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About This Recipe
This Winter Pecan and Cranberry Chicken Salad is one of the best chicken salad combinations I’ve ever tried! And don’t let the name scare you off. This chicken salad is great ANY time of year, but the sweet and savory flavors are just too perfect for the cooler winter months!
This chicken salad recipe is lighter than traditional recipes because instead of mayonnaise, I used Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. It’s still just as creamy and delicious but mayo can definitely be used too! I’ve also added some vegetables like celery and diced bell pepper to increase the volume and fiber.
You could also use your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey leftovers in place of the chicken to help use them up! I think it pairs so well with the sweet cranberries and pecans!
Why You’ll Love This Winter Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
- It’s sweet, crunchy, savory, creamy, and absolutely delicious!
- The flavor dimension and texture is OUT OF THIS WORLD!
- Packed with protein and lightened up from your traditional chicken salad.
- Such a great recipe for meal prep. Make once and eat all week!
- A great way to sneak some veggies into your day.
- Chicken – any type of cooked and shredded type of chicken will work for this recipe. Rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, canned chicken. Or you can make your own chicken at home to use like with this Basic Shredded Chicken.
- Red onion
- Bell pepper
- Green onions
- Greek yogurt – can also sub for mayo.
- Cottage cheese – can also sub for mayo.
- Ranch seasoning mix – I used this to add flavor. You can use whatever other spices you like!
- Sweetener Sugar or a zero-calorie sweetener like Swerve works great. A tiny touch of sweetness pairs well with the cranberries and pecans!
- Lemon juice
- Pecans – can swap for any nut you prefer! Almonds, walnuts or cashews would also be delicious! Or omit to make it nut-free.
- Cranberries – I used dried cranberries with reduced-sugar.
- Switch up your veggies! I love the bright colors of the fruit and veggies in this recipe but feel free to switch it up! You can add apples, grapes, or diced avocado for additional healthy fat!
- Use leftover roasted turkey instead of chicken! Or use leftover grilled balsamic chicken or air fryer grilled chicken bites for an additional flavor burst!
- Use dates instead of cranberries! Dates taste super similar to cranberries but have a ton of health benefits like extra fiber and antioxidants!
How To Make
The full printable recipe is below, but let me walk you through the process so you know what to expect when you’re making it!
1. Prepare the veggies by washing and dicing them. Then add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, fold all ingredients together.
2. Taste and add salt and pepper to desired liking. Serve as a sandwich, on an open-faced piece of toast, in a lettuce wrap, or eat straight up!
Ways To Enjoy Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
- As a sandwich – serving on a croissant makes this chicken salad 20x better!
- As open-faced sandwich
- As a wrap
- On top of a salad
- Scoop up with some crackers
- Straight up – Enjoy by the forkful. It’s so delicious!
Can I use something other than shredded chicken?
Sure! You can use shredded turkey if you want. It’s a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. If you just don’t want to prepare the chicken yourself, you can always use canned chicken, pre-bought shredded chicken, or shred your own rotisserie chicken.
Can I use mayonnaise for this recipe if I don’t like cottage cheese?
Absolutely! You can easily sub for the Greek yogurt or cottage cheese (or both) for mayo. Do so in equal amounts.
Can I freeze this chicken salad?
I haven’t tried it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Creamy things don’t freeze well so I don’t think the texture would remain the same. Definitely think this salad is best eaten fresh!
What is the best way to chop all the veggies for this recipe?
My favorite (and the quickest) way to chop all the veggies for this recipe is with a veggie chopper/dicer! This kitchen tool is such a major time saver plus I love how it cuts everything up in small, uniform pieces! If you don’t have one of these (even though I highly recommend) you can simply chip everything with a cutting board and sharp knife (or buy precut from the grocery store!).
- 8 cups cooked chicken (900g) can used rotisserie, canned, grilled, Basic Shredded Chicken, etc.
- 5 celery stalks (230g) diced
- 1/2 medium red onion (115g) diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper (75g) diced
- 2 green onions (16g) diced
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese (226g)
- 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt (170g) can sub for mayo
- 2 Tbsp ranch seasoning mix (12g)
- 2 Tbsp granular sweetener or sugar (24g)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (15g)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (64g)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (60g)
- Salt and pepper to taste
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- Prepare the veggies by washing and dicing them.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients. Fold using a wooden spoon until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
- Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Serve as a sandwich, on an open-faced piece of toast, in a lettuce wrap or eat straight up!
- Vegetable chopper optional
Nutrition is hand-calculated and accurate. No autocalulations! However, note that values can vary based on the brands you use and if you substitute ingredients.