Healthy Chicken Salad with Grapes, Apples and Tarragon-Yogurt Dressing

~ This Healthy Chicken Salad with Grapes is bursting with delicious flavors and textures! Juicy grapes, crisp apples and crunchy pecans, all topped off with a you’d-never-guess-it’s-healthy Greek yogurt dressing (secret ingredient alert!). Absolutely fabulous as a weekday sandwich or at a casual picnic, but also special enough for a bridal shower, Mother’s Day tea or ladies’ lunch. It’s so versatile … and we’ve got lots of tips and serving ideas, too! ~

Bursting with delicious flavors and textures! This healthy chicken salad recipe has juicy grapes, crisp apples and crunchy pecans, plus a deliciously healthy Greek yogurt dressing (secret ingredient alert!). A no-mayo chicken salad recipe: perfect at summer picnics! This recipe for chicken salad with grapes is great for a weekday sandwich, but also special enough for a bridal shower, Mother's Day tea or ladies' lunch. So versatile – even serve it as an appetizer! | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
Bursting with delicious flavors and textures! This healthy chicken salad recipe has juicy grapes, crisp apples and crunchy pecans, plus a deliciously healthy Greek yogurt dressing (secret ingredient alert!). A no-mayo chicken salad recipe: perfect at summer picnics! This recipe for chicken salad with grapes is great for a weekday sandwich, but also special enough for a bridal shower, Mother's Day tea or ladies' lunch. So versatile – even serve it as an appetizer! | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Gluten Free  

This chicken salad with grapes also features crisp apples and crunchy pecans. It’s a mayo-free chicken salad recipe with a delicious Greek yogurt dressing – so perfect for summer picnics!

Somewhere out there is a waiter I really need to thank. No idea who he is – I’ve never actually met the guy.

But he’s the key to the secret ingredient that truly elevates this chicken salad recipe to new heights.

You see, back when my twins were tiny toddlers, I loved packing up lunches and heading out on big adventures … well, as big as the zoo or the park gets – and really, with two little ones, that was adventure aplenty!

The ingredients for this healthy chicken salad include fresh, juicy grapes, crisp apples and crunchy pecans. So delicious!

If you’ve been through the toddler years, you know that a mom’s lunch is usually scraps left over from whatever the kiddos just ate. So you’ll understand when I say that an ultimate treat in those days was when, alongside PB&J for the kiddos, I’d throw together a fruity, healthy chicken salad for myself. I’m not kidding – as a frantically busy young mom, that pretty much qualified as deliriously indulgent nirvana (as did Blueberry-White Chocolate Muffins, but that’s another story).

I’d quickly chop some refreshingly juicy grapes and crisp-sweet apples, toss in some crunchy pecans, and head out the door a happy woman, my chicken salad nestled between the sippy cups in the cooler.

But then I learned a life-changing chicken-salad-perfecting secret!

Chicken salad with grapes is always a refreshing twist, and the addition of sweet-tart apples and crunchy pecans is even better! Plus … there’s that secret ingredient: tarragon in the yummy Greek yogurt dressing!

Drumroll, Please … The Secret to the Best (Healthy!) Chicken Salad …

On the topic of chicken salad (because, you know, I’m pretty much always talking about food), my dear friend said to me one day, “Oh – well, you always use tarragon, right?”

What?

“Oh, yes,” she assured me – tarragon was the key to the best chicken salad ever.

And that’s where my nameless, faceless waiter joins our story. My friend explained to me how, while attending a ladies’ luncheon at a local country club, she’d once enjoyed the most fabulously delicious chicken salad recipe she’d ever tasted. The kind waiter whispered to her the secret …

… Yep, you guessed it … tarragon! Always use tarragon!

This Greek yogurt chicken salad recipe is absolutely perfect in wraps for weekday lunches. But it’s special enough for weekend brunches, and special occasions – a great bridal shower recipe, baby shower recipe, or ladies’ luncheon feature!

Now, I’m entrusting that whispered secret to you. Tarragon. Trust me on this.

From that day forward, the juicy grapes and crunchy pecans in my chicken salad were always joined by just a little hit of tarragon. And that, my friends, is the subtle yet decisive difference!

The Joys of Greek Yogurt Dressing (No One Will Ever Guess!)

After Gretchen and I started THK, though, I wondered if I could make one more tiny improvement – a little nutritional upgrade that would make this a truly healthy chicken salad recipe. (Ya know – to earn the coveted THK stamp of approval!)

I really wanted to jettison the reduced-fat and olive oil mayos I’d been using through the years, and swap in Greek yogurt. Because, really, once you discover the versatility of fat-free, protein-packed Greek yogurt, you get kinda caught up in the exciting possibilities! (Ummmmm … ok … I realize that makes me sound like a total food nerd. I own that.)

What makes this recipe so healthy? Besides all the fruit, it’s because this is a Greek yogurt chicken salad recipe, with a super-easy but truly delicious yogurt dressing! That special secret ingredient (tarragon!) really sets our Greek yogurt dressing apart!

So, anyway, I wanted to upgrade to Greek yogurt, to make this a healthy chicken salad with yogurt dressing. Wouldn’t that be a total win?!? But I was absolutely unwilling to compromise on nirvana-esque flavors.

Could I do it???

Yup! Done!

I looked back at some of our other recipes, like our Greek Yogurt Coleslaw (one of our most popular recipes ever!) and our Fruit Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing, and I got to work stirring, adding, mixing and tasting.

Healthy chicken salad sandwiches are always a hit, but we also love this recipe for chicken salad with grapes in a simple wrap – great for workday lunches!

Whether you’re taking a trip to the zoo or munching at your desk, this healthy chicken salad with grapes, apples and pecans makes a fantastic wrap or sandwich. Honestly, though, a whole grain wrap is probably my bread of choice here, since the delicate flavors of the chicken salad aren’t overwhelmed by too much bread. Use what you’ve got, though – really!

The resulting creamy, tangy-tart dressing melds perfectly with the sweet fruit. My family didn’t notice the change at all! It was still absolutely delicious, so they didn’t care one bit that I’d made a teeny nutritional upgrade. I’m betting you and your family will feel the same!

And I guess that’s actually my second secret of the day: Greek yogurt. ‘Nuff said. Lucky you – two secrets today!

The Perfect Chicken for Our Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

One important note on the chicken for this recipe: I don’t want you to get hung up on what chicken to use, or to avoid making this because you never seem to have chicken on hand at the right moment. No, no. You need this chicken salad in your life – so do whatever it takes to make that happen!

Surprise! Our healthy chicken salad recipe is also fantastic as an appetizer! Serve it in endive spears or with crackers!

This healthy chicken salad also makes an easy but elegant appetizer, served in pretty endive spears (or on crackers). If you’re planning to serve it as an appetizer, though, I’d recommend chopping the chicken, grapes, apples, pecans and celery a bit smaller than you would for a sandwich or salad plate – just because that creates a nicer presentation.

What’s the perfect chicken? You’ve got lots of options!

If you’re grilling some chicken breasts or poaching, sautéing or roasting chicken one day, cook up a couple of extra chicken breasts so you can enjoy this salad for lunch all week. Easy! I just recommend that, for this recipe, you don’t use chicken that’s got prominent flavors from marinades or spices, since those might overpower the beautiful flavor profiles of the fruit and tarragon in the salad.

But you wanna know one more little secret? (Ooooohhhhh … that’s three secrets today!)

Rotisserie chicken. (If you hang out around THK much then you probably know that when I’m short on time, I often grab a perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store – we have lots of delicious rotisserie chicken recipes!)

The breast meat from one rotisserie bird (skin removed, of course!) is just about the perfect amount for this recipe. Easy just got even easier! Love that.

So, if you’re keeping track … that’s one killer-good (healthy!) chicken salad recipe, plus three secrets! A mighty good day here at THK!

Looking for a gluten free chicken salad recipe? Serve this up on a bed of crisp lettuce! Our chicken salad with grapes recipe is gluten free … just be sure if you’re serving it with crackers that they’re gluten free, too!

Gluten free serving idea: You can skip the bread altogether and just scoop the chicken salad out onto a bed of leafy lettuces, serving this as a plated salad. Equally fantastic! Those hearty crackers are optional!

And, we all have a waiter to thank.

If you see him, be sure to send my regards.

THK By Shelley

Healthy Chicken Salad with Grapes, Apples and Tarragon-Yogurt Dressing

Preparation 15 min. 2017-07-22T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 0 min. 2017-07-22T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 5 cups of chicken salad     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced, cooked, skinless chicken breasts (see note)
  • 1 cup halved red grapes (or quartered if the grapes are large)
  • 1 cup diced apple (we prefer crisp, sweet apples in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • For serving: spinach or other leafy greens and whole grain wraps or toasted bread for sandwiches; greens as a base for a salad plate; or whole grain crackers or endive spears for serving as an appetizer

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, grapes, apples, pecans, and celery, stirring gently to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, cider vinegar, tarragon, sugar, kosher salt, and mustard.
  3. Pour yogurt dressing over chicken mixture and gently stir to combine evenly.
  4. Serve as desired – as a wrap, sandwich, salad plate or appetizer.

by

Recipe Notes

Chicken: As we mentioned in the post, nearly any boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work in this recipe, as long as they're not overly flavorful from spices or marinades. We recommend simply cooking a couple of extra chicken breasts whenever you're making chicken, so you have extra cooked chicken for this recipe without any extra work. A store-bought rotisserie chicken is another easy option, and the skinless breast meat from one rotisserie chicken should be approximately the right amount for this recipe.

To serve as an appetizer: If you're planning to serve this chicken salad as an appetizer (with crackers or endive spears), you may wish to chop the chicken, grapes, apples, pecans, and celery a little smaller than if you're serving this as a sandwich or salad plate, to create a more finger-food-sized presentation.

Make-ahead tips: You can prepare this salad a few hours or even a day ahead, and refrigerate until serving. Leftovers can be refrigerated for another day or two.

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Looking for More Healthy Chicken Salad Recipes? Check Out …

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Similar to Arby's chicken salad, this loaded version is a chicken salad with grapes, apples, celery and pecans ... plus the crowning flourish of tarragon for something truly special!

Comments

Healthy Chicken Salad with Grapes, Apples and Tarragon-Yogurt Dressing — 18 Comments

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  13. This is one of my favorite summer salads. I am anxious to try the tarragon-yogurt dressing.
    Thanks again for a great recipe!

    • Hi Doris! It really shouldn’t be too difficult to find – it should be in the spice aisle of most grocery stores, right along with all the other jarred spices and dried herbs. I also did some checking online for you, just in case, and it looks like Walmart also carries it, and here are the links for the returns I got on Amazon (here), and on Penzeys (here). Really, though, just grabbing some at the grocery store is probably your quickest, easiest and possibly more cost-effective option. I hope all that helps you – I’m so excited for you to try this chicken salad recipe! Have a wonderful day! 😀 ~Shelley

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