Whole30 Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans

This Whole30 Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans is a fresh, easy take on a classic!

Tender chicken is coated in creamy mayo and combined with crunchy celery, juicy blueberries and toasted pecans.

This chicken salad recipe is so good, anyone can enjoy it no matter if they’re doing a Whole30 or not.

Plus it’s also naturally Paleo, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free!

Paleo chicken salad piled into lettuce cups on a wooden cutting board sprinkled with blueberries, pecans and fresh thyme leaves

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Whole30 Chicken Salad

Whole30 is a month-long food elimination program to help you learn reduce inflammation and learn about how food affects you. I’ve done it and it really helped me on my journey to making better choices so I can feel better. If you want to learn more about the program, check out their website.

And while the program might seem restrictive, there’s actually still so much great food you can have while doing it! Such as, you know, this chicken salad.

The typical chicken salad already features chicken breast tossed with mayo, celery and usually grapes and walnuts.

And while I love it this way, I don’t love how most store-bought mayos use unhealthy vegetables oils that aren’t Whole30-friendly.

So we’re swapping out the usual mayo for avocado oil-based mayonnaise, which is getting easier and easier to find in stores and can also be found online. I particularly like Chosen or Primal Kitchen (not ads, I just like them).

I’m keeping the celery because the salad still needs its juicy crunch, but this chicken salad has no grapes. Instead we’re using blueberries because why not? They’re less sweet than grapes but add bursts of fresh flavor.

And we’re using toasted pecans because…well, because I love them. And their nutty crunch is different from celery’s crunch and we want as many flavors and textures as possible to keep things interesting.

Plus I add fresh herbs to, again, make everything feel as fresh and light as possible.

Serve it on lettuce cups or apple slices, or on lightly toasted bread (gluten-free if necessary).

Protein, healthy fats, lots of great taste and flavor – this Whole30 chicken recipe has everything. What’s not to love?

So let’s make this healthy chicken salad!

 

What you need for this Whole30 Chicken Salad

Equipment:

chicken salad made with avocado oil mayonnaise piled into lettuce cups on a wooden cutting board strewn with blueberries, pecans and fresh thyme leaves

How to make this Whole30 Chicken Salad

You can use rotisserie or pre-cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (make sure they’re Whole30 compatible, if necessary), but if you don’t have any, you’ll cook your chicken first.

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a baking dish and coat with cooking spray or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake until they reach 165ºF. If they’re different sizes, you might need to pull the smaller one out first while a bigger one needs to keep cooking.

Let the chicken cool completely, then cut into small cubes. You’ll need 2 cups (from about 10-12 oz. of chicken breasts).

Meanwhile, if they’re not already toasted, pour the pecans into a cold, dry skillet. Place over medium heat and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until aromatic and slightly darker in spots, about 6-8 minutes. Remove to a small bowl or plate to let cool.

Slice the celery stalks lengthwise a few times to create long spears, then crosswise to dice it.

If using, chop up and measure the fresh herbs.

Add the chicken, celery, mayo (see recommendations above), blueberries , pecans and herbs (if using) to a large mixing bowl. Toss until everything is thoroughly coated.

Taste and add more salt and/or freshly ground black pepper, if desired. I usually add a bit of both.

If using lettuce cups, I recommend doubling up the leaves to make them sturdier. My two preferred choices for lettuce are Romaine or Boston.

You can also serve it on apple slices to keep it Whole30.

Or serve the traditional way on bread or toast.

healthy chicken salad piled into lettuce cups on a wooden cutting board strewn with blueberries, pecans and fresh thyme leaves

Make ahead and storage

This healthy chicken salad can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

I wouldn’t recommend freezing it.

 

Substitutions and variations

  • You can swap out the blueberries and pecans for halved grapes and walnuts, if you want more of a classic flavor.
  • You can also try other nuts, like sliced or chopped almonds, hazelnuts or cashews.
  • If using herbs, you can try thyme, basil, parsley, mint or rosemary (use half as much rosemary as its flavor can be very strong).

 

Other recipes you might like

healthy chicken salad piled into lettuce cups on a wooden cutting board strewn with blueberries, pecans and fresh thyme leaves
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Whole30 Chicken Salad with Blueberries and Pecans

This easy, healthy chicken salad features juicy chicken, fresh blueberries, crunchy celery and toasty pecans, all slathered in creamy mayonnaise. It's a simple twist on the classic version and so easy to make Whole30 friendly!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: avocado oil mayo, chicken salad, healthy lunch, whole30, Whole30 chicken
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast (from about 10-12 oz. uncooked chicken; see notes)
  • 1 cup diced celery (from about 5 oz. of celery)
  • 1 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • cup toasted, chopped pecans (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, basil, mint or parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary
  • lettuce cups (Romaine or Boston) or apple slices, for serving

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, blueberries, pecans and thyme (if using) until everything is thoroughly coated. Taste and add salt and/or freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Serve on the lettuce cups or apple slices.

Notes

For a Whole30 friendly mayo, see recommendations in blog post.
You can use rotisserie or pre-cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (make sure they're Whole30 compatible, if necessary).
Cooking your own chicken:
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Place 10-12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a baking dish and coat lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until they reach 165ºF. If they're different sizes, you might need to pull the smaller one out first while a bigger one needs to keep cooking.
Let the chicken cool completely, then cut into small cubes. You'll need 2 cups.
If your pecans aren't toasted, pour the pecans into a cold, dry skillet. Place over medium heat and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until aromatic and slightly darker in spots, about 6-8 minutes. Remove to a small bowl or plate to let cool.
Make ahead and storage
This chicken salad can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
I wouldn't recommend freezing it.
Substitutions and variations
  • You can swap out the blueberries and pecans for halved grapes and walnuts, if you want more of a classic flavor.
  • You can also try other nuts, like sliced or chopped almonds, hazelnuts or cashews.
  • If using herbs, you can try  basil, parsley, mint or rosemary (use half as much rosemary as its flavor can be very strong).

 

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