Fall Chicken Salad with Apples, Cranberries & Pecans
Fall Chicken Salad with tart Granny Smith apples, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy toasted pecans. Serve it as a sandwich on soft whole wheat bread or in lettuce as a lettuce wrap. Perfect autumn lunch!
You would not believe how many earthquakes we have had here the East Bay Area of California the past 2 weeks. Over 200! I’m serious. Apparently we are in the middle of a quake storm, and they are expecting it to last a few more weeks. And the fault line where they are all happening is in San Ramon, where Shawn and I live. Just a mile from our house. Isn’t that just wonderful?
Most of them are tiny. It just feels like a big truck is driving by. But a few of them have been big. The whole house shakes, and you can hear loud banging as the walls move. When they start, I jump up ready to bolt outside. Our house is really old, and I don’t know how well it would hold up if the quake ends up being huge. But the quakes have mostly been small, and are over in about 3 seconds.
After each earthquake hits, I ask Shawn, “Did you feel that?!” Which is quickly becoming my most uttered phrase in this house, because it’s also what I ask Shawn whenever he has his hand on my growing my belly and the baby kicks.
“Did you feel that?!”
“Did you feel that?!”
“Did you feel that?!”
Between earthquakes and baby kicks, that’s pretty much all I say now.
Another phrase you can constantly hear in our house is “What do you want for lunch?”. Most days I’m a good wife and make Shawn a lunch to take to work. If I’m lucky, we have enough dinner leftovers for Shawn to eat the next day. But he’s a good eater, and I’m eating for 2 now, so it’s rare we have leftovers anymore.
Shawn was getting sick of his usual turkey sandwich lunch that he’s had for the millionth day in a row, and asked if there is something else he could have for lunch. I whipped up a big batch of this fall chicken salad, and used it to make him sandwiches for the week. He was one happy fella!
This fall chicken salad is the perfect make ahead lunch for the week. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more the flavors intensify. So the night before, I just spread out a big scoop on some bread, add some lettuce, and done!
The flavors of this fall chicken salad is everything you want for autumn. Juicy chicken breasts, tart Granny Smith Apples, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy toasted pecans. I’m a big fan of chicken salads with mayonnaise, especially my homemade 3-minute mayo, but if you’re not a mayo fan you could definitely swap out greek yogurt instead.
The secret to a great chicken salad is all in the chicken. I always use chicken breasts, I like white meat better than dark meat. A lot of recipes are going to tell you to poach the chicken. Don’t! All of the flavor of the chicken are going to go into the poaching water. Think about it, that is how you make flavorful chicken broth after all.
Instead, I like to roast my chicken breasts in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasting the chicken gives it a much more intense chicken flavor. You’ll be blown away by how much tastier the chicken salad is!
Fall Chicken Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pecans
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I get my chicken from ButcherBox, which I highly recommend)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 Granny Smith apple, skin left on, chopped, about 1-1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped unsalted roasted pecans
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped, about 1/2 cup
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise, or sub greek yogurt
- whole wheat bread
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the oven rack in the upper 1/3. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. About 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Chop into 1/2" cubes. Will be about 2 cups.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the chopped chicken breasts, apple, dried cranberries, pecans, celery and mayonnaise. Stir to combine.
- Serve the chicken salad on whole wheat bread with lettuce to serve as a sandwich, or in lettuce cups to serve as lettuce wraps.
- Will keep in an airtight container refrigerated for 5 days. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better the flavor!
More Lunch Recipes
Curried Chicken Salad and Apple Wraps
Beef Dip Sandwich with Gruyere and Grilled Onions
Pear and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad
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24 Comments on “Fall Chicken Salad with Apples, Cranberries & Pecans”
Oh my gosh! How scary! I’m not sure I could handle all those earthquakes! Eric sounds very similar to Shawn, I feel like as soon as I wake up in the morning he is asking me what is for dinner, haha! I just made a similar sandwich with chickpeas and it was so good! I love fall sandwiches :)
Ah! So scary!!! I hope all of that ends soon! That would really freak me out!
And I am so with you on the roasting vs poaching! Who thought of that anyway! No flavor in poaching!
I make Nick lunch everyday too! I know he would LOVE this chicken salad! Putting it on the list for next week! ;-)
And as for the earthquakes, I didn’t even know we were having that many…perhaps they aren’t making it down to Southern California! So scary for you! I hate earthquakes!
I totally thought I felt a tremor or two while in Monterey… but I don’t know what one feels like, so I’m not sure. I hope they remain small!! So many Fall flavors going on in this sandwich. I can see why Shawn loved it! The apples and cranberries make me hungry for a sandwich packed with Fall flavors! Thank you for this my dear! xx
My dad told me about all the earthquakes- so crazy!! I guess it is better than a big one? Living far away now makes earthquakes seem strange and scarier than when I was back home. I definitely don’t miss them! The last biggish earthquake I experienced was while I was making cakepops. Worst timing ever! Half of them fell of the sticks. I LOVE chicken salad too! A good reminder to whip up a batch again.
Earthquakes seem so scary. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced one!
This chicken salad is a perfect fall lunch choice. I know that very next thing was that you were getting ready to invite me over to enjoy this, right? ;-)
That’s too funny that both the earthquakes and your little guy are making you ask, “Did you feel that?” This chicken salad looks like my perfect lunch. I always add apples, cranberries, and nuts to my chicken salad. They add so much yummy texture and flavor!
How did you know?! I have been seriously craving a chicken salad sandwich lately and this looks like it will hit the spot just right. I will definitely be making your homemade mayo to go with.
Oh my goodness, that’s so scary! We’ve only ever had one earthquake about 2 years ago but it was a teeny tiny one. Stay safe! I love all the fall goodies you added to this chicken salad! It’s the perfect lunch!
Yikes! I think I would be a little scared if I lived with constant earthquakes! Of course, I’ve never actually felt one, living in the Canadian prairies, so maybe it’s just something you get used to! :) This chicken salad looks amazing, love the addition of pecans and cranberries!
Oh my gosh, I HATE earthquakes! We’re exactly next to a fault line as well. A few years ago they were ever so clever and started drilling into the ground to install a geothermal pump. They had to stop in the middle because we were getting SO many earthquakes, it was quite scary!
I love these chicken salad sandwiches, they are so full of fall flavors! Make -ahead lunches are the best!
I heard about all those earthquakes! That’s crazy. This chicken salad looks wonderful!
Oh my gosh I am craving this so bad right now! I would be so excited for lunch every day at work with this sitting in the fridge :). I can’t wait to make this! And I totally agree, roasting the chicken is the way to go! Pinned :).
That is so crazy! I’ve only felt one earthquake and it was in California. I can’t imagine 200 in 2 weeks! I am SO excited for your baby to come!
Chicken salad is my fav! I love adding fruit and nuts to it – such a great combo. I can’t wait to try your version! You know I’m a huge fan of that 3-minute mayo.. pretty sure I link to it all the freakin’ time! ;) And omg – earthquakes are something I’ve never really experienced. We had a small one once here – and by small I mean it wasn’t really felt by anyone, just a few things fell off shelves. Stay safe!
Oh my goodness how scary is that?! That wold totally freak me out too! Stay safe over there!
All the earthquakes have been crazy! I’m hoping this doesn’t mean the “Big One” is coming. :( I love chicken salad, and this sounds especially great with all of the fall goodness! Perfect lunch right here. :)
I’m not usually a big chicken salad sandwich fan, but this looks really good. Might have to try it. That’s crazy about the earthquakes!! I guess we all get used to where we live, but I find it hard to imagine that the ground can just start to shake! So scary. I live in a place where earthquakes don’t happen, but winter driving happens… ugggggh. Equally dangerous?! I would love to live in California in general, though.
Now I’m totally craving chicken salad for breakfast! I love all of the fall flavors in here, Natalie! This is definitely happening in my kitchen soon!
I’m a total sucker for any kind of super-creamy chicken salad, but loading it up with all the fall things too?? I have no doubt I would just eat this from the bowl with a spoon. ;) Looks AWESOME, Natalie! xoxo