The Perfect Chicken Salad Recipe for Pesto Lovers

The Perfect Chicken Salad Recipe for Pesto Lovers

If you’re craving a deli sandwich loaded with cold and creamy chicken salad, we have good news. You can make a healthier chicken salad at home with this easy-peasy pesto-flavored recipe — and it can be ready in 10 minutes.

Made with wholesome ingredients, this recipe is full of fresh flavor thanks to cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and a squeeze of lemon.

And if you’re a chicken salad connoisseur, you know the creaminess can make or break the sandwich. If it’s too dry, the ingredients won’t bind together, and you’ll wind up with more chicken landing on your plate than in your mouth. If it’s too creamy, it’ll just taste like a mayo bomb.

So this version skips the hefty helpings of mayo you’ll find in many recipes. (Both Paula Deen and Martha Stewart call for two tablespoons of mayo or more per serving in their recipes.)

Instead, you’ll use two teaspoons of mayo along with ¼ cup of reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt. This simple change makes a significant difference: While a tablespoon of mayo has 11 grams of fat, a tablespoon of low-fat Greek yogurt has less than one gram of fat.

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Ingredients for Pesto Chicken Salad

  • 1 (5-oz.) can chicken breast, packed in water
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1½ slices low-sodium sprouted whole-grain bread (like Ezekiel®)
  • ¾ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • ½ medium lemon

Canned chicken breast makes this recipe quick and easy, but if you don’t have any in your pantry, you can always cook and shred chicken breast instead. Cherry tomatoes and fresh basil not only add loads of flavor, but they provide extra nutrients along with antioxidant properties.

We suggest serving this chicken salad on sprouted whole-grain bread since the sprouting process increases the bioavailability of certain nutrients (including zinc and iron). Try Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread since it has no added sugars or refined flour.

If you don’t have sprouted whole-grain bread, opt for another whole-grain bread with minimal ingredients. Check the nutrition label for added sugars, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Or bake a batch of cauliflower bread or keto-friendly bagels.

 

Creative Ways to Use Leftover Chicken Salad

Got leftover chicken salad? Here’s how to put it to good use!

5 from 2 votes
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Pesto Chicken Salad

Say goodbye to dry chicken with this creamy pesto chicken salad recipe! It's got tomatoes, fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and a squeeze of lemon that's best served on a slice of sprouted whole grain bread.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 412 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 (5-oz.) can chicken breast, packed in water
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • slices low-sodium sprouted whole-grain bread (like Ezekiel®)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • ½ medium lemon

Instructions

  1. Drain chicken; set aside.

  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half; set aside.

  3. Toast bread in toaster for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown; set aside.

  4. Combine basil, Italian seasoning, yogurt, and mayonnaise in a food processor or blender, squeeze lemon on top; pulse until combined.

  5. Combine chicken, tomatoes, and basil mixture in a medium bowl; mix well.

  6. Transfer chicken mixture to a serving plate; serve with toast.

Recipe Notes

The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Chicken Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 412 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 97mg32%
Sodium 866mg38%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 44g88%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nicole McDermott

About

After graduating from Syracuse where Nicole studied magazine journalism and nutrition, she moved to New York City to write for the health and fitness site Greatist. She currently edits full time for Ghergich & Co. Nicole's work has appeared on TIME Healthland, Shape, USA Today, Men's Fitness, The Huffington Post, Refinery29 and Lifehacker, among others. Follow her on LinkedIn.