The perfect combination of chicken, chopped celery, and seasonings with a touch of mayo, this Southern Chicken Salad is the one and the only recipe you need to top over crackers, lettuce, or use in sandwiches.
Have you ever had a really good chicken salad sandwich on 7-grain bread, topped with crisp, fresh lettuce and tomatoes? If not, my friend, you are in for a treat.
While serving it in a sandwich is one of my favorite ways to eat this recipe, it’s also delicious as a protein-packed dip with crackers, veggies, or a topper for salad.
Traditional Southern Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is a near and dear recipe to the south. Traditionally, it’s made with leftover shredded chicken, celery, and pickle relish in a creamy mayo-based dressing. Some versions include slivered almonds, walnuts chopped apples, and even grapes.
Since I am NOT a fan of fruit or nuts mixed with chicken salad- I leave those out and use less mayonnaise for a healthier version of Southern Chicken Salad. No worries, it still has that perfect texture that’s easy to spread onto crackers or over bread, thanks to the food processor, but more on that later.
Healthy Ingredients and Substitutions
A creamy, flavorful dressing is super important for a good chicken salad, and my recipe has the perfect ratio of mayonnaise and spices. Lemon juice really brightens up the flavor and goes perfect with the smoky flavor of rotisserie chicken.
However, if you have leftover baked chicken on hand, by all means, use that! You’ll need about 3 cups worth or two large chicken breasts.
Here’s everything you need for the southern chicken salad:
- Rotisserie chicken or 3 cups shredded chicken
- Lemon juice
- Mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
- Creole seasoning or poultry seasoning
You can always forgo the mayo for full-fat Greek yogurt, it adds tang and creaminess but fewer calories.
Another Way to Make It: Spicy Chicken Salad
How to Make Healthy Chicken Salad
Everything gets tossed in the food processor and finely chopped to give it a thick, smooth texture. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to pureé the chicken– only pulse it a few times, to break up the meat and celery just enough. It’s how we get away with using only a little mayonnaise.
Now, on with the recipe. Here’s how to make this healthy chicken salad in a food processor:
Place the chicken in the processor and give it a pulse to roughly chop.
- Make the dressing
Whisk together the lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and creole seasoning, until smooth.
Transfer the chopped chicken to a large bowl and add the dressing. Fold to combine and it’s ready to serve.
Check out how easy this salad is to make in the video below:
How to Store Homemade Chicken Salad
Once you’re ready to put it away, transfer the chicken salad to an airtight container, seal, and refrigerate.
Homemade chicken salad is good for up to 4 days in the fridge. It’s one of the biggest reasons I use this recipe as a lunch meal prep for the office and school.
I have so many recipes like this one that can be made ahead and turned into healthy lunches or meals later week, which you can check out in my new Meal Prepp’d eBook.
Meal Prep’d eBook
In this book, I share 70+ recipes that can be cooked ahead, stored in single-serve portions or frozen, and save you time and effort in the kitchen.
Cook once and have ready-to-eat meals for an entire week. These nutritious and filling recipes can be enjoyed as dinner or packed for lunch.
It has a ton of ideas and different ways to use everyday ingredients so you won’t get bored eating the same thing day after day.
Serving Healthy Southern Chicken Salad
Speaking of! How many ways can you serve this Southern Chicken Salad? Well, let’s count below:
- Over crackers- these would be perfect
- With fresh, cut veggies
- In a wrap
- Between bread and lettuce
- In a lettuce cup
- Stuffed in the center of an avocado
- Over a bed of lettuce and tomatoes
That’s 7 ways so far, can you think of any more?Print
Healthy Chicken Salad
If you like chicken salad, you are going to love this healthy chicken salad recipe with a little kick! It’s perfect for lunch over a bed of field greens, with crackers or in a sandwich.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Lunch
- Cuisine: Southern
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 whole roasted chicken, meat off
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ⅓–½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
- Put chicken meat in a food processor and pulse a few times to roughly chop. Continue pulsing for about 30 seconds until the chicken is finely chopped. *If you turn “on” the food processor, your chicken will become a “paste” instead, use the pulse method until it’s very finely chopped.
- In a bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, pepper creole seasoning and blend well.
- Toss chicken into the bowl, combine a few times with a spatula and add finely chopped celery.
- Serving Size: 1 scoop
- Calories: 241
- Sugar: 0.3g
- Sodium: 251.2mg
- Fat: 15.4g
- Saturated Fat: 3.1g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 0.7g
- Fiber: 0.1g
- Protein: 23.5g
- Cholesterol: 75.1mg
Keywords: chicken salad, healthy chicken salad