This Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans is an elegant spin on the traditional recipe. Cooked shredded chicken is tossed with grapes, toasted pecans, celery and onion in a homemade honey poppyseed dressing. Serves 9 (3/4-cup) servings.
The very first time I had this chicken salad with grapes was at my really good friend Heidi’s wedding shower. Back then I wasn’t a big fan of fruit in a savory salad. But when I was served this salad (a long with a buttery flaky croissant) I pulled up my big girl pants, grabbed a forkful and it was that moment I realized that I actually did like fruit in salads.
More like I loved it!
Several months later, I was having family over, I remembered that salad and how she had told me it was from Costco. So now I was on a hunt! I bee-lined through the store to where I thought it should be and they DIDN’T HAVE IT!! WHAT??? How can it be? Well I guess it’s “seasonal” and “I guess” in the winter they stop carrying it. This is when I thought to myself “I bet I could make it from scratch” (this was way before my blogging days).
And so I did.
To Make this Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans You Will Need:
for the dressing:
- mayonnaise – Or, for a lighter version, use a combination of greek yogurt and mayonnaise (see notes in recipe printable).
- apple cider vinegar – Adds a touch of acidity and brightens and thins out the dressing.
- honey – Adds a touch of sweetness.
- poppyseeds – Lends subtle texture.
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavors in the dressing.
- freshly ground black pepper – Adds subtle bite and flavor.
for the salad:
- yellow onion – Lends delicious onion flavor and some crunchy texture.
- pecans (toasted) – Add toasty, nutty flavor and crunch.
- shredded cooked chicken – Use leftover roasted chicken, poached or rotisserie.
- red grapes – Adds sweet pops of flavor and texture.
- celery – Lends earthy flavor and crunchy texture.
Make The Dressing:
In a bowl, measure and add 1 cup mayo (see notes for a lighter version), 1 tablespoon honey, 1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper .
Stir until combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Make The Salad:
Add 1/2 cup yellow onion to a bowl and add a few ice cubes and water. Let this soak for about 10 minutes.
WHY SOAK ONIONS IN ICE WATER?
Soaking onions in ice water removes a lot of the bite. You still get onion flavor but it’s mellowed out considerably.
Shred 4 cups of cooked chicken. Use roasted, rotisserie or poached chicken breasts (and thighs).
How much is 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken?
Whether using roasted, rotisserie or poached cooked chicken, 4 cups is about 20 ounces or 1-1/2 pounds.
Next, in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast 2 ounces of pecan halves until fragrant. Once all toasty and smelling awesome remove and transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl; add the (4 cups) shredded cooked chicken, (2 ounces) toasted and chopped pecans, (1/2 cup drained) yellow onion, 1/2 cup finely diced celery (use the celery leaves too!), and 1 cup small halved red grapes.
Pour in the dressing.
Stir until everything is combined and evenly coated in the dressing.
I recommend chilling it for at least an hour but serving it immediately is just fine too!
This is hands down my favorite salad! I have made it a zillion times and it’s my go to chicken salad recipe.
How To Serve Chicken Salad:
- seedy crackers – I like Mary’s Gone crackers.
- toasted bread – Try it on croissant bread OMG.
- lettuce – Serve on or wrapped in romaine, iceberg or bibb lettuce.
- sandwich or wrap – Tuck it into a croissant, lavash or wrap of choice or in pita bread.
What To Serve With Chicken Salad:
- Fresh fruit
- chips of choice
- small cup of soup
How To Store Chicken Salad:
Store leftovers in a large container or individual personal size containers with a tight fitting lid.
How Long Will Chicken Salad Last In The Fridge?
If stored properly, chicken salad can last up to 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
CLICK HERE FOR ALL MY CHICKEN SALAD RECIPES!
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1 cup mayonnaise, or sub a portion of it with greek yogurt (see notes)
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted then coarsely chopped
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken , leftover roasted, poached or rotisserie
- 1 cup small red grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup diced celery, chopped small
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- In a bowl, measure and add the mayo, vinegar, honey, poppyseeds and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- Add diced onion in a small bowl with a few ice cubes and some water. Soak for 10 minutes then drain and remove ice. This step is optional, but does remove some of the bite from the onion.
- Place pecan halves in a dry pan over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally until toasty and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and chop.
- In a large mixing bowl, add chicken, onion, pecans, grape halves and celery. Pour the dressing over top and toss well to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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