This Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad combines tender cubes of chicken with crunchy celery, walnuts and dried cranberries in a creamy mayonnaise based dressing.
This is a satisfying lunch that can be served on it’s own, with low carb bread or wrapped in a lettuce leaf. I find it really easy to take to work for lunch. We make a big batch on Sunday and have it all week. Since it can be eaten many different ways, it never gets old.
This chicken salad is one of my favorites because it is uncomplicated, low in carbs, and can be prepared within minutes. Similarly, this avocado egg salad comes together swiftly, offering another delightful variation.
Ingredients for Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Here’s what you will need to make this simple low-carb chicken salad.
- Chicken breast – Cooked and cubed. You can use any pre-cooked leftover chicken breast. If you like to make a whole roast chicken, using the left overs for this recipe the next day is perfect.
- Mayonnaise – Use the best quality mayo you can for this salad, because quality has a big impact on the flavor and outcome of the salad. I use Hellman’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise.
- Celery – The perfect additions to this salad because it adds great crunch and texture.
- Yellow mustard – Yellow mustard adds a nice boost of flavor to the dressing. You could use Dijon mustard or whatever you have on hand.
- Chives – I’m not a big fan of raw onions, so to give that bit of onion flavor, I use fresh chopped chives. You can add red onion if you like it. Remember that onion has a higher carb count.
- Dried cranberries – This is an optional ingredient. They add an extra element of sugar to the dish, so you might want to leave them out if you don’t want the extra carbs. I like that they add to the texture and give a bit of a sweet element to the salad.
- Walnuts – Chopped and toasted.
- Salt & ground black pepper – To taste.
How to Make Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
If you’re not using left over chicken, you can simmer the chicken breast on the stove top for 20 minutes until cooked through, then cool and cube the chicken. To cook the chicken in the air fryer, spray the basket and cook them at 360° F for 18 minutes, turning them over at the halfway mark.
To cook them in the Instant Pot, add chicken broth or water and then add the chicken breasts. Cook for 12 minutes on high pressure and allow a natural pressure release.
In the meantime, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the walnuts, stirring them frequently to avoid burning. Toast for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Once the chicken is cooled and cubed, add it to the bowl. Chop the celery and add to the bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients. Stir it all up, check the seasoning level and adjust if necessary. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at 20-30 minutes before serving.
How to Serve Chicken Salad
This chicken salad can be enjoyed on its own, independent of bread. You can savor it as is, stuff it into a pepper, lettuce leaf, pile it up on cucumber slices, stuff it into half an avocado, or even pair it with low carb bread.
There are so many possibilities with chicken salad. Try something new that you’ve never done before and you’ll see just how versatile this salad is.
Alternatives and Add-ons
To keep the chicken salad fresh and exciting, you can experiment with various ingredients to bring out different flavors each day. Consider incorporating the following additions for a delightful twist:
- Toasted pecan
- Dill, fresh or dried
- Hard boiled eggs
How to Store Leftovers
To properly store leftover chicken salad and ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat, follow these steps:
- Use an Airtight Container: Transfer the chicken salad into an airtight container. This will not only help to keep the chicken salad fresher for a longer period but also prevent any cross-contamination or absorbing odors from other items in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate Promptly: Place the container in the refrigerator as soon as possible. The temperature of your fridge should be set at or below 40°F (4°C) to ensure that the chicken salad stays fresh.
- Use Within 3-5 Days: Leftover chicken salad should typically be consumed within 3 to 5 days. Remember, the clock starts ticking from the time the chicken salad was originally made, not from when it was put into the refrigerator.
- Label the Container: It might also be helpful to label the container with the date that the chicken salad was made, so you can easily keep track of how long it’s been stored.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do walnuts need to be toasted?
No they don’t but we highly recommend that you do. When you toast walnuts, their natural oils are enhanced, resulting in a more flavorful nut. Additionally, toasting gives them a delightful crispness.
Is mayonnaise low carb?
Yes it is. In fact, it has almost no carbs and is high in fat making it the perfect keto condiment. Try and stay away from Miracle Whip as it has sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Can I use chicken thighs instead?
Absolutely! You can use any cooked chicken that you have available.
Can you eat yellow mustard on a keto diet?
Yes. It is a carb free condiment. There is no sugar, artificial sweeteners or refined oils in it.
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- 2 cups (300 g) chicken breast cooked and cubed
- 1/4 cup (56 g) mayonnaise
- 1/2 (1/2) celery stalk halved and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon (1 g) fresh chives chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) chopped walnuts toasted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the walnuts, stirring them frequently to avoid burning. Toast for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Serve in a lettuce wrap, on cucumber slices, or with keto bread.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Angela lives a low-carb lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest with her two kids. She loves to read, cook, bake, try new recipes, and travel.