This Waldorf inspired 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 on a Whole30/Paleo diet, I’d thrive.

A bowl of delicious Whole30 Chicken Salad

Creamy, chunky, wholesome, and bright, this Whole30 Waldorf chicken salad has been a regular in my healthy meal rotation.

I originally created this recipe (which is both Paleo and Whole30 friendly) because you all loved my Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls (it’s the #1 healthy recipe of 2018!), and these Whole30 Meatballs and this Whole30 Salmon have been crowd favorites too.

These days, I make (and remake) this everyday Paleo chicken salad because I love how it tastes, the way I feel after I eat it, and the fact that it proves you don’t need to be a gourmet chef to make nutritious meals that taste fantastic.

Even if you aren’t following a Paleo or Whole30 diet (I am not), this easy chicken salad is well worth adding to your healthy meal arsenal.

The ingredient lineup is well rounded and the flavors are satisfying and complex, and because this Whole30 chicken salad can last several days in your refrigerator, it offers max payoff for your cooking efforts.

I like to whip up—and I do mean whip up; this easy chicken salad recipe is FAST—a batch on Sunday then eat it in various forms throughout the week.

Sometimes I keep it extra light as Whole30 chicken salad lettuce wraps; other times, I like to toast a few slices of bread and make a Waldorf chicken salad sandwich.

No matter how you serve it, this Whole30 chicken salad is one of those prized recipes that manages to fill you up without weighing you down.

Diced chicken, celery, grapes, green onions, and almonds prepped for making Whole30 Chicken Salad

Waldorf Chicken Salad: The Recipe Inspiration

This Whole30 easy chicken salad recipe 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.

No fresh grapes on hand? You can also make this Waldorf chicken salad with dried cranberries.

A bowl of Whole30 Chicken Salad about to be mixed

The Making of a Simple and Scrumptious Whole30 Chicken Salad Recipe

My biggest challenge to creating a Whole30 chicken salad recipe was the mayo.

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 the mayo with yogurt like in my Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad, but since dairy is a Whole30 no-no, I needed a different option.

Answer: tahini.

A bowl full of healthy Whole30 Chicken Salad

Tahini is a rich, creamy, lightly nutty paste made from sesame seeds.

Tahini’s 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 served in lettuce wraps

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, Baked Chicken Breast, or Crock Pot 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 Chicken Salad served in lettuce wraps

For those looking for additional Whole30 chicken recipes, Paleo recipes, and more, check out my collection of Whole30 Recipes.

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.

Whole30 Chicken Salad

5 from 26 votes
Waldorf-style Whole30 Chicken Salad recipe with chicken, grapes, celery and almonds in an easy tahini dressing. Simple, delicious, and great for lunches!

Prep: 20 mins
Total: 20 mins

Servings: 6 servings

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
 

  • 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.
  • Place the diced chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, dill, and toasted nuts in a large bowl.
  • 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.
  • 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!

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 6, about 3/4 cupCalories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 22gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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61 Comments

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  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?5 stars

  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!5 stars

  4. 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. 5 stars

  5. 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!!5 stars

  6. 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!5 stars

  7. 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.5 stars

  8. 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!5 stars

    1. Densie, I am so happy to hear how much you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you!!

  9. 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.

      1. Perfect!! Thanks for the quick reply, I made a batch yesterday and my husband and I both LOVED it. I’ll be bringing it to a lunch potluck later this week!5 stars

  10. 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! 5 stars

  11. This chicken salad is great! I’m not a big mayo fan so using tahini was such a good swap. I liked it so much I actually used tahini instead of mayo in potato salad!5 stars

  12. I love the big chunks of chicken in there and the nuts and grapes will make it so tasty. I can’t wait to try this. Chicken salads are so refreshing this time of year. I am pinning it to make for our coming picnic.

  13. Just tried this for dinner and it was delicious! Will definitely be making this again soon. Thanks for a lovely recipe! 

    1. Hi Sarah, I have not tried to freeze this recipe, and I’m not sure how the texture would be after thawing it. If you experiment with freezing it, please let me know how it goes!

  14. We loved this salad!!!! We let it refrigerate over night, oh my goodness it was even better the next day! Thank you for sharing!!!!5 stars

  15. This W30 chicken salad is SO good! I had been craving chicken salad on my final Whole 30 week and this was absolutely perfect. Even my husband (who is not doing W30) was eating it straight from the bowl, raving about how good it is. 

    Even when I’m not on W30, this will be my GO-TO chicken salad recipe. I used roasted chicken to given even more flavor, but I have no doubt that it would be great with whatever chicken you prefer.5 stars

  16. We have a dairy free kid and don’t want to make separate meals so we really appreciate this recipe that the whole family can enjoy. The tahini worked perfectly for texture and moisture but we’re wondering if you can punch up the overall flavor a bit. Maybe some sweet-savory chutney mixed in?

    1. Hi, I’m so happy this recipe was a hit! You can certainly experiment with some additional spices or a chutney to pump up the flavors a little. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  17. I additionally served this in lettuce cups and it was awesome! I never loved the mayo in a Waldorf plate of mixed greens so this was great! Much thanks5 stars

  18. I just made this and it is delicious! I bought most of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s. The flavors go so well together, too. I’m 15 days into the Whole 30 and next time I will double this to make sure there’s plenty of leftovers. Thank you for such a perfect recipe.5 stars

  19. Sooo good! I’ve made it twice now on Whole30 and shared it with friends. I eat it on beet noodles with lemon, because I love beets and tahini together. Thanks for the great recipe!5 stars

  20. From Georgia, currently doing Whole30. I was expecting to be disappointed with this recipe, as I’ve grown up with pretty fantastic chicken salad, but this is actually fantastic! Would absolutely recommend it. Not the same chicken salad I’m used to, but I will definitely be making this again.5 stars