One of the hallmarks of my childhood has always been that the Randall household is a mayo-free establishment. In our house BLT’s are just that – bacon, lettuce and tomato. No mayo. Ever.
So, it goes without saying that naturally, I developed my own distaste for it as well (despite a short-lived aioli phase haha). Instead, I’ve always been a mustard gal. Dijon, grey poupon, or just your classic French’s yellow mustard – I want ALL the mustard, ALL the time. Give me a bratwurst from Top Dog (only the BEST hot dog in Berkeley) and in less than a blink of an eye, that thing is no longer mustard-free.
And it’s not just hot dogs. My mom and I have a mutual agreement that we could put mustard on just about anything and it would taste good. You could give us plastic food with mustard on it and we probably wouldn’t even notice. So, for me, substituting mayo with mustard in chicken salad was a no-brainer.
Call it criminal to remove the mayo, but I couldn’t help myself. This chicken salad is a lighter take on a classic and tangier version at that. It’s not trying to imitate your traditional chicken salad. Consider it chicken salad re-envisioned. It hits all the right notes and is unapologetically mayo-free. And more importantly, it’s better for you. With apple cider vinegar (which lowers cholesterol and fights bad bacteria) and turmeric (a great anti-inflammatory spice), this recipe is deceptively healthier than the classic, but just as indulgent.
Calories per Serving: 402 cal
- Dijon chicken salad (see below)
- 10 oz package of super greens (blend of spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded carrots (1/2 cup per plate)
- 1/4 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 1/4 dried cranberries
- 1 green onion
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
For the Chicken Salad:
- 1 lb. shredded chicken (see preparation)
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt + 1 tsp pepper
Lemon-Dijon Salad Dressing:
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the chicken breasts on the sheet. Brush each chicken breast in a light coat of olive oil, then sprinkle each with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning (about a 1 tsp each per chicken breast).
- Pop the chicken into the oven for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from the oven, and cut through each to check doneness (you want the chicken to be on the drier side because it will absorb moisture from the chicken salad base). Depending on the size of the chicken, you can always put it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes if needed. Allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes before beginning to shred with two forks.
- Set the shredded chicken aside, and begin thinly slicing the celery until you have a full cup of sliced celery to use.
- Next, grab a large bowl. Measure out the greek yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and mustard into the bowl. Whisk these ingredients together and toss in the chicken and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper).
- Pour the contents of the bowl into a sealable container. Chicken salad always tastes better the next day so you can make this a day ahead.
- To begin working on the salad, start by making the dressing. In a small blender, add the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, honey, and apple cider vinegar and emulsify the dressing. You can add any desired salt and pepper but because mustard is higher in sodium, I typically don’t add any salt to the dressing.
- Set the dressing in the fridge while you start prepping the ingredients for the rest of the salad. Taking the cherry tomatoes, measure out one cup onto a cutting board and cut them in half. Set these aside and coarsely chop the walnuts. Once this is done, take a large bowl and combine the salad greens, tomatoes and walnuts. Slowly add in the dressing, reserving some so as not to drown your salad in dressing (you can always add in more if needed).
- To plate the salad, add a serving of the salad greens first. You can use a spoon/fork to push the greens around the edge of the plate to form a wreath. Then, you can top the greens with the cranberries and feta.
- Take the shredded carrots and fill the space in the middle of the plate to form a bed for the chicken salad. Using a measuring cup (I used 1/2 cup) or mason jar lid, pack in the chicken salad and flip over onto the carrots. Don’t freak out if it comes out looking like a blob, you can always reshape it with a spoon.
- As an optional final step, take a green onion and thinly slice it to top the chicken salad with if desired.
- Any unused chicken salad can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days!
As always, thank you for reading, and please let me know if you try this recipe!