Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches
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.
I am always trying to cut back on processed foods and products with a lot of preservatives, MSG, high fructose corn syrup or sugar. I’m also trying to discover new and healthier ways to prepare my old favorites. To that end, 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. I substituted Greek yogurt for the Miracle Whip this time to see how it would turn out. Can I say, I was less than pleased? 🙁
Greek Yogurt can work as a binding agent but it is NOT a great option for those who really want or need healthier alternatives. Greek yogurt is so bland you may need to increase the spices and flavorings of your chicken salad, too. 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. It just breaks down too much in my opinion.
However, Icelandic skyr yogurt is thick like sour cream–maybe even thicker. It is a much better alternative to Greek yogurt. (I absolutely love their Chocolate Coconut Skyr and eat it every day for breakfast!)
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 better than plain Greek yogurt or sour cream will.
Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches is a tasty option for those who want and need cleaner, wholesome food options for their family. I always garnish these sandwiches with mild salad pepper rings. (Although sliced pepperocinis will work in a pinch). It provides a little extra zest to amp up the flavors, and adds additional crunch to the chicken salad. The chicken salad itself is gluten free, although the croissants in the pictures are not. Substitute a gluten free bread or wrap for a gluten free meal.
I initially published this recipe in January 2014. I was looking for a healthier option and used Greek yogurt because that’s all that was available at the time. When Icelandic skyr yogurt became available, I decided I needed to try to make this recipe again to see if it would stand up better than Greek yogurt. Oh my! It was SO MUCH BETTER. Even after sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of days, the skyr yogurt did not break down and look like milk at the bottom of the bowl!
I remade Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches (January 2020) for our Sunday night college group. I made half of the batch with the skyr yogurt and the other half with Just Mayo. The kids loved these sandwiches. Most could not tell the difference between the two binding agents. All I can say, is I was thrilled to be able to make my beloved Chicken Salad recipe and have it turn out so well!
I wolfed down several Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches!
Icelandic Skyr Yogurt provides a healthier alternative to those who want and need healthier, preservative-free options. Using sliced mild salad pepper rings amps up the flavors of chicken salad tremendously.
We also like the crunch from the pepper rings or pepperocinis. Yum.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients. I also made one batch with Just Mayo.
Shred cooked chicken into fine dice with a food processor, or cut fine with a knife. Kroger sells cooked chicken already pulled off the bone. It’s so much easier than having to cook the chicken ahead of time.
Add red onion, red bell pepper, celery, red grapes, walnuts and sweet pickle relish.
Add Icelandic skyr yogurt (NOT Greek yogurt).
Or add Just Mayo or another brand of mayonnaise without bad oils, HFCS, MSG or other fillers.
Add just enough Icelandic skyr yogurt or Just Mayo 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.
The mixture didn’t break down even after a couple of days in the refrigerator. I was extremely pleased with the outcome!
The chicken salad itself is gluten free. Substitute GF bread or wraps to keep this recipe gluten free.
This healthier option for chicken salad reduces the calories as well as the preservatives and fillers from other products.
Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwiches are so delicious. You’ll never regret not using mayo or Miracle Whip in the recipe.
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). It adds 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! 🙂