Chicken salad is a summertime must for when the weather starts to get hot. I mean, who doesn't love a quick and easy lunch recipe that requires minimal prep? I have been making this healthy chicken salad the last few days and can't wait to share it with you! Creamy Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad can be enjoyed as a sandwich, on a lettuce wrap, or on a bed of lettuce.
Most of us are used to eating the classic chicken salad which is made up of mayonnaise or greek yogurt-based and mixed with grapes, dried cranberries or dried cherries, slivered almonds or toasted almonds, crunchy pecans, red onion, and celery. This recipe goes beyond the traditional chicken salad recipe with salty bacon and everyone's favorite, ranch dressing.
How to make chicken salad
This chicken salad recipe starts off by roasting and shredding chicken breasts. Fry up some bacon in a pan and pat off excess grease with a paper towel. Crumble the bacon and add to a bowl with the shredded chicken. Next, add the Primal Palate Garden Ranch seasoning packet, mayonnaise, red onion, green onion, parsley, and black pepper. Mix to combine. Scoop some of the chicken salad out onto toasted bread, a bed of lettuce, or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator to enjoy later.
Chicken salads are usually enjoyed during the hot summer months when no one wants to turn on the oven. To keep your kitchen cool and to make this recipe that makes easier, consider using store-bought rotisserie chicken, store-bought grilled chicken, or canned chicken. If you don't mind a little heat in the kitchen, another easy option is to make poached chicken.
If you are going to use rotisserie chicken, make sure the chicken is cool enough to handle. Next, pull any meat off the bird and place it in a bowl. Next, chop the chicken to your preferred sizes. Depending on the size of the chicken, you may need more than one rotisserie chicken to have enough meat.
How to make poached chicken
- First, heat some water in a large stockpot on the stove. Add a little salt to the water and bring to a boil.
- Once the water has boiled, place the chicken breast in the water making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Allow the chicken to gently simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot and allow it to rest on a cutting board for 2-3 minutes to allow the chicken juices to redistribute.
- The cooked chicken needs to be completely cooled for this recipe so you can either cut the chicken while it's slightly warm then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely or place the chicken breasts in the fridge and chill then cut when preparing the rest of the chicken salad ingredients.
PRO TIP: If you are going to roast and dice your own chicken, roast a little extra so you have leftover chicken for another meal. Use that chicken for some protein on a salad, to make another chicken salad recipe, or for chicken fajitas. I like to take advantage of meal prep and make a little extra to save time later on.
How to eat
My two favorite ways to eat this chicken salad recipe is on a lettuce wrap. Since going gluten-free and grain-free, lettuce wraps have been a great alternative for me to be able to enjoy sandwiches without making them into a salad. A salad can be a little boring and having that nice crunch from the lettuce goes really well with the creamy chicken salad. My husband loves dipping crackers into his chicken salad and eating it as if it were a dip. If you prefer a sandwich, try my Grain-free Sandwich Bread. They pair up nicely!
How to store
Potato salad, egg salad, and chicken salad, or any mayonnaise-based ready-to-eat food needs to be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until eating. Mayonnaise and mayonnaise-based foods should not be left out at room temperature for too long to prevent them from spoiling. This chicken bacon ranch salad can be stored in the fridge for up to seven days.
Chicken salad does not freeze well. I recommend preparing the chicken ahead of time and freezing it. Then when you are ready to make the recipe, thaw the chicken and combine it with the other ingredients.
What to serve with chicken salad
Chicken salad is nearly a complete meal in itself. Some of my favorite side dishes to serve alongside a chicken salad sandwich or wrap include:
- Raw veggies such as cucumber, crunchy celery, and carrot
- Avocado oil chips
- Dill pickles
- Large green salad with either a vinegar and olive oil-based dressing or a fresh squeeze of lemon juice
- If you are serving your chicken salad on a bed of greens, you can serve crackers on the side for scooping
Primal Palate seasoning packets
I mention in the recipe card that you will need a packet of Garden Ranch. The company I buy this from is Primal Palate. Primal Palate is a small family-owned business that makes seasoning packets and spices blends. All of their products are certified organic, paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free. And let me tell you, they are all so freaking good!
As I said, you will need their Garden Ranch seasoning packet for this recipe. The French Onion Dip seasoning packet is another one of my favorites and I use it to make my Dairy-free French Onion Dip with Crudites. Besides using the Garden Ranch for this chicken bacon ranch salad recipe, I will stir it into some mayo for a quick and easy homemade ranch dressing. The possibilities are endless and I highly recommend checking them out!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
- 3 # chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 8 oz bacon, cooked
- ¼ cup red onion, small diced
- 3-4 green onions, green and white part, chopped
- 2-3 cups mayonnaise (I prefer a little less mayo)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- sprinkle of black pepper
- 1 Primal Palate Garden Ranch seasoning packet
- If roasting the chicken in the oven, place the chicken breasts on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. If poaching the chicken, place a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the chicken and boil for 15-20 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached. Once the chicken breasts are cooked, place them on a cutting board and dice them into bite-size pieces. Place the chicken in a glass container and cool in the refrigerator. This step can be done ahead of time.
- While the chicken is cooling, fry the bacon in a large skillet. Once slightly crispy and browned, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Pat the bacon with a paper towel to remove any excess grease. Chop the bacon into bite-size pieces and add to a medium-sized bowl.
- Chop the red onion and green onions and place them with the bacon in the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Once the chicken is completely cooled, add it to the bowl. I like to add about 2 cups of mayo to start and then add more if necessary. I am not a mayo lover so I prefer less while my husband lives for mayo and prefers more. Adjust to your liking. Mix well until everything is coated with mayonnaise.
- Spread the chicken salad on a sandwich, on a bed of lettuce, or enjoy alone with crackers. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Enjoy!