Green Apple & Cranberry Chicken Salad – a healthy make ahead lunch! Plus, my new hack to making chicken salad FAST! Whole30, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free.
This is the lunch that I absolutely cannot stop eating. Green apple and cranberry chicken salad on a bed of spring lettuce topped with sliced almonds. This + a LaCroix has become my official lunch of summer.
I love it because I can make it ahead, and it enough for my lunch for the whole week. Afternoons can get a little hectic with a 1.5 year old, and I don’t want to spend a ton of time making myself something to eat. But this chicken salad I can have ready in under a minute. I just grab a big handful of spring lettuce, scoop out some chicken salad and sprinkle on the almonds. A healthy and nourishing lunch that tastes delicious and is ready in a flash!
I got the inspiration for this chicken salad at my favorite deli in town. They do these same flavors, and the tart and sweet apple with the tart and sweet cranberries is perfection.
I always love their chicken salad because it is chopped super fine. It is almost like a tuna consistency. I never liked when my hunks of chicken salad would spill out of my lettuce cups, but with this super fine chop, it stays together and the flavors combine better than before.
To achieve this same fine chop, I let my food processor do all of the work for me! This is SOOOO much easier than chopping everything by hand like I used to.
I’m a huge fan or roasting/grilling the chicken over poaching it. When you poach the chicken, all the flavor of the chicken goes in to the water. Think about it, that is how you make chicken broth. But my roasting/grilling the chicken all the flavor stays in the chicken. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, it chops up in the food processor into little, delicious chicken chunks.
This chicken salad has celery, tart and sweet green apple, tart and sweet cranberries. I get apple juice sweetened cranberries so this chicken salad is paleo/whole30. I get them at Whole Foods in the bulk section, and they are also available on Amazon.
And I of course use my homemade paleo & whole30 mayonnaise. So delicious in this chicken salad.
I add the sliced almonds when serving. I find that when you add the nuts to the chicken salad, they get a little soggy. I like the crunch they add, so I sprinkle them on right before I eat it.
I’ve been loving this chicken salad on a bed of spring lettuce, but I’ve also done it in butter lettuce cups or just used cucumber slices to scoop it up and eat it. If bread is ok on your diet, it is of course delicious as a sandwich!
This is such a wonderful make ahead lunch that is so healthy! Whole30, paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free.
- (2) 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 large green apple, cored and cut into 1" chunks (I leave the skin on)
- (5) 6" long celery stalks, trimmed and cut into 2" chunks
- ½ cup juice sweetened dried cranberries
- ½ cup homemade paleo mayonnaise (or store bought paleo mayo)
- ½ teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon pepper, and more to taste
- Toasted, sliced almonds sprinkled on top when serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165º, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Remove from oven, and allow to rest until cool enough to touch. Then chop into 1" chunks
- In your food processor with the S-Blade attachment, pulse the celery until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium size bowl.
- Then pulse the apples until finely chopped. Transfer to the same bowl as the celery.
- Then pulse the chicken until finely chopped. Transfer to the same bowl as the apple and celery.
- Add the mayo, dried cranberries, salt and pepper to the chopped apple, celery and chicken. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or mayo if desired.
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Best eaten at least 1 hour after refrigerating so the flavors can marinate. Will keep refrigerated for 1 week.
- Before serving, top sprinkled with sliced almonds. If you add the almonds when making, the almonds get soggy. I like them sprinkled on fresh so they stay crunchy.
- Scoop served on top of spring greens. No dressing needed! Then sprinkle on sliced almonds. (This is my favorite way!)
- Scoop into butter lettuce cups and eat like lettuce wraps. Top sprinkled with sliced almonds.
- Eat it scooped on to cucumber slices, celery slices, carrot sticks, etc.
- Not paleo, but this is obviously great on bread as a sandwich too! (This is how my husband eats it)
More Whole30 Lunch Recipes
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