Our healthy Waldorf chicken salad recipe is an easy, healthy recipe that you can whip up in just 30 minutes. Perks of making this salad? No effort, no waiting, and a story to tell others! (That is, if you have guests.)
What Is Waldorf Chicken Salad?
If you’re wondering whether Waldorf chicken salad has anything to do with regular chicken salad, it does not. It is a variation of the Waldorf salad, a side dish named after a New York restaurant.
In 1896, Oscar Tschirky came up with a salad recipe for a charity ball at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. The decision was wild, but the outcome was not— it became an instant success.
In fact, the decision marked the recipe’s first appearance in The Cook Book by “Oscar of the Waldorf.”
At the time, the Waldorf salad recipe called for only celery and apples, dressed in mayonnaise and served on lettuce. Later on, different versions of the salad appeared, and they shared a long list of ingredients.
We think the Waldorf chicken salad recipe is the best and would like to introduce it to you.
How Healthy Is Our Waldorf Chicken Salad?
Unless drenched in mayonnaise, the Waldorf chicken salad is considered healthy on its own.
For starters, the leanest cut of chicken is often used— chicken breast. Compared to other parts of the animal, chicken breast is 22.5% protein, more packed than other parts.
Our version of Waldorf salad is even healthier since less than half a cup of Japanese mayonnaise is used. This brings the saturated fat content of each serving to only 2.6 grams, totally within our guidelines.
Additionally, we thought adding walnuts was a good idea to make the salad’s flavor and nutritional profiles more diverse. They are also known to be rich in omega-3 fats and benefit our brain/heart.
You can add several ingredients to this recipe to enhance the flavor and increase the nutrients.
What Goes with Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad?
Here are things you can add to this Waldorf chicken salad recipe:
To add juiciness, you can finely chop a red apple and add the bits to your salad. They will make the dish more appetizing and healthier by adding vitamin C as well as fiber.
2. Raisins/Dried Berries
It doesn’t matter if this recipe already calls for fresh grapes. It’s fun to have chewy bits in a salad, which fresh fruits can’t provide.
You can use either raisins, dried berries, or both, depending on your liking. Do it moderately, though, as they can add calories to your dish.
There are a variety of nuts that provide nuttiness and good fats. Why stick to one when you can go wild?
You can add as much chopped pecans/almonds as you like. Keep in mind that they add calories to your dish, too.
This perfect side for light meals is an excellent example that includes pecans.
Things to Add to Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad Dressing
1. Greek Yogurt
When it comes to choosing dairies to make dressings, we couldn’t help but fall in love with Japanese mayonnaise. It has a sweet undertone rather than a sour one like traditional mayo.
That’s not to say that Waldorf salad can’t go well with another dressing besides Japanese mayonnaise. You can use half mayonnaise and half Greek yogurt to preserve the creaminess, but reduce the saturated fat content even more. Or you can try dijon mustard for another tasty side for lunch or dinner — it’s all up to you!
2. Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a spicy mix of seasoning powders mainly comprised of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano. Yes, it goes against the traditional flavor profile of Waldorf dressing, but we’ve tried and thought it was awesome.
How to Make Healthy Waldorf Salad with Chicken
This is a short version of our healthy Waldorf chicken salad recipe. Check the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
Boil the chicken: Boil the chicken, leave it to cool, then cube it into bite-sized pieces.
Make the sauce: Mix lemon juice, salt, mayonnaise, and black pepper in a large bowl.
Toss the salad: Add the rest of the ingredients in a large salad bowl, then add the dressing. Toss to combine.
Serve: Place lettuce on serving plates. Place the tossed vegetables and chicken on top and serve.
How Do You Eat Waldorf Chicken Salad?
- Traditionally: Shred the Romaine lettuce and toss it along with other ingredients. Serve the salad in bowls with forks.
- For BBQs: Using a fork at a BBQ sounds a bit off, does it? Since people pick up their food with their hands, you might as well leave lettuce as-is, allowing guests to make little wraps.
- To fill your tummy: There is nothing wrong with having salads as main meals. Sandwich the salad between two slices of bread, white or whole grain, for a convenient, yet nutrient-packed meal.
Can You Freeze Waldorf Chicken Salad?
If you’re planning 1-2 days ahead, we’re sorry to say this salad can’t be frozen, like most salads. Leafy greens, when thawed, will turn mushy, which doesn’t make for a good salad.
Instead, you can prep the ingredients and refrigerate them separately. When it’s time to serve, simply take them out and mix to serve.
Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe
- 6 oz skinless boneless chicken breast
- 6 oz romaine lettuce shredded (or leave it whole)
- 1 oz celery diced
- 2.6 oz grapes halved
- 1.4 oz red onion diced
- 1 oz walnuts chopped
- 2 tbsp basil chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 5 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- Boil the chicken for 15 minutes on medium heat, leave to cool, and then cube into bite-sized pieces. While the chicken’s boiling, prep the vegetables. You can shred the lettuce or leave it as is to make delicious wraps.
- Mix lemon juice and salt in a large bowl until the salt dissolves. Add mayonnaise and black pepper, and mix well.
- Add the rest of the ingredients in a large salad bowl, then add the dressing. Toss to combine.
- Place the lettuce on a serving dish, then add the mixture we just made on top of it. Decorate with basil and serve.