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Easy Chicken Salad (Without Celery)

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This simple chicken salad without celery is full of flavor and texture. Perfect in a sandwich or on a bed of lettuce for a light dinner or lunch.

This easy chicken salad recipe is made from poached and shredded chicken breasts, along with a few other simple ingredients.

birds eye view of chicken salad.

The ingredients

The full ingredient amounts for this delicious salad are listed in the printable recipe card below but here is a rundown.

  • Chicken breasts, or your favorite rotisserie chicken.
  • Mayonnaise – Creamy mayo combines the salad
  • Dijon mustard (or use wholegrain or yellow mustard) – brings great flavor
  • Toasted walnuts – These give some crunch
  • Grapes – Red grapes bring a little color and natural sweetness to the chicken salad.
  • Chopped chives – brings just a little bite. This can be substituted with scallions or green onion. If you like it spicier, you could substitute the green onions with red onions.
  • Fresh thyme – This can be swapped for dried thyme but you’ll need to use a lot less as dry is stronger in taste than fresh herbs.
  • Lemon zest and lemon juice – Brings a little freshness.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
chicken salad with a spoon.

Poaching the chicken

If you’re using fresh chicken breasts, they’ll need to be poached and shredded before using.

Place the raw chicken breasts in a large saucepan over medium heat and cover them with cold water.

Add some salt to the water. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn it to low. Add a lid to the saucepan. Let the chicken breasts poach in the salted water for around 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F / 74°C.

Remove the chicken from the water and let it rest on a plate, covered with foil until cooled to room temperature. Once at room temperature, if you’re not using the chicken right away, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Method

Use two forks or your hands to shred the cooled chicken breasts into small pieces. Add them to a large bowl.

On a cutting board, roughly chop the walnut halves. Take a dry pan and place it over medium heat. Add in the walnuts and stir while they toast, for around 4-5 minutes until they’re lightly toasted. Take the pan off the heat and let the walnuts cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add them to the bowl of shredded chicken.

Slice the grapes into quarters and remove the seeds if they’re not seedless grapes. and finely chop the chives and thyme leaves. Add them to the chicken along with the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.

ingredients for chicken salad no celery.

Toss it all together to coat. Taste the salad and add a little more salt and pepper as necessary.

Additions and substitutions

Make your own version of this homemade chicken salad recipe by adding and swapping some of the ingredients.

  • The walnuts can be substituted for almonds or pecans. Nuts are a great addition because they add the perfect amount of crunch.
  • If you’re after a more healthy chicken salad, you can swap a half cup mayonnaise for Greek yogurt
  • Stir through some sweet pickle relish instead of the lemon juice
  • Add in some diced red bell pepper for extra veggies.
  • Swap the grapes for green apples if you like the salad less sweet
  • For a chicken bacon salad, toss in some crispy bacon bits.
  • Add a little curry powder to make a curried chicken salad
a bowl of chicken salad with a spoon.

Serving

Serve the chicken salad in lettuce wraps, on top of a green salad, or make the best chicken salad recipe by generously spreading it in between slices of sourdough bread.

Leftover chicken salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. See more information on freezing chicken salad.

bowl of chicken salad.

Chicken Salad without Celery

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This simple chicken salad without celery is full of flavor and texture. Perfect in a sandwich or on a bed of lettuce for a light dinner or lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb/450g chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup red grapes
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Cooking the chicken

  1. Place the raw chicken breasts in a large saucepan over medium heat and cover them with about an inch/2.5cm of cold water.
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the water. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn it to low. Add a lid to the saucepan. Let the chicken breasts poach in the salted water for around 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F / 74°C.
  3. Remove the chicken from the water and let it rest on a plate, covered with foil until cooled to room temperature. Once at room temperature, if you're not using the chicken right away, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Salad

  1. Use two forks or your hands to shred the cooled chicken breasts into small pieces. Add them to a large bowl.
  2. On a cutting board, roughly chop the walnut halves. Take a dry pan and place it over medium heat. Add in the walnuts and stir while they toast, for around 4-5 minutes until they're lightly toasted. Take the pan off the heat and let the walnuts cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add them to the bowl of shredded chicken.
  3. Slice the grapes into quarters and remove the seeds if they're not seedless grapes. Finely chop the chives and thyme leaves. Add them to the chicken along with the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
  4. Toss it all together to coat. Taste the salad and add a little more salt and pepper as necessary.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 384mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 36g

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