Whole30 Chicken Salad

This Whole30 Chicken Salad recipe has me convinced that, in a hypothetical universe in which every Whole30 recipe is as easy and delicious as this one, I might actually not just survive, I’d thrive. I’ve eaten it the last three days in a row for lunch and am nowhere near tired of it yet. Whether or not you plan to complete Whole30 this January (or ever), this simple and healthy chicken salad recipe is well worth making.

Whole30 Chicken Salad. A Whole30 version of waldorf chicken salad that’s simple, delicious, and Paleo approved too! Made with grapes, almonds, celery, and an easy tahini dressing, you can use it for Whole30 chicken salad lettuce wraps, a waldorf chicken salad sandwich, or enjoy as is.
While I don’t intend to complete Whole30 myself (diets that completely restrict certain foods have never resonated as strongly with me), I do appreciate the fact that it asks those who follow it to make an honest evaluation of the foods they are eating. Also, because many foods are off limits, it puts home cooking from whole ingredients at the forefront, and that is a message I embrace with gusto.

Last year, you all adored my Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls (it’s the #1 healthy recipe of 2018!), and these Whole30 Meatballs were another crowd pleaser. This Whole30 Salmon is a new winner in our house. I know this Whole30 Chicken Salad will be a fast favorite too.

How to make Whole30 Chicken Salad. A delicious Whole30 recipe.

This Whole30 Chicken Salad is a riff on a classic Waldorf chicken salad. For the curious, Waldorf chicken salad gets its name from New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where it was created in 1896 not by a chef but by the maître d’. The original version of this salad contained only apples, celery, and mayonnaise.

These days, you’re more likely to see Waldorf chicken salad jazzed up a bit. Almonds and grapes (in place of the apples) are my favorite spins. The grapes can last longer in the refrigerator, and the nuts are crunchy, toasty, and make the chicken salad all the more delicious.

Whole30 Chicken Salad with grapes, almonds, and an easy tahini dressing. A Whole30 and Paleo version of waldorf chicken salad that's great for lettuce wraps, lunches, and more!

The Making of a Simple and Scrumptious Whole30 Chicken Salad Recipe

While you can have certain brands of mayo on Whole30, they are hard to find at average grocery stores and are pricey. Most following a Whole30 diet (or the Paleo diet) opt to make mayo themselves from scratch.

Since I was looking for quick and easy Whole30 lunches (and since my lifelong aversion to mayo is showing no signs of remission), I decided to skip the mayo completely.

To make healthy chicken salad, I’d usually opt to replace it with yogurt like in my Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad, but since dairy is a Whole30 no-no, I needed a different option.

Answer: Tahini.

Simple Paleo Chicken Salad. This Whole30 Waldorf Chicken Salad is easy, healthy, and great for lettuce wraps and sandwiches too.

Tahini is a rich, creamy, lightly nutty paste made from sesame seeds. Its most popular use is in hummus, but I love it just as much in salad dressings. You can find it in most grocery stores (check the international foods aisle), and the leftovers can last in your refrigerator for six months or longer.

Whole30 Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps. Paleo friendly Whole30 recipe that's great for lunch and dinner.

Ways to Serve Whole30 Chicken Salad + Recipe Twists

Once you have a big, beautiful bowl of this chicken salad in your refrigerator, you have many tasty ways to use it! Here are a few serving ideas, as well as different spins on the recipe.

  • Whole30 Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps. I thought eating these out of lettuce cups would feel kind of sad, but it is scrumptious. They are refreshing, filling, and do not feel like “diet” food whatsoever.
  • Whole30 Waldorf Chicken Salad and Crackers. While regular crackers are not approved for Whole30, you can find Whole30-approved crackers sold in some grocery stores or make your own from almond flour (this recipe is just one that I came across). If you aren’t following Whole30, I like this with a wheat-based cracker or even classic buttery entertainment crackers.
  • Whole30 Green Chicken Salad. Serve over mixed greens. Feel free to add other extras, like grated carrots or beets for color and crunch.
  • Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich. If you aren’t following Whole30, try this on top of lightly toasted whole wheat bread.
  • Whole30 Grilled Chicken Salad. While I usually make this recipe following my easy method for How to Cook Shredded Chicken, you can swap diced, grilled chicken instead.
  • Whole30 Chicken Salad Curry. Follow this recipe for my Chickpea Salad Sandwich, but swap diced or shredded chicken for the chickpeas, tahini for the Greek yogurt, and omit the honey.
  • Simple Paleo Chicken Salad. This recipe is already Paleo! No adjustments needed. It’s the perfect everyday Paleo chicken salad just as is.

Whole30 Waldorf Chicken Salad. One of the best Whole30 recipes for lunch, dinner, and even snacks. Paleo and gluten free!

To help kickstart your healthy new year, I have this list 15 Whole30 Recipes, all of which are Paleo friendly too.

Even if you aren’t following a Whole30 diet or Paleo diet, these recipes are easy to make, healthy, affordable, and super scrumptious. Each will be a worthy addition to your recipe routine!

Whole30 Chicken Salad. A twist on classic waldorf chicken salad that’s Whole30 and Paleo approved! Made with grapes, almonds, celery, and an easy tahini dressing, you can use it for Whole30 chicken salad lettuce wraps, a waldorf chicken salad sandwich, or enjoy as is.
5 from 17 votes
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Whole30 Chicken Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
Waldorf-style Whole30 Chicken Salad recipe with chicken, grapes, celery and almonds in an easy tahini dressing. Simple, delicious, and great for lunches!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds or raw walnut halves
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch-diced cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes — halved
  • 3 medium stalks celery — diced (scant 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large green onion — thinly sliced (about 3 tablespoons), or 2 small/medium green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt — plus additional to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper — plus additional to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder — plus additional to taste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons hot water — plus additional as needed

For serving:

  • Bib or romaine lettuce

Instructions

  1. Toast the nuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (for almonds) or 8 to 10 minutes (for walnuts) until crisp, fragrant, and toasted. Set a timer and do not walk away from the oven during the last few minutes, as nuts can burn the moment you stop watching. If using almonds, transfer to a small bowl; if using walnuts, transfer to a cutting board, then let cool a few minutes and roughly chop.
  2. Place the diced chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, dill, and toasted nuts in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, add tahini, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar, then the hot water, and stir until smooth. Add additional hot water 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a smooth, pourable sauce that seems like a thick dressing.

  4. Pour the tahini mixture over the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. If time allows, refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve piled inside lettuce cups and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Whole30 chicken salad, Whole30recipes

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 of 6, about 3/4 cup) — Calories: 208, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 22g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

33 comments

  1. This salad sure sounds delicious, I love the idea of using tahini, so very creative! Thanks for sharing, Erin! :)

  2. I’m excited to try this! Sometimes tahini comes across a little strong for me. Did you ever try it with yogurt like you mentioned?

  3. I made this for lunch yesterday – and it’s SO good!! I’ve been looking for a dairy-free chicken salad, so this was perfect. I didn’t have almonds or walnuts, and used cashews. I’ll definitely be making this again!

  4. Thank you for making some Whole30 recipes!

  5. Look. No. Further. 
    The name of this really should be “Perfect Chicken Salad” lol! This is a lifelong staple in our house now…I veganized it by subbing for chik’n substitute and wowzers all I can say is TRY THIS RECIPE. I added horseradish to the dressing because I love it so much and it worked great. The ratios are so spot on and truly make the best chicken salad I have ever tried…and my husband agrees. Chicken salad is one of my favorites and I have missed it dearly. So very excited to have found this perfect recipe. 

  6. The best Whole 30 recipe I’ve found so far. DELISH!!

  7. I served this in lettuce cups and it was fabulous! I never liked the mayo in a Waldorf salad so this was perfect!

  8. Love chicken salad in every form..yum!

  9. Yummy! I made this tonight trying Tahini for the first time. It is terrific. I ate as soon as it was done. Can’t wait for it to rest a bit. So light and tasty. As always I’m looking forward to the leftovers already. Very very good chicken salad!!

  10. I’m always up for a new chicken salad recipe, love the tahini!

  11. Adding Tahini is brilliant.

  12. This is gonna be my go-to lunch for the whole month of January!

  13. Such an amazing salad recipe! So good!!

  14. Such a great chicken salad for those who follow the Whole30 diet. I love the addition of grapes.

  15. I have never used tahini in my cooking but OMG… it is for sure a new found love! Thank you so much for posting this amazing recipe, Erin! SO SO SOOOOOO GOOD! My boyfriend and I loved it. We wrapped the chicken salad in lettuce leaves and devoured the entire thing. Thanks again and keep up the great work. I cannot wait until your cookbook comes out. I would love nothing more than to support you!

  16. Omg! This chicken salad was the BOMB!! This was very creative and all the ingredients were spot on! This is the best chicken salad ever! Whole30 or not… This will be become my routinely chicken salad.

  17. Denise Hendrickson Reply

    I love this salad!!! I am new to Whole eating and having things like this around makes it easier!!! Thank you so much for doing this!

  18. Thanks for this awesome recipe, I can’t wait to try it! I was thinking about making a big batch for lunches this week, do you know how well it does in the fridge for a few days? I might add the grapes as it’s eaten instead of mixing them into the whole thing, as they might be first to get soft.

  19. I was skeptical about the tahini but I’m trying the Whole30 and decided to give it a try. Wow! It is sooo good. I used almonds and pine nuts, and added grapes and a pear since it was in the fridge. This is fantastic and I will be making it again. Satisfying and tasty. Thanks! 

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