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April Healthy Dinner Blog: Chicken Salad

Spring is officially here and summer is on the way! One of the things I love about the changing seasons is switching up my recipe repertoire. My favorite warm weather recipe is chicken salad, hands down. It’s a great make-ahead meal and there are endless variations. Plus, while the traditional version isn’t winning any nutritional awards, it’s easy to make it healthy and filling!

I made three different chicken salads this month. The basic recipe is the same for all. I just change out some of the seasoning and ingredients to create very different flavor profiles. I must admit -- my kids only really like the first variation, but they’ll eat all three.

Here’s our basic recipe:

  • 4 cups of chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2-3 cups of diced veggies or fruit

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of acid
  • 2 Tbsp natural sweetener
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dump chicken and veggies/fruit in a large bowl. Combine all other ingredients in a smaller bowl and add to the chicken. Stir it all together and enjoy!

Each variation changes out the seasonings and veggies/fruits. I have three for you here, but you can use anything your family likes.

Version 1: Fruity Chicken Salad (my kids’ favorite)

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1 cup of grapes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Version 2: Curried Chicken Salad (this one is inspired by Coronation Chicken):

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Version 3: Tzatziki Chicken Salad (this is MY favorite)

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tips and Tricks

These recipes serve 6 and come in at about 300 calories each (although the tzatziki version is under 250!). It has plenty of protein and fruits and veggies, so it’s a hearty lunch or dinner, especially with some whole grain bread.

Seasoning this recipe can be tricky. I didn’t give an exact amount of salt, because it depends on how your chicken was cooked. If I’m making this with leftovers, I usually add a little salt. If I’m using rotisserie chicken, I don’t add any.

I usually make this while the baby naps, and I get the big kids in the kitchen to help. They love measuring, mixing, and sampling as we go. Plus, they tend to eat better dinners when they help cook!

Enjoy your healthy dinner!