needed easy lunch options that were nutrient dense, easy to store and quick to prep for hiking and exploring. PB&J just doesn’t cut it on a long trip and since we were car camping and bringing our big cooler, we had more food options.
Chicken salad was an easy winner because after it’s prepped there isn’t much assembly required to make sandwiches. But not everyone is a mayo fan, so I subbed in spiced greek yogurt to still give it that creaminess. I even prefer it to mayo-based chicken salad now because of the extra tang.
It stayed fresh the entire weekend in our Yeti cooler, refreshed with ice as needed.
What Makes Up A Good Chicken Salad
In my book, a good chicken salad recipe should incorporate a few things: crunch, creaminess, a splash of sweet, and a bit of bite.
We get crunch from celery, walnuts, and green onion. The yogurt lends a tangy creaminess with a little extra bite from added spices. The grapes are a must both for texture and flavor. And toasted walnuts compliments the chicken and grape flavors.
Its such a versatile dish that can be piled on fresh bread, or served on a bed of lettuce with avocado.
How To Make Chicken Salad
The first step is the most important if you really want to bring out the nuttiness of the walnuts. Bring you oven up to 400 degrees and toast the walnuts for 5-10 minutes until fragrant and just beginning to brown. The key is keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn.
While the walnuts are toasting, chop up the rest of your ingredients. I like a chunkier texture, but you can chop everything as coarsely or finely as you like.
This recipe is made even easier by using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, and cutting it into bite sized cubes. Then, combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl and then move on to arguably the most important aspect of this recipe: the dressing.
I substituted mayo with full-fat, plain greek yogurt cut with a little olive oil and spiced with salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix everything together in a bowl and refrigerate! It’s good right away or a couple of days later. It’s definitely a go-to for weekly meal prep in our house.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy chicken salad is open face on a toasted slice of sourdough bread with melted cheese or on mixed greens with a little balsamic dressing. It’s really hard for me to get tired of, but it goes so fast in our house, I don’t have to worry much about that.
Do you have a favorite chicken salad recipe? I would love to know in the comments!
Easy May Free Chicken Salad Recipe
Easy Mayo Free Chicken Salad
This delicious chicken salad recipe utilizes spiced greek yogurt for a creamy & flavorful dish without mayo. Make it as a batch and enjoy it on sandwiches and salads throughout the week.
- 1 Whole Rotisserie Chicken (skin on, cubed)
- 2 Celery Stalks (chopped fine)
- 3 Green Onions (sliced thin)
- 1 Bunch Red Seedless Grapes (halved)
- 1/4 c Chopped Walnut Pieces
- 1/2 t Sea Salt
- 1/4 t Black Pepper
- 1/4 t Cayenne Pepper (optional, but delicious)
- 1 c Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400. Chop up your walnuts and place on a clean un-oiled baking sheet.
- While oven is heating, prep your other ingredients by chopping chicken, celery, green onion grapes.
- Roast walnuts until lightly browned and fragrant. You’ll want to check on them every couple of minutes because they go from perfect to burned quickly. Set aside to let cool
- Combine chicken, celery, green onions, grapes, & cooled walnuts in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper, & cayenne until smooth.
- Fold yogurt dressing into chicken mixture until combined.
- Chill, store, & enjoy.
This chicken salad recipe is a great for making ahead on busy weeks. I either put it on a sandwich with fresh avocado, or on a bed of spinach with a splash of balsamic.