How to Lighten Up a Chicken Salad

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How to Lighten Up a Chicken Salad

Chicken salad has been a favorite of our family since the late 70’s. A good friend and I would stop at a deli called Kaplan’s for lunch quite often mostly because I would crave their chicken salad. I don’t know if the restaurant still exists, but my chicken salad recipes still does.

It took years of testing and tasting to come up with a recipe I thought was similar. We used it for years. These day I prefer less mayonnaise in salads, and other ways to make them lighter and healthier. Again, the experimenting began. That’s how this recipe came about. I like it even better than the previous one.


In addition to the ingredients it always contained, I added chopped spinach and cauliflower to this recipe. It’s a scrumptious way to sneak in more veggies. You really don’t taste the raw cauliflower at all. The spinach adds color as well as flavor. Both add plenty of nutrients as well.

Cutting down on the mayonnaise meant the salad could be dry. Not a good thing for chicken salad. So I added more lemon juice. It works perfectly! In the old recipe I probably would have used a cup of mayo. Now it is down to a few tablespoons with several more tablespoons of lemon juice. You still have the texture and look of a salad with mayo, but with far less calories and fat. I love the tang the lemon juice gives the chicken as well. Because of that, I hardly use any salt.

All in all that makes it more than a win-win. Less salt, less mayo, lots more vegetables that won’t even be noticed, and I get to use up the leftover rotisserie chicken.

Often when serving this salad, I’ll include a scoop of Chicken Salad, a scoop of cottage cheese, and fresh pineapple. Of course it is good on its own. You can serve it on rolls, croissants or wraps too for a luncheon treat. Add more or less on any item you like. It will still taste delicious.


How to Lighten Up a Chicken Salad


Serves: 4 servings

  • Salad Greens
  • 2 cup cooked chicken, chopped into ¼ to ½ inch bites
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cup cauliflower finely chopped (not quite grated size)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salt if needed
  1. Chop chicken into very small bites.
  2. Chop vegetables.
  3. Combine all ingredients, except salt, mixing thoroughly.
  4. You can add a little more mayo or lemon juice if needed.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two if possible.
  6. Serve on a bed of lettuce.




Make it in minutes with the Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender, Chopper and Ice Crusher: More Power & 2 Times Faster

I highly recommend one of these if you’d like to cut down chopping time. I haven’t tried it with the chicken, but the onion, spinach and cauliflower are each chopped in about five seconds. For a reasonably priced blender/chopper, it works well above my expectations. Sauces, dressings, even frozen butter for scones, take literal seconds in the Ninja. It must be the top loaded motor with the dual blades that make it so effective. It hasn’t let me down yet.

If you would like to see proof, you can see a selection of photos I’ve taken of its results and read my full review of the Ninja here.

It does the job of several small appliances. I am crazy about mine!





Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Jackie Jackson

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