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Sandwiches

Classic Chicken Salad With Grapes

Let’s make a classic salad with chicken and wine! This is my favorite gluten-free chicken salad recipe. You’ll love how easy it is to make and how many different ways you can serve it! (Paleo, gluten free, whole 30 friendly!)

When it’s this hot outside, I love rotating through my list of no-cook & low cook dinner recipes for easy dinner ideas. This classic chicken salad with grapes is always a winner!

We love chicken salad in practically all of its iterations, from chicken salad with dried cranberries and apples to curried chicken salad to BLT chicken salad and more! But the chicken salad recipe we come back to the most is definitely this one.

The combination of tender chicken, an easy creamy dressing, crunchy veggies and juicy grapes gives you the perfect combination of flavors and textures. This classic sandwich makes this a great option when you want something delicious AND easy. It’s also very easy to make even with food allergies and intolerances! 

Made with the classic ingredients I grew up with and a few special tricks for the best texture and flavor, this easy recipe will be one of your favorites, too.

Here’s all you need to get started on this gluten-free chicken salad…

simple ingredients for my classic chicken salad recipe:

  • COOKED CHICKEN. This is a GREAT way to use leftover chicken, whether that’s a store-bought rotisserie chicken, or leftover poached chicken, roasted chicken, or baked chicken from another use. I’ve even made it with simply grilled chicken before! I like cooked, shredded boneless skinless chicken breasts. 
  • GRAPES. Red grapes or purple grapes are the prettiest and most classic for chicken salad, but you can totally use green grapes or any grape you like. I usually halve or quarter them so they’re easier to eat. (Also, if you’re not buying seedless grapes, make sure you remove the seeds first!) 
  • CELERY. For some good crunch and some freshness, a little crisp celery is one of my favorite additions to chicken salad.
  • TOASTED ALMONDS (OR OTHER NUTS!). Most the chicken salad I grew up eating had toasted almonds in it, so that’s my go-to nut. In my grown-up life, I’ve also had crunchy cashews, toasted pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. If you can, I recommend using toasted nuts or roasted/salted nuts for more flavor.
  • GREEN ONION. For a mild onion flavor, I usually use green onion in my classic chicken salad recipe. You can swap out for chives or finely minced red onion if you prefer!
  • MAYO + LEMON JUICE. One of my favorite tricks for chicken salad is using a mix of mayo and fresh lemon juice. One of my favorite tricks for chicken salad is using a mix of mayo and fresh lemon juice. The lemon adds great flavor and a slight tang. I love that it brightens up all the other flavors and keeps this feeling fresh and light. (Not a mayo fan? See the FAQ!)
  • SALT + PEPPER + FRESH HERBS (IF YOU WANT). Then, for a final hit of extra flavor, I use a simple mix of salt and black pepper. If I want it to look extra pretty, I like to add some fresh herbs (if I have them on hand). You can use chives, parsley, dill, or tarragon. Whatever you have or like!

yummy ways to eat this chicken salad with grapes:

Maybe the best part of this perfect chicken salad is the variety of ways to serve it! Now that you have all that delicious gluten-free chicken salad, try one of these delicious serving ideas: 

  • ON CROISSANTS OR ROLLS. Classic chicken salad in croissants was ubiquitous at baby and bridal showers that I attended growing up, so I totally associate it with croissants or rolls.
  • IN SANDWICHES OR TOASTED SANDWICHES. We often eat our chicken salad in regular sandwiches or with toasted bread. (The contrast of crispy toasted bread with the creamy chicken salad = the best chicken salad sandwich!) Feel free to add lettuce or tomato slices to go with it!
  • ROLLED INTO A WRAP. Or, wrap up that chicken salad with some lettuce in a tortilla, sandwich wrap, or grain-free wrap (like Siete brand) for a more manageable sandwich.
  • SCOOPED OVER GREENS. Keep things light and fresh by scooping your chicken salad over a big bed of lettuce or salad greens. Spring mix, arugula, and spinach are some of my favorites.  You don’t even need dressing thanks to the chicken salad!
  • SPOONED INTO LETTUCE CUPS. For a lower carb, or grain-free option, you can spoon chicken salad into lettuce cups for lettuce wraps. Butter lettuce is my favorite for this, but you can use any large lettuce leaves you like (romaine lettuce works great!).
  • WITH CRACKERS FOR DIPPING. Or, give this classic chicken salad a snack-y feel by serving it with gluten-free crackers for dipping. (See the FAQ for some of our favorites!)

PRO TIP: SCALE IT FOR A PARTY!

This healthy chicken salad is such an easy meal for parties! It can easily be made in a big batch to feed a large group. Next time you’re serving a crowd, just double or triple the amounts, then set out buns, bread or lettuce and let everyone serve themselves! You can even mix it up the day before so it’s ready to go the next day! (I recommend adding the nuts right before serving for best results)

faq + tips and tricks for the best classic chicken salad:

CAN I LIGHTEN THIS UP A BIT? Sure! My chicken salad recipe uses less mayo than many do, but if you want to lighten it up further, you can either use less mayo, or swap out half the mayo for plain Greek yogurt. (You could even do all yogurt–just know it’ll be tangy!)

OUR FAVORITE GLUTEN-FREE BREAD + CRACKERS. If you’re gluten-free, we recommend Canyon Bakehouse, Three Bakers (toasted!), or Trader Joe’s gluten-free bread for chicken salad sandwiches. If you’re looking for crackers, we’ve liked Schar brand, Simple Mills, and Hu Kitchen crackers. (Simple Mills + Hu Kitchen are both paleo-approved!)

HOW LONG DOES CHICKEN SALAD STAY FRESH? Cooked chicken typically stays good for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge, according to the USDA, so you’re probably safest if you eat this chicken salad within that time frame. It’s part of what makes this easy chicken salad recipe such a great meal prep lunch!

PALEO? WHOLE30? READ THIS. This delicious chicken salad recipe is 100% paleo & whole30 friendly, so long as you use paleo-approved mayo and serve it in a compliant way. I suggest serving it in lettuce cups, scooped over greens, rolled into Siete grain-free wraps, or with grain-free crackers (like Simple Mills or Hu Kitchen) for dipping.

classic chicken salad with grapes

This chicken salad with grapes is my go-to chicken salad recipe! It comes together in no time and tastes amazing. (Paleo, Gluten-Free, Whole30-Friendly!)
Prep Time 20 days
Total Time 20 days
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 5

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. cooked shredded chicken breast or chicken thighs (about 3–3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved or quartered (or your favorite color)
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds*
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/3–1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2–3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1–2 Tablespoons fresh herbs (optional), such as chives, parsley, fresh dill, or tarragon

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, grapes, celery, almonds, green onion, 1/3 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • Use a spatula or fork to stir the mixture until it’s well combined. Taste and add additional mayo, lemon juice, salt, or pepper, as desired.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, if using.
  • Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days.
  • Serve with bread, toast, croissants, rolls, crackers (or lettuce for a low-carb option!) 

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