We love chicken salad. Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches are a wonderful remake of an old favorite. Especially when it’s crunchy from grapes, walnuts, celery, and salad pepper rings or pepperocinis. Yum. Our favorite way to serve chicken salad is on croissants, in pita pockets or in wraps with salad pepper rings.
But as one who is trying to cut back on processed foods and products with a lot of preservatives, MSG, high fructose corn syrup or sugar I am always trying to discover new and healthier ways to prepare my old favorites. I decided to give my Chicken Salad Sandwiches a makeover.
DISCLAIMER: In my opinion and observation over the years, Miracle Whip (not mayonnaise or any other product) is the best binding agent for chicken salad. No, I’m not a sales rep for Miracle Whip, I just think it’s the best tasting binder for chicken salad, ham salad, egg salad, and deviled eggs. I’ve tried mayonnaise and it just doesn’t taste as well or work as well. That being said, I tried my chicken salad recipe with grapes and walnuts thrown in and substituting Greek yogurt for the Miracle Whip this time to see how it would turn out.
Greek Yogurt can work as a binding agent and is a great option for those who really want or need healthier alternatives. However, because Greek yogurt is so bland you may need to increase the spices and flavorings of your chicken salad, and because it has a much thinner texture than Miracle Whip it doesn’t hold together quite as well. i.e., you may have to drain off some of the excess liquid if you serve chicken salad the next day.
Another healthier option is Just Mayo mayonnaise. It does not have the HFCS or other fillers found in Miracle Whip, yet it is thicker and will help the chicken salad bind together than plain Greek yogurt or sour cream will.
Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches still tasted wonderful with Greek yogurt, but nothing’s better than using Miracle Whip even though it isn’t a particularly healthy option. I guess, one of these days, I’m going to have to come up with my own homemade preservative-free salad dressing recipe to use! Even still, I offer this tasty option for those who want and need cleaner, wholesome food options for their family.
You will see my Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches garnished with sliced pepperocinis, although I prefer to use mild salad pepper rings. Both provide a little extra zest to amp up the flavors and add additional crunch to the chicken salad. The chicken salad itself is gluten free although the croissants in the pictures were not. Substitute a gluten free bread or wrap for a gluten free meal.
I wolfed down several Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches!
While the Greek yogurt provides a different flavor and texture than Miracle Whip it does provide a healthier alternative to those who want and need healthier, preservative-free options. Using sliced pepperocinis or mild salad pepper rings amp up the flavors of chicken salad tremendously.
We also like the crunch from the pepper rings or pepperocinis. Yum.
Here’s what I did.
Shred your cooked chicken into fine dice with a food processor.
Add red onion, red bell pepper, celery, red grapes, walnuts, sugar, salt, pepper and sweet pickle relish. I had a homemade jar of zucchini relish so that’s what I used. I increased the relish in this recipe to counteract the blandness of the yogurt.
Add just enough yogurt to moisten the chicken mixture. Aim for around one cup. Use more only if you have to in order to get a spreading consistency. Stir ingredients to combine and serve over croissants, in pita pockets, in wraps or on sandwich bread. Garnish with mild salad pepper rings or sliced pepperocinis.
Here’s a close up so you can see the texture of Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches.
The chicken salad itself is gluten free.
This healthier option for chicken salad reduces the calories as well as the preservatives and fillers from other products.
Here’s the recipe.
HEALTHY CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICHES
(Recipe inspired from Martha Swearingen’s Chicken Salad recipe, when we attended Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill, TX)
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded in a food processor
- ½ red pepper, diced
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 8-oz. sweet pickle relish (I used a homemade zucchini relish)
- ½ cup red grapes, halved
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¾ tsp. pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1-2 cups [url href=”http://chobani.com/home/” target=”_blank” title=”greek yogurt”]Chobani [/url]Greek yogurt (as little as possible to mix)
- Put meat in food processor and shred.
- Pour into mixing bowl.
- Mix with red pepper, onion, celery, relish, grapes, walnuts, salt, pepper and sugar.
- Stir in Greek yogurt – start with about ½ cup and add until mixed well.
- Don’t put too much or it won’t stick together well.
- Spread on sandwich bread and top with salad pepper rings for a delicious sandwich.
- Also good stuffed in pita pockets or croissants with salad pepper rings.
I love the addition of grapes and walnuts in Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches. It provides more flavor (which is needed due to using yogurt), and a lot more crunch which is a nice touch too.
Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches provide a tasty way to get your fix of chicken salad.
If you are into clean eating, this is a great alternative. Taste a bite and see what you think! 🙂