This Autumn Chicken Salad is filled with the flavors of fall, in a lightened-up version of chicken salad! We’ve got honeycrisp apples, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, toasted pepitas, scallions, pomegranate arils, and thyme! It’s made with mostly Greek yogurt and just a touch of mayo, so it’s a little lighter than your typical chicken salad. Filled with so much flavor and texture!
This is 100% my new favorite fall lunch! I (annoyingly) can never get enough of the flavors of fall, if you haven’t noticed, and this chicken salad is filled with all of my favorites. The only thing missing out of my favorite fall flavors is sage and brown butter, (and butternut squash if we’re getting specific!) but I didn’t think that would be acceptable for chicken salad. Aren’t you glad I didn’t go there?
The best part about chicken salad, apart from the fact that it’s freaking delicious, is that you can totally use shortcuts! I’m definitely a believer in using a rotisserie chicken from the store and shredding it up, instead of having to cook your own chicken. If you take that shortcut, this comes together in literally minutes.
The best part of this autumn chicken salad is obviously all of the mix-ins! I went with chopped honeycrisp apple, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, toasted pepitas (the toasting really makes a huge difference!), scallions, pomegranate arils, and fresh thyme. SO many good things! I love how much crunch this chicken salad has, and I actually prefer eating it by itself or on a green salad instead of having it on bread!
I did find this pumpkin bread at Whole Foods (not actual pumpkin bread, but a savory loaf of yeasted, crusty bread with a little bit of pumpkin and spice – it’s insane) and if you can find that, it takes the autumn in this autumn chicken salad to the next level! If not though, I really do love it just by itself!
It’s also lightened up! I know I’ve said this many times, but I love using Greek yogurt as a swap for mayo in so many recipes. It’s lighter, has a lot of protein, and I really enjoy the taste of it. I’ll often use almost all Greek yogurt in chicken salad, and then just add a few tablespoons of mayo for that little bit of richness, which is pretty much what I did here!
This is another one of my absolute favorite chicken salads and it’s lightened up too! In that one, I use all Greek yogurt, and no mayo, which you could totally do here too! It’s absolutely delicious both ways.
If you want to make this to have on hand in the fridge for easy lunches, it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days. All of the mix-ins start to lose their crunch after that, and that’s kind of my favorite part! Another idea is to make the base of the chicken salad with the Greek yogurt, mayo, dijon, spices, and apple cider vinegar, toss it together, and then just prep your mix-ins and keep them separate until you’re ready to eat!
My new lunch obsession!
Autumn Chicken Salad
This Autumn Chicken Salad is filled with the flavors of fall, in a lightened-up version of chicken salad! We've got honeycrisp apples, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, toasted pepitas, scallions, pomegranate arils, and thyme! It's made with mostly Greek yogurt and just a touch of mayo, so it's a little lighter than your typical chicken salad. Filled with so much flavor and texture!
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt*
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard*
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken*
- 1/2 of a honeycrisp apple, diced
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 2 tablespoons pepitas, toasted
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- chopped fresh thyme, to taste
- butter lettuce and/or toasted bread for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper until combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Add the honeycrisp, pomegranate, cranberries, pecans, pepitas, scallions, and thyme (I use a couple sprigs) and stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve on a bed of butter lettuce leaves with an extra sprinkle of thyme, or serve on toasted bread!
*I use 0% Greek yogurt, but 2% or full-fat work great, and would yield an even seamier result!
*Dijon can be subbed for the spicy brown mustard if that's what you have on hand!
*Time saving hack: buy a rotisserie chicken from the store instead of having to cook your own! If I make my own, I usually poach it like this!