A creamy but healthy basil chicken salad with fresh basil and chopped walnuts - great as a sandwich, wrap or lettuce wrap, or paired with crackers!
Check out my new VIDEO for this recipe!
We are back from spring break and *mostly* back into the swing of things.
It always takes me a few days to recover after being gone — there’s the unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking and food prep to do. And a return to work and school of course…
We had a great time in Florida with my in-laws though. Sunshine, ocean, family time… doesn’t get much better right? 😊
M loved riding her boogie board around the very shallow part of the ocean where the waves came crashing in. And she made a lot of "cookie balls" out of sand. (She is so my daughter, always thinking about the food!
J was hilarious, chasing after the sandpipers on the beach. His short, stocky little 2-year-old legs carrying him as fast as they could go; cracked us all up!
But back in the real world, where my toes won’t be in the sand most of the day, I’ve got breakfasts and lunches to prep and the daily dinner to fix.
And earlier this year, my husband said he wanted to venture away from his standard turkey sandwich and rotate his work lunches a bit more.
Usually it means some version of leftovers, but I’ve also been fixing more salads (like my tuna spinach salad, chicken quinoa salad with salsa hummus or southwestern orzo salad) for him to take and for the kiddos and I to share in as well.
And this healthy basil chicken salad with walnuts is one of our new favorites.
I had some extra basil that I wanted to use up and while I was staring at it, demanding it to send me some vibes of inspiration, I spied some leftover chicken and realized I had a few celery stalks in the veggie bin.
I hate wasting food and all of those things together just jumped up and demanded to be folded into a healthy basil chicken salad!
(The walnuts also whispered from the pantry, so they got to join the party, too. 😊)
The result is a creamy, hearty salad with chunks of chicken, bright fresh basil for an herbilicious dimension and crunchy walnut bits scattered throughout it.
I use half-mayo and half-Greek yogurt, which adds a boost of protein, a shot of healthfulness and a silky smooth texture to the creamy mix.
There’s also a good squeeze of lemon juice to really liven up all the flavors. 🍋
My husband texted me from work how good his chicken salad sandwich was, which is a total win.
He took it again the next day and wanted to take it three days in a row (so much for variety, right?!) but I had already finished off the last of it!
So I made more the following week and we devoured it again. 😋
Notes on healthy basil chicken salad with walnuts:
- I use both mayonnaise and Greek yogurt in this recipe, but you could certainly use all mayonnaise or all Greek yogurt if you prefer.
- I go a bit light on the mayonnaise and Greek yogurt so I can taste all the fresh flavors, but you can add a bit of extra if you want a super duper creamy chicken salad.
- Walnuts are one of my favorites and I always have some on hand, but you could definitely substitute pecans or your favorite nut. Or just leave them out if you'd rather.
And we've got lots of options on how to enjoy this!
Ways to serve healthy basil chicken salad:
- Make a sandwich with some whole wheat bread
- Use a whole wheat wrap or spinach wrap and add this chicken salad and some lettuce
- Go low-carb with a chicken salad lettuce wrap
- Make a salad with your chicken salad! Add a scoop of chicken salad to some mixed greens and tomatoes.
- Serve as an appetizer with some cheese and crackers
Me, I like it all the ways! And you'll find me eating it on repeat this spring and summer for a perfect light and healthy lunch, particularly once I have basil planted in my garden outside.
So if you’re tired of the same old lunch day in and day out, give this healthy chicken salad a try and enjoy the fresh flavors!
Basil chicken salad with walnuts
A creamy but healthy chicken salad with fresh basil and chopped walnuts, perfect for lunch!
- 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped celery (1 large stalk or 2 small ones)
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise (I use low-fat)
- 3 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (I use non-fat)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
- Serve as a sandwich, wrap, lettuce wrap or with crackers and cheese.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days.
You can use leftover grilled or roasted chicken here or a rotisserie chicken from the store.
You can increase the mayonnaise and Greek yogurt to ¼ cup each if you prefer an extra creamy chicken salad. You can also use all mayonnaise or all Greek yogurt for this salad if you prefer.
You could also sub out pecans or another nut for the walnuts. Or leave them out.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g
Lovely sandwich, makes me soooo hungry!
Thanks Adina! Can't beat a great chicken salad sandwich 🙂
Kate @ Framed Cooks
This looks so scrumptious and summery-good - I'm saving for when my basil comes up (won't be long now!!)
Yay for fresh garden basil!
I know what ya mean. Sometimes we you take a little break or vacay when you get back, you almost need another break just to get back into the swing of things. I love chicken salad and this version looks so delicious, Kathryn! Loving the twist with the basil and walnuts. What a lovely combo. So good that you used some yogurt in there as well so it wasn't all mayo. Great idea, girl. Going to have to try this one soon for sure 🙂 PINNED!
A vacation from your vacation is always somehow needed. Guess that just means we live it up, right?! Have a great week Dawn!
Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks
It sounds like you had a fantastic time in Florida! I would love a beach vacation right about now. I really need to get more creative with my lunches these days too. I'm definitely adding this chicken salad into the rotation!
Thanks Rachelle! It was a great little getaway, though I'm already looking forward to another one 😉
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
So glad you had a wonderful time in Fl, Kathryn!! A beach vacation has been calling my name and reading about yours makes me want to book a hotel. Stat. 😉 Love this chicken salad! Herbaceous basil and crunchy walnuts sounds like a scrumptious way to jazz up plain chicken salad! I can totally see why your hubs ate this for so many days in a row! Total win! Cheers, dear and welcome back to reality. womp womp. 😉
Get you to a beach Cheyanne! Does wonders 😉 I'm already looking forward to our next one, ha! And yes, all about jazzing up some chicken salad for a fantastic little lunch, home or away! XO
Glad you and the family had such a great time in Florida, but...why didn't you take me? Instead I had to deal with it snowing in NH this past Sunday and Monday. UGGHHH! I remember the winters when I lived in Florida where I used to complain when it would get down to 55 degrees some nights. Oh, how I miss those days...
Thank you Hubby for me for wanting to switch up his turkey sammies so you could make this for him. Yummy!! I adore chicken salad and love nuts in it too, but never thought about putting fresh basil in it. Trying your recipe next time I make it (which will be this coming Monday because we have roast chicken almost every Sunday for dinner) 🙂
Karrie, you are totally invited next time we go 😉 It was really nice to get a good dose of warm weather, but we've also had some pretty good days here in N.C. recently, so I can't complain. Sorry about the snow... 🙁
We do roast chicken most Sundays too and this is definitely an easy way to use up some of the extra... and the basil bring such a great fresh flavor. Hope you give it a try! XO
Thanks for sharing at the Whats for Dinner LInky party!
Thanks for hosting!
Oh my this chicken salad does look delicious, Kathryn. I love the idea of mixing yogurt and mayo. 🙂
Thanks Barbara! I think it makes for a perfectly balanced creamy mix!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed
Love the basil and walnuts!
Really adds a lot to it!
How many mini croissant sandwiches do you think I could make from this recipe as is?
Hi Ali! This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups worth of chicken salad. I'm thinking you could probably get about 10 mini croissants with this, depending on their exact size and how full you stuff them. I hope that helps!