This California Chicken Salad is creamy, crunchy and slightly sweet. Made with celery, grapes, pecans and lightened up with Greek yoghurt (no mayo). Enjoy in a green salad, wrap or on a sandwich!
Healthy and fresh, this yoghurt-based California chicken salad recipe is creamy, crunchy and slightly sweet. Fresh parsley, red onions, and lemon give it a savoury flavour, while celery, pecans and grapes add a touch of sweetness and crunch. The best part? It’s easy to make and can be served as a main dish, side salad, or sandwich.
I love meal prepping a batch of chicken salad for a quick healthy lunch option. You can divide it into individual containers and serve it differently each day! Plus, the yogurt not only adds creaminess, but also a boost of protein. And because there’s no mayo, this salad is perfect for picnics and BBQ’s. Just be sure to keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve.
Ingredients you’ll need:
All you need are 10 ingredients to make this lightened up California chicken salad recipe.
- Chicken breast: I love using poached chicken or rotisserie chicken from the store. Instead of dicing it, you can also shred it if you prefer.
- Celery: For fresh crunchiness.
- Grapes: Halved seedless red grapes add a touch of sweetness and another bit of colour to the salad.
- Red onion: for a little bite.
- Pecans: Or your favourite nut/ seeds.
- Greek yogurt: Our base for a no-mayo chicken salad. I used low-fat plain yoghurt.
- Dijon mustard: A good amount for tang.
- Honey: It enhances the sweetness of the grapes while adding a floral note.
- Lemon: A light, fresh acidness to balance the dressing.
- Poppy seeds: A classic ingredient in Whole Foods version and adds great crunch!
How to make California chicken salad
Dice the chicken breasts into small pieces. You can also shred them in a kitchen mixer as well.
Add the chopped chicken large bowl with celery, grapes, onion, pecans, parsley, yoghurt, mustard, honey, poppy seeds, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined adjust seasonings to taste if needed).
Serve with toasted bread, on top of a salad or however you desire.
Substitutions & Variations:
- Replace pecans: almonds, walnuts, or pistachios would be great in this salad.
- No fresh lemons? try apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar instead.
- Instead of greek yoghurt: use natural yogurt or a plain non-dairy yoghurt if needed.
- For more protein: try adding in hard-boiled eggs.
- Fresh herbs: tarragon or dill would be classic additions.
How to serve chicken salad
- Sandwich: Make an easy chicken salad sandwich! Use it as a filling between two slices of sourdough, or a bagel.
- Wrap: Try using a large flatbread, tortilla, or pita pocket for your california chicken salad.
- As a snack plate: That’s right – you can even serve this chicken salad mixed plate with some veggie sticks, greens and crackers.
- On lettuce: I also love serving it in lettuce wraps for a lighter option.
How long will chicken salad keep?
Store any leftover California chicken salad in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I prep Sonoma Chicken Salad in advance?
Yes! The flavour will only get better after marinating in the refrigerator overnight! You can make this chicken salad up to 24 hours ahead of serving.
Is chicken salad healthy?
This California Chicken Salad uses lean chicken breast, fresh grapes, celery, and greek yoghurt instead of mayo. It’s loaded with wholesome ingredients to make this a protein-rich and satisfying meal.
What’s the best way to cook chicken for chicken salad?
Personally I prefer to use poached chicken in my salad. Add chicken, aromatics and salt to a medium pot. Cover with 5-6 cups water. Place the pot over medium heat and heat until the liquid comes to a low simmer. Cook on low for 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board. The cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken breast.
Can I make this salad meat-free?
Yes, you can definitely make this salad without chicken. Simply swap the chicken for out up tofu.
Other lunch recipes to make:
If you try this California chicken salad recipe or have a question, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you makePrint
This California chicken salad is creamy, crunchy and slightly sweet. Made with celery, grapes, pecans and lightened up with Greek yoghurt (no mayo). Enjoy in a green salad, wrap or on a sandwich!
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup grapes, halved
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Dice the chicken breasts into small pieces. You can also shred them in a kitchen mixer as well.
- Add the chopped chicken large bowl with celery, grapes, onion, pecans, parsley, yoghurt, mustard, honey, poppy seeds, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined adjust seasonings to taste if needed).
- Serve with toasted bread, on top of a salad or however you desire.
- Store any leftover salad in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Keywords: chicken salad, healthy chicle salad, California chicken salad, greek yogurt