Epic Whole30 Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

As a child I hated chicken salad.  Wait. I'm sorry.  I teach my children not to use the word hate; hate is bad.  Okay, let's start over...

As a child, I REALLY DISLIKED chicken salad with a passion.  I was truly a picky eater. Just the idea of cold chicken mushed together with a bunch of things I couldn't recognize, was enough to turn up my nose.  It wasn't until I was in my 20's and tried Trader Joe's Cranberry Pecan Walnut Chicken Salad, that my tune changed!

Trader Joe's chicken salad tastes pretty good, but unfortunately, it has quite a few questionable ingredients so I had to stop eating it when I attempted my first Whole30.  Many people find that their eating habits change after a Whole30.  Among the many things that changed for me was that I stopped buying Trader Joe's chicken salad.  To be honest, with a big family, it's really more affordable to make my own anyway! 

I'm all about creating easy meals that can be made in bulk and then served a variety of different ways to avoid boredom.  This Whole30 apple pecan chicken salad recipe really is epic!  Chicken salad is a great, portable dish to bring to summer barbecues, or "cookouts" as my southern friends like to call them.  ;-)  It combines sweet and savory ingredients to create a truly "EPIC" explosion of flavor your taste buds will appreciate. 

The best thing is that my kiddos love to eat this Whole30 Apple Pecan Chicken salad.  My toddler gobbles it up like it's her last meal, my five year old loves it served in a wrap, and my ten year old...well, my ten year old has taste buds that change day to day so I never know if she will like it or not.  I like to call this strange phenomenon she experiences PAYBACK.  I usually add some fresh avocado slices for extra healthy fat when I serve it to them.

Note: Be extra careful when serving it to younger toddlers who have very few teeth.  You really should grind up their portion a little more than normal if you use a food processor.  Another option is to take out some of the hard to chew ingredients like the celery.   

The base for a majority of the chicken salad recipes is mayo.  Unfortunately, most mayo is made with ingredients that are not healthy for you AT ALL.  If you are doing a Whole30, there aren't many pre-packaged mayo's you can buy from a store, so I started making my own during my second round of Whole30.  It tastes really good and is surprisingly not as difficult as it seems!

I've added a great homemade mayo recipe to the Whole 9 Family Whole30 - Paleo Pinterest Board

Now, I do understand that some of you moms have absolutely neither interest nor time to make your own.  Moms have no time?! How could that possibly be?!  😉  So, if you prefer not to dabble in the mayo-making-world or if you don't have an immersion blender (yet), which in my opinion really helps to incorporate the ingredients and make it taste amazing, then this Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo will certainly do the trick for this recipe.  You could use whatever mayo you have in your pantry right now too!  I'm not going to judge you, I promise!

The key ingredients in my Epic Whole30 Apricot Chicken Salad are a mixture of  organic dried apricots and apples.  These key ingredients were a closely-guarded secret until about 2 seconds ago when I told you about them.  They give the chicken salad a nice, sweet flavor.  The recipe also includes pecans, which happen to be my absolute favorite nut in the world (that is, besides my husband)!  Also scallions and chives help make it taste quite delectable!

Now, there are many different ways to serve this chicken salad, BUT when you are doing a whole30 - or least trying to change your eating habits to be healthier - it's best not to have my Epic Whole30 Apricot Chicken Salad on a soft, fluffy roll or a mouth watering croissant. (Sorry friends.)

But you CAN serve it...

  • On a Bed of Sautéed Kale
  • In a Salad (of the regular kind with lettuce and such)
  • With Roasted White Potatoes
  • With Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
  • With Plantain Chips
  • With Avocado Slices
  • With Spaghetti Squash or Zucchini Noodles
  • Paired With Any Veggie
  • Alongside a piece of fruit

I'm pretty sure that when you make this Whole30 Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, you'll want to be my friend for life, and I'd love some more mommy friends! 😋


Epic Whole30 Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

1.  Finely dice the chicken, celery, apples, pecans, scallions, apricots and chives.  (I always use a food processor to make this process go super fast.)

2.  Add the lemon juice, mayo and salt (to taste)

3.  Mix everything together  

4. Sprinkle the top with reserved fresh chives

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think in the comments!  


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