Chicken Waldorf Salad

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

All you have to do to make chicken salad a hundred times more interesting is add in a chopped apple. An apple adds crunch, sweetness, and freshness, and you’ve also taken care of eating a serving of fruit for the day. When apple season hits, make this chicken Waldorf salad your go-to lunch, or leave a batch of this in your fridge so that dinner is waiting for you when you get home.

You may think of a Waldorf salad as a retro dish created in a fancy hotel, but it’s a classic that’s stood the test of time for a reason. At its core, the salad has apples, celery, and walnuts bound in a mayonnaise dressing — all elements most people can get behind. I like adding in another fall fruit, red grapes, and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten things up.

To make this more of a main dish salad, cooked chicken is also thrown into the mix, although you could also use cooked turkey if you like. Cook up an extra chicken breast at dinner to use in this salad, or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for an easy no-cook shortcut. Serve a scoop of the salad on pretty butter lettuce leaves, scoop it up with crackers, or stuff it into a pita.

Chicken Waldorf Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cooked and cubed

1 medium sweet apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cored and diced

1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (2 to 3 medium stalks)

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper
Butter lettuce leaves, for serving

Place the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the chicken, apple, grapes, celery, and walnuts, and fold into the dressing. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve in the lettuce leaves as a salad or as lettuce cups.

Recipe Notes

  • Make ahead: The salad can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days ahead.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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