The BEST Chicken Salad

I have always loved chicken salad and spent many years avoiding it because of the dreaded fat! It’s crazy to think how much my health has positively changed since eating healthy forms of fat.  I am so glad my days of low-fat, small portioned microwaved meals are over! Here’s to eating whole nutrient dense foods for good health! This recipe is completely Paleo, GAPS (using properly prepared pecans) and Whole 30 compliant.  I eat this every week and it never gets old!

Jennifer’s Chicken Salad

Recipe from The Allergy Free Family



First, the recipe is based off a 5 lb. chicken. If you get a 3-4 lb. then just adjust the ingredients especially not over adding mayo. I know some people don’t like a lot of mayo, so just do a little at a time. Regardless, all of the ingredients can be altered to taste. Add more grapes or no onion for example.

Secondly, the reason this is so good is because of the extra love and care from making the meat stock. I really think it’s what sets this recipe apart from the rest.  It’s also a great way to use a whole chicken in it’s entirety and get use of all the leftover stock. The stock can literally be used to cook anything like add to your cauliflower mash, cook your green beans or for a soup base. It’s very nutrient dense and good for your health!

I know that not everyone has the time or desire to follow the steps in entirety. Therefore, I have added a quick and easy version at the bottom. I promise if you follow both steps you won’t regret it, but either way both versions will still be very good!

Step one: Cook the chicken and make meat stock


5 lb. pastured organic chicken
2 tbs apple cider vinegar (optional)
2 tbs celtic sea salt
2 celery stalks
1 large carrot
1/2 yellow or white onion
handful of fresh herbs
2-3 garlic bulbs

The meat stock is based on a 5 lb. chicken, however you can get a smaller or larger chicken and adjust veggies as necessary or adjust to your taste. The veggies just give the stock extra flavor, they are not a requirement though.

Rinse your raw chicken in the sink. Then place in stock pot and fill with filtered water until the chicken is covered. Place remaining ingredients in pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Cook covered for minimum of 1 1/2 hours but no longer then 3 hours. Let soup cool enough before trying to debone chicken. Take chicken out of pot, debone, tossing the skin and bones (or could save the bones to use again for bone broth), saving all of the meat. Place meat in a separate bowl and use either two forks or a meat cutter to shred chicken. The chicken should be practically falling apart. Save the soup water called stock. Strain out the vegetables and any other leftover bits. Fill stock in glass jars or glass bowls.

As mentioned before, the soup is invaluable for your gut health. You will no longer need to buy broth with this method and you get the natural gelatin, vitamins and minerals from the bones this way.

Step two: Make the  chicken salad

If you used a smaller chicken like a 3 lb. for example, then adjust the veggies and fruit below. My recommendation would be to start with half the suggested amount and then add as needed.  You can always add more, but taking away is a little more challenging once it’s mixed in!

1/2 cup stock (from the meat stock you just made)
2 cups red grapes cut in half
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
3 large celery stocks diced
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans (toast in oven beforehand)
1 cup basic mayo** (adjust as needed)
1 tsp celtic sea salt

The chicken will probably have a little stock in it already if you just pulled chicken straight out of stockpot and into bowl. This is fine.
Once chicken meat is cooled, add the remaining ingredients. Stir well to incorporate and then refrigerate.
You can leave out any of these ingredients if you do not like them on a usual basis like onions for example. However, trust me when I say the flavor of all the ingredients compliment each other well.

**Basic Mayo:

1 1/4 cups extra light olive oil or avocado oil
1 large egg room temp
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place 1/4 cup of the oil, the egg, mustard powder and salt in a Vitamix or food processor. Pulse until well blended. Then slowly drizzle in the remaining cup of oil until the mixture has emulsified. Lastly, on low speed add lemon juice until incorporated.

The trick to emulsion in this recipe is to have all ingredients at room temp (at least the egg), as well as to slowly add oil. If you add the oil too fast it won’t emulsify properly, especially if you are doing a dressing with a vinegar base.

**This is the easiest and most basic recipe we use, although there are many similar variations of a good basic mayo that can be found on Pinterest.  This recipe is from the Whole 30 Cookbook.

For a egg white free mayo, try this recipe from the Nourished Kitchen! The good thing about this is you don’t have to wait for the egg yolk to be at room temp.  One bit of advice with this mayo recipe, use an immersion blender. It will work like a charm every time!

Optional quick version of Jennifer’s Chicken Salad:

The exact measurements on the quick version can be altered easily to adapt to your taste.  Add more or less grapes for example.  This version can be used with Primal Kitchen’s Mayo, Chosen Foods or any other no sugar clean brand. You can use compliant canned organic chicken breast, rotisserie chicken that is completely plain, or fresh breast that you can cook by grilling/baking/or cooking on pot in some stock.

1 lb. or roughly 3 chicken breast (cooked and finely diced or shredded)
1/2 – 1 cup mayo (adjust to your taste)
1 cup red grapes cut in half
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
2-3 medium celery stocks finely diced (or two large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans (toast in oven beforehand)
1-2 tsp sea salt