Don’t Heat the House (Healthier) Chicken Salad

It has been hot in Seattle recently (broke records in April and May!), and we don’t have air conditioning. I went looking through my recipes for something that didn’t involve the oven, stove, or crockpot. I came across my Healthier Chicken Salad Recipe that even Derek, who doesn’t like chicken salad because of the mayo base, likes! I love that you can create so many variations of this recipe, which it also makes it easier to use whatever you have on hand. See some of my suggestions below!


Prep Time: 20-30 min.

Feeds: 4-6 people. Yields about 8 cups.


  • 1 rotisserie chicken or 4 cups of cooked chicken, pulled
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (you can use dried cherries, Dad!)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (I leave this out because Derek isn’t a fan)
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (toasted walnuts and toasted almonds are other yummy options)
  • 1 cup halved grapes (try chopped apples for more of a crunch)

Spread a single layer of pecans on your baking sheet, and Chopped chicken.JPGtoast at 350°F for about 5-10 minutes, stirring throughout. They are finished when they are golden brown and aromatic. Chop pecans (not too fine, as you want that crunch!). This is a handy job for my food chopper, and a fun job for kids.

Pull or chop chicken into bite size pieces. Feel free to use your food processor to help with the chopping! I was tired after getting home from work, so my pieces are a little bit bigger than normal. I used a rotisserie chicken, so I wouldn’t have to heat the house cooking chicken. Grilled chicken is also a delicious option.

Stir together pulled chicken, dried cranberries, celery (optional), chopped and toasted pecans, and halved grapes until evenly mixed. Set aside.



Dressing Ingredients:Dressing.JPG

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Whisk (or stir) all ingredients until well blended. Feel free to play with the amount of honey, salt, and pepper, so it suits your tastes.Chicken salad

Add dressing to chicken mix. I recommend adding
parts of dressing at a time to reach your desired chicken to dressing ratio. I know my mom always prefers less dressing, while my grandma prefers more!


You decide – is it a meal or an appetizer? Serve your chicken salad with crackers, such as Wheat Thins. Stuff it in a pita or between slices of bread. Otherwise, chicken salad works great on a bed of lettuce. Butter lettuce makes great little cups in you want to eat with your fingers.


2 thoughts on “Don’t Heat the House (Healthier) Chicken Salad

  1. Amy and I have a similar recipe for “Sonoma” chicken salad, though we usually serve it over home-made bread…kinda defeating the whole avoid the oven strategy. 😛 We also make borscht from time to time. It can be made ahead and served cold on a hot day.


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