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How to Make Chicken Salad That’s Got Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Okay, so maybe my chicken salad doesn’t have sugar. But it does have spice and everything nice!

It’s a new year and a new you. Are you committed to eating healthy this year? If so, I’ve got a simple and easy recipe for lunch or even dinner. Everyone seems to have their own method for how to make chicken salad. I’ve even posted  two three previous recipes for it. I love chicken salad because it’s super versatile and, when prepared the right way, it can be incredibly healthy. Today, we’re going to talk about all those creamy, dreamy tuna and chicken salads you love, but certainly don’t love you back. I’ve got tips for making decadent chicken and tuna salads as well as a super simple and delicious recipe that’s full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

chicken salad herbed 2

How to Make Chicken Salad Healthy

You see those giant tubs of chicken, tuna, and egg salad calling your name at the deli counter. You might not think you’ll be able to resist, but the key to forgoing high-cal, high-fat foods like this is making versions that are just as delicious without all the extras. Try these tips for making healthier chicken, tuna, and egg salads.

  • Cut the mayo in half (or more)—most recipes you find online don’t require nearly the amount of mayo called for. Experiment with different ratios until you find an amount that works for you. Also remember that it’s easy to add mayo, but almost impossible to take it out. Start slowly, adding a couple of teaspoons at a time until you find the perfect consistency. Oh, one last note. Avoid LIGHT/FAT-FREE mayo and condiments like they’re the plague. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat some egg yolks and oil (i.e. the main ingredients in mayonnaise) than some chemical sh*t storm called ‘light mayo.’
  • Consider mayo alternatives—I’ll admit that chicken and tun salad just aren’t chicken or tuna salad without mayo. But for some of you, you’re totally happy with a mayo alternative and that’s great! Plain Greek yogurt, different mustard varieties, and even a ripe mashed avocado are all excellent choices. You can even choose to dress your chicken or tuna salad in an oil and vinegar based dressing. My Asian chicken salad doesn’t use any mayo whatsoever!
  • Go for fiber, veggies, and crunch—Why do people like chicken and tuna salad so much? Because there’s about a million different ways to make it! From curried chicken salad to Waldorf chicken salad, there are a ton of recipes out there. Use whatever ingredients you have on hand to make the chicken, tuna, or egg salad that works for you. Try celery, dill, chopped walnuts, and Greek yogurt one day. Try dried cranberries, grated carrots, and parsley the next. Variety is truly the spice of life! Not only does it keep you from getting bored, it also makes sure you’re getting an adequate amount of nutrients like fiber and protein from a variety of sources.

One last little note before we get to today’s recipe. I actually used leftover grilled chicken in my fridge for this. In fact, almost all my chicken salad recipes use some sort of leftover chicken. Unless I’m truly craving it, very rarely will I cook chicken specifically for chicken salad. You are of course welcome to do whatever is easiest for you 🙂

chicken salad herbed

Print Recipe
Herbed Chicken Salad With Cilantro, Parsley, and Smoked Paprika
Feel free to double or triple this recipe for multiple servings.
  1. Cut the chicken up into a fine dice. The finer, the better. Smaller pieces will taste moister and get coated with the mayo.
  2. Remove any stems from the fresh parsley and cilantro and chop very finely. Add to the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle a dash of smoked paprika on the chicken and herb mixture. Be careful as it can be very easy to go overboard with paprika. Gradually mix in the mayo, adding more or less depending on how you prefer your chicken salad.
  4. Scoop into lettuce leaves for a chic and healthy lunch, dinner, or even snack.
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