Salvere Blog: Yummy Summer Chicken Salad

As we approach summer cookout season, figuring out what to bring that will hold up, be healthy, taste good and not feel too heavy or filling sometimes proves challenging.  Several years ago, I started experimenting with a non Mayonnaise based chicken salad.  After several attempts at ratios and such, here’s the final concoction. Before starting, a few notes for you.

— Vinegar … Well, yes you can find cheap varieties and expensive varieties and probably find yourself wondering if it really makes a difference.  YES! It does.  I’ve made this for friends then given them the recipe only to learn, it does not really taste as good.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s still good — Just not up to it’s goodness potential.

— Oil … Well, yes you can find different varieties — light, extra virgin, avocado, safflower, walnut, garlic infused and the list goes on.  Does this really make a difference you ask? Depends is the answer — can you tell a difference, sure.  Some depends on your taste, allergies and audiences.  Realized if you’re making for someone with a nut allergy, don’t use any of the nut oils.

oil vinegar chicken

Chicken Salad, Non Mayo

1 whole chicken shredded or diced (now, I buy a raw whole chicken and boil it with lots of veggies and herbs, then save the delicious homemade broth but you could always use a rotisserie or whatever chicken parts/method you prefer)

1 granny smith apple, pealed and diced

1 bunch of green onions, diced

1/2 to 3/4 cup of craisins (depending on your taste preference and size of your chicken)

3 stalks of celery, diced

1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Place all the above ingredients in a large bowl.


2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup walnut oil (can substitute here — I’ve used chipolte olive oil, roasted garlic oil and plain olive oil here)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

You can do this in a blender or simply use a wire whisk (totally depends on how lazy I feel like being!).  Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Taste and add to chicken, etc mixture.  If you like less vinegar taste, increase the oil and decrease the vinegar.  Make more dressing if it seems dry!  My favorite dijon mustard come from Trader Joes and it has the white wine addition!

Try it out and let us know your thoughts!

by Lisa Martin , trainer at Salvere Health and Fitness. If you’d like to contact Lisa, email her at or call her at (410) 707-0055.

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