The key to this healthy cashew chicken salad is in the dressing. It's made with avocado oil mayonnaise and real food ingredients! Great for food prep, too!
When in doubt, just go with chicken salad. Whenever I am in a food rut, this is a go-to of mine. This healthy cashew chicken salad is perfect for food prep and is great for sandwiches, or to eat as is. You can’t go wrong with delicious ingredients like cashews, apples, and celery mixed with a perfectly creamy dressing.
Keep It Clean... It's All About the Dressing
There are so many recipes for chicken salad (and I’m sure they are all delicious… it’s hard to mess up chicken salad), but this one my friends is all cleaned up. How? It’s all about the dressing.
I still use mayonnaise in this cashew chicken salad, but it’s the kind of mayo that really matters. I also use some Greek yogurt to balance the flavor.
Mayonnaise - Mayonnaise gets a bad wrap since most of them are made from unhealthy oils and sugar. In order to keep your healthy chicken salad clean, you need to buy the right mayonnaise and sweeten with a natural sweetener.
Both Primal Kitchen and Sir Kensington’s make great avocado oil mayonnaises (avocado oil is a very clean oil). But always check the ingredient label to make sure the only oil used is avocado oil. Some may say “made with avocado oil”, but they also contain canola or other unhealthy oils.
Greek yogurt – I use Kite Hill unsweetened Greek style yogurt (plain/unsweetened) since I limit dairy as much as I can, but you can use regular Greek style yogurt if you're not dairy free (just make sure it’s unsweetened and preferably organic).
In addition to mayonnaise and Greek yogurt, you’ll need fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, dry mustard powder, and salt & pepper. Clean ingredients and a natural sweetener.
Is Cubed or Shredded Chicken Better?
I’ve made it both ways, but I prefer shredded chicken. And the key to the BEST shredded chicken is using a hand-held blender to shred it! Yes, I said a blender. Trust me! If you’ve never shredded your chicken using a blender you need to try it!
Using a blender shreds the chicken in an entirely different way, I can’t really explain it. But it keeps the chicken super moist (hate that word, but I had to use it) and creates a whole different texture for the chicken (it’s almost “soft”). Sounds weird, but give it a try!
And remember to let your chicken fully cool before shredding or cutting into cubes. And if you do use a hand-held blender to shred it, cut the chicken into smaller pieces first... this just makes it easier to shred.
What to Eat with Cashew Chicken Salad
You can’t go wrong with a good sandwich! Since I am gluten-free, I like making little chicken salad sliders with Simple Mills Artisan Bread mix… use this to make buns and it’s perfect for chicken salad sliders!
Or, it’s great just thrown over a bed of lettuces, add some avocado, tomatoes, or any other veggies and you have a perfect salad!
How Long Does This Healthy Chicken Salad Last?
Chicken salad is great for food prep! Keep in an air-tight container in the fridge and it will last for up to 5 days.
The cashews do get a little soft once they have sat in the salad for a day or so. If that bugs you, add the cashews right before you are going to eat it.
Looking for more salad options? Check these out!
Did you make this healthy cashew chicken salad? Please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, give me a star rating, and/or share a photo on Instagram and mention @CleanPlateMama!
Eat Clean.Be Healthy!
Healthy Cashew Chicken Salad (dairy free)
Cashew Chicken Salad Ingredients
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts (preferably organic)
- 1 apple chopped (I prefer sweet apples)
- 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- ½ cup cashews (sliced or whole)
- ½ cup mayonnaise (see notes)
- ½ cup non-dairy Greek yogurt (see notes)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey (optional)
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt (more to taste)
- ¼ tsp. ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 and place chicken breasts in a large baking dish.
- Bake chicken breasts for about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast reaches 165. Baking time will vary pending how thick your breasts are. Once cooked through, allow chicken to fully cool before shredding or cutting.
- While chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Keep the dressing in the fridge while the chicken is cooking and cooling.
- Once your cooked chicken has cooled (about 30 minutes), take your cooled chicken and shred it or cut it into cubes. I prefer shredded chicken for this recipe.
- To shred the chicken, I recommend using a hand-held blender. Cut the chicken breasts in halves or quarters (this makes it easier to shred) and put in in a large bowl. Turn blender on med-low speed and "blend" until chicken is shredded. Trust me... it works and makes great shredded chicken! You can use two forks as well if you don't want to break out the blender.
- Add the shredded (or cubed chicken) to a large bowl and mix in the chopped apples, chopped celery, cashews, and prepared dressing.
- Allow the finished salad to sit in the fridge for a few hours before eating (it's best when it's cold, but you can eat right away if needed).
- Serve over a bed of spinach or in a sandwich. Try adding avocado, green onions, and/or tomatoes as additional toppings!
- I highly encourage organic chicken or chicken that has been certified humane. This ensures quality treatment of the animals as well as chickens that weren't treated with antibiotics.
- I recommend organic specifically for the celery, apples, and cashews.
- This chicken salad will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- For the mayonnaise, look for avocado oil mayonnaise (Primal Kitchen makes a great one). Most mayonnaise contains unhealthy oils and other ingredients. The key to keeping this dressing clean is all in the dressing/mayonnaise.
- I use Kite Hill almond milk Greek yogurt since I'm mostly dairy-free, but any Greek yogurt will work. Just make sure it's unsweetened and if made from cow's milk, preferably organic.
- The honey in the dressing is completely optional. It adds a slight sweetness, but I've made it without the honey before and it's great without as well!