Pecan Apple Chicken Salad

I think it is almost mandatory to eat chicken salad a few times a week during the hot months of summer. It is such a light and cool option for dinner…one that does not involve the stove or oven. There are many recipes and variations available…from the traditional with sweet pickles and onions to this lighter recipe with apples, grapes, celery and toasted pecans.

I have been making this recipe for years and recently tried to make a lighter version to make it more healthy. I swapped out the full fat mayonnaise for reduced fat and cut the amount of pecans and honey in half. I also saved calories by serving it on a bed of sweet bibb lettuce instead of bread or crackers.

There are a few different ways you can make the chicken for this recipe. If you are pressed for time, feel free to use a rotisserie chicken. Simply take all the skin off the chicken, remove the meat from the bones and chop into somewhat small pieces. You can also boil boneless, skinless chicken breasts until done and then chop once cooled.

My favorite way is to bake chicken breasts on the bone. For this method, drizzle a little EVOO over the chicken, season with salt & pepper and place skin side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425 and then turn chicken over and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until skin is golden brown and juices run clear. Once cooled, remove the skin, take the chicken off the bone and chop into fairly small pieces.

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken – (Whole Rotisserie, 4 Boneless Skinless Breasts OR 3 Breasts on the Bone)
  • Celery – 2 Stalks Sliced in Half and Then Chopped
  • Apple – 1 Chopped
  • Red Seedless Grapes – 3/4 Cup Chopped in Half
  • Pecans – 1/4 Cup Chopped
  • Reduced Fat Mayonnaise – 1/2 Cup
  • Lemon Juice – 3 – 4 TBSP.
  • Honey – 3 TBSP.
  • Celery Salt – 2 TSP.

DIRECTIONS

Chop  the chicken, celery, apple and grapes into small bite sized pieces and mix together. Roughly chop the pecans and then toast on a baking sheet at 350 for about 8 minutes. This is not a required step, but one that I have found to add an extra bit of toasty, nutty flavor to the chicken salad.

In a separate bowl, mix together the reduced fat mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey & celery salt. Make sure you taste to see if you need to add any additional celery salt.

I always add about half of my dressing to the other ingredients, mix well and then taste to see if I need to add any additional dressing. Usually I do need to add more, but I always like to start out with less.

I hope that you enjoy!

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