This simple and delicious Cranberry Pecan (or Walnut) Chicken Salad is fast and easy to whip up with a few pantry staples, and some cooked chicken breast! This salad is great for weekday lunches, and a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken.JUMP TO RECIPE
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The best (and easiest) chicken salad
This Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad is on HEAVY rotation in my house. It's probably my favorite chicken salad, next to Sazon Chicken Salad. It's so simple, yet so delicious, and is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken.
What goes into the Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad recipe
This chicken salad comes together in under 15 minutes, with a few simple ingredients you probably have in your fridge and pantry. To make the salad, you will need:
- Cooked chicken breast, chilled. This can be some leftover grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, or some quickly poached or baked chicken.
- Chopped Pecan halves. I like to rough chop these myself, so I can get larger chunks throughout the salad. You can also make this salad with walnuts, if you prefer, or if that's what you have on hand.
- A rib of celery with leaves. The leaves pack a lot of flavor, and I love including them in soups and salad.
- Dried cranberries.
- Some chopped shallot, If you don't have shallot, some green onion (scallion), or red onion would also work.
- Mayonaise. You can opt for light mayo if you like.
- Apple cider vinegar. I swear by organic, as it is better tasting, and better for you. I store mine in the fridge.
- Some honey.
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
What kind of chicken should I use for the salad?
You can use any cooked chicken you like! I am partial to chicken breast in my salads, so I go with that. But feel free to add dark meat if that's your thing.
I have used leftover grilled chicken and rotisserie chicken for this salad. I have also quickly baked chicken or poached it for the salad if I'm having a craving. All are delicious! I am NOT a fan of canned chicken, so I would not recommend using it.
This salad could also work great with leftover tThanksgiving turkey!
Substitutions for the chicken salad
If you don't have certain items on hand, here are some easy swaps for the salad:
Instead of dried cranberries, you could use halved red seedless grapes
In place of shallot, you could use red onion or scallions.
As a healthier alternative to classic mayo, you could use light mayonaise.
If you don't have pecans, you can make it a Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad instead!
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Building the perfect chicken salad sandwich
The perfect sandwich is all about the bread. Some great options for serving this chicken salad are:
- Plenty of fresh butter lettuce or romaine
- Rye or Marble Rye Bread
- Multi-grain or sprouted multi-grain bread
- Ciabatta buns
Aside from some crisp lettuce and great bread, this salad doesn't need much else!
Storing the chicken salad
This chicken salad keeps for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container, when made with freshly cooked chicken. You can set aside smaller portioned containers for easy meal prep during the week!
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Cranberry Pecan (or Walnut) Chicken Salad
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup pecan halves, rough chopped
- 1 rib celery with leaves, finely chopped
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
- ¾ cup mayonaise
- 2 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add chicken, pecans celery, dried cranberries and shallot to a large mixing bowl. 2. Add mayonnaise, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. 3. Toss well to coat.
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