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Simple and fresh, this Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad is full of flavor thanks to tender pieces of chicken, sweet cranberries, crisp celery, red onion, and crunchy walnuts all stirred together with a flavorful, creamy dressing. This recipe comes together quickly for a healthy protein-packed lunch! Serve with bread, lettuce wraps, or enjoy on its own.

 

Chicken salad in a white bowl with a serving spoon.

 

Looking for a fast and simple way to get lunch on the table? This Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad is the answer! It’s creamy, crunchy, flavorful and healthy. You really can’t go wrong with a good chicken salad – it’s a crowd pleaser, takes minutes to put together, and is a great way to use up leftovers. This recipe has the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and is always a big hit!

 

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • A fast and easy recipe you’ll go to over and over again!
  • The best chicken salad to meal prep lunch for the week.
  • It’s made with whole foods and naturally gluten, dairy, grain free, low carb and blood sugar balancing.
  • It’s a great source of protein and filling to keep your hormones balanced.
  • Delicious flavors: sweet, tart, savory and nutty

 

Closeup view of chicken salad made with walnuts and cranberries.

 

Ingredients needed:

This chicken salad recipe is made with a handful of fresh ingredients and is packed with protein thanks to the chicken. There are also chewy bursts of tart sweetness from the dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts and of course, a delicious tangy dressing! This is a great way to use up leftover chicken, too! Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Chicken: Use any cooked, diced or shredded chicken breast. Rotisserie chicken works great because it’s already so flavorful!
  • Walnuts: For crunch, healthy fats and brain health benefits. For convenience, you can purchase chopped toasted walnuts.
  • Unsweetened dried cranberries: Adds just a hint of delicious tart sweetness. Plus, we love the pop of color!
  • Red onion: For fresh flavor, a bit of a kick in each bite and gut health benefits.
  • Celery: For a refreshing crunch and fiber!
  • Avocado oil mayonnaise: To make the dressing and give it the best flavor and creamy texture without inflammatory seed oils like canola oil. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Adds richness and ensures the dressing is the right consistency. Bonus antioxidants too!
  • Dijon mustard: Adds the perfect amount of zippy flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Balances the richness of the mayo and gives the salad a nice little tang without an overwhelming vinegar taste.
  • Sea salt & black pepper: To bring out all of the amazing flavors!
  • Herbs: Optional, but so delicious! We love to add freshly chopped tarragon for flavors of licorice, eucalyptus, vanilla, and pepper that pair nicely with the chicken.

 

Nutritional highlight:

This cranberry walnut chicken salad recipe is not only delicious but it’s also packed with nutrient-rich ingredients for a satisfying meal that can be served a variety of ways!

  • Cranberries: According to Cleveland Clinic, cranberries are good for gut health and great source of antioxidants. We recommend using unsweetened cranberries to keep the sugar content low in the salad.
  • Walnuts: According to Harvard, walnuts are a good source of anti-inflammatory fats, good for blood sugar, heart and brain health.
  • Chicken: Adds protein to make the salad plenty satisfying and hearty!

 

How to make this recipe:

It only takes a few easy steps and a matter of minutes to get this chicken salad mixed together and ready for lunch! Here’s the simple process:

  1. Combine salad ingredients: In a large bowl, add the diced chicken, chopped walnuts, cranberries, red onion and celery.
  2. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper, and tarragon (if using). Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss salad with dressing: Pour the dressing over the chicken salad and toss to make sure everything is evenly coated.
  4. Enjoy! Serve the Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad on a bed of greens, in lettuce cups, as a sandwich filling, or in a wrap.

 

Chicken salad mixed with celery, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

 

Substitutions & Variations:

One of the reasons this recipe is so great is that it’s super versatile; you can experiment with the ingredients and make substitutions to suit your personal tastes. Some ideas:

  • Add diced apples or halved grapes for a little sweetness and crunch.
  • You can swap the walnuts for toasted pecans or almonds. For extra flavor, lightly toast the nuts.
  • Sub red onion for green onion or add onion powder to the dressing.
  • Use plain greek yogurt for half of the mayo to reduce the fat and add extra protein.
  • Stir in fresh herbs like tarragon, 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or ¼ cup chopped parsley, chives or dill.

 

Tips/FAQ:

Crunchy, savory, sweet, and wonderfully creamy – we cannot get enough of this irresistible chicken salad! Here are some tips, so that it’s perfect every time you make it:

  • Double the recipe and enjoy as meal prep for the week.
  • Use a rotisserie chicken or poach chicken breasts using this easy method from Bon Appetite
  • For enhanced flavors, refrigerate the chicken salad for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the ingredients to meld and the flavors to develop.

 

Storage recommendation:

  • Make ahead: This is a great dish to make in advance because it’s even tastier after it has sat in the fridge for a bit.
  • Storing leftovers: Place any leftovers you might have in an airtight container, or several if meal prepping, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

 

Cranberry walnut chicken salad served in a white bowl.

 

More salad recipes you’ll love:

 

 

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Print
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Chicken salad in a white bowl with a serving spoon.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 0 servings 1x
  • Category: Lunch, Salad
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Simple and fresh, this Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad is full of flavor thanks to tender pieces of chicken, sweet cranberries, crisp celery, red onion, and crunchy walnuts all stirred together with a flavorful, creamy dressing. This recipe comes together quickly for a healthy protein-packed lunch! Serve with bread, lettuce wraps, or enjoy on its own.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/41 1/2 lbs cooked chicken (diced in 1 inch pieces)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 3 celery stalks (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tarragon (chopped (optional))

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the diced chicken, chopped walnuts, cranberries, red onion and celery.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper, and tarragon (if using). Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the dressing over the chicken salad and toss to make sure everything is evenly coated.
  4. Serve the Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad on a bed of greens, in lettuce cups, as a sandwich filling, or in a wrap.

Notes

Use a rotisserie chicken or poach chicken breasts using this easy method from Bon Appetite.
For enhanced flavors, refrigerate the chicken salad for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the ingredients to meld and the flavors to develop.


Nutrition

  • Calories: 464
  • Sodium: 691
  • Fat: 34.4
  • Carbohydrates: 11.4
  • Fiber: 1.5
  • Protein: 30.4

Keywords: chicken salad, cranberry chicken salad

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