waldorf chicken salad
This Waldorf Chicken Salad recipe is an easy and delicious lunch! It has celery, apples, walnuts and poached chicken breast in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing.
note: I originally shared this recipe on September 28th 2011. I have updated the images and some of the text today.
After apple picking last weekend with our neighbors, I am left with a half bushel of apples and a whole load of recipes I want to make with them. One of the top recipes on my list to make with the apples was this Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad, which is one of my all time favorite recipes from the Best of Healthy Seasonal Recipes list.
This version of Chicken Waldorf Salad is super easy and healthy because it is basically just poached chicken stirred into yogurt dressing with heart healthy walnuts, celery and apples. So basic, but so darn tasty! I love it for lunch because it is high in protein and fiber so it really fills me up but each serving is under 300 calories!
What is Waldorf Salad with Chicken?
If you’re not familiar, Waldorf salad is a classic creamy salad of apples, celery and walnuts. It originated over a hundred years ago at the Waldorf Hotel in NYC. A lot of times you see variations with diced turkey or chicken added in with the apples and walnuts. Or you may see grapes added too.
When I first came up with this recipe in 2011, I had decided to make a healthier Waldorf chicken salad inspired by my Gramma Ginger’s Waldorf Salad recipe. I remember her making it with loads of walnuts and apples with a fresh burst of tarragon. Unfortunately she was not much of a calorie counter and used a ton of mayonnaise to make it creamy. Not only that, but she served it on a split croissant!
How Do You Make Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad?
- To make the chicken, you start with raw boneless skinless chicken breast. I find the easiest way to cook it is to poach it. If you happen to have leftover cooked chicken, that is totally fine. You will need about two medium chicken breasts.
- To make the dressing, whisk together some mayo for creaminess and classic flavor, but not too much since it is so high in calories. I found 1/3 cup is plenty. Then the rest is just fat-free Greek yogurt. That’s the base.
- Then add in the flavor boosts to the dressing: finely chopped shallot or red onion, garlic, white pepper, salt and the secret ingredient: tarragon. Tarragon is so good in creamy chicken salad and it is an ingredient my Grandmother always used. It is amazing. You’ll love it. It has a slight licorice flavor.
- Add all the crunchy things next: celery, apples and walnuts. Those are the three ingredients which all Waldorf salads require.
Steps To Make This Recipe
How To Serve Waldorf Chicken Salad
Skip serving it on the croissant like my grandmother, and serve the Chicken Waldorf Salad over fresh greens for a light and easy lunch. Here are some other ideas what you could pair with this chicken salad:
- Serve it paired with my Cream of Cauliflower Soup for a fall dinner.
- If you still have tomatoes in your garden you could make these Cheddar Roasted Tomatoes.
- Make homemade Whole Wheat Bread and serve it as a sandwich.
- For dessert, make these Apple Oatmeal Walnut Cookies!
What About Left-Over Chicken Salad?
The leftovers keep for up to three days in the fridge. Stir well before serving again as the apples may let off a little liquid.
More Chicken Salad Recipes To Try
- Mexican Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups: These have avocado, pumpkin seeds a bit of spice!
- Chimichurri Chicken Salad: This is a mayonnaise free alternative with lots of fresh herbs.
- Sesame Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Here is a throw together kind of dinner for busy nights.
- Sesame Chicken Salad Wonton Cups: Turn Asian Style chicken salad into a cute appetizer!
- 15 Minute Chicken Salad Bites with Cranberries and Walnuts: Use frozen mini phyllo cups to whip together this hors d’oeuvres.
Don’t miss this Ultimate Guide to Lettuce!
Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad, an easy gluten-free lunch that is high protein but under 300 calories! It has celery, apples, walnuts and poached chicken breast in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing.
- 1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon salt plus a generous pinch for poaching liquid
- ½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dry tarragon
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 large apple, finely diced
- 1 cup chopped celery with leaves
- 1 cup toasted walnut pieces, chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot
- Place chicken in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the chicken is no-longer pink in the center, 12 to 16 minutes (depending on thickness.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized cubes and let cool 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, tarragon, white pepper, granulated garlic (or garlic powder) and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in apple, celery, walnut and onion (or shallot.)
- When the chicken is cool, stir into the yogurt mixture.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 268
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 298 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 21 g