This Blackberry Walnut Chicken Salad recipe makes a quick and easy main course salad. It’s perfect for those searing hot summer days when you don’t want a hot meal. This summer salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, and keto friendly.
The recipe for Blackberry Walnut Chicken Salad
If you’re looking for a tasty meal to enjoy on a hot day, look no further! This salad boasts tender chunks of chicken and crunchy bits of celery, Green onions add flavor and walnuts add nutty goodness. Blackberries complete the salad with juicy, sweet-tart contrast.
We augmented the mayonnaise-based dressing with a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavor and a hint of cayenne pepper to add interest.
This salad can be made ahead and can be enjoyed at home, or taken on a picnic. It travels well, so it makes a tasty lunch to take to work or school. Just be sure to keep it cool if you take it on the road with you.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe for chicken, dried cherry, and walnut salad sandwiches that I found in the August 2005 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I love chicken salad with fruit, but dried cherries are a bit high in carbs for this blog. Blackberries made a wonderful substitution. Of course, I made a few other alterations to create this keto-friendly salad.
This salad is quick and easy to make. It stores well in the refrigerator, so it can be made ahead. In fact, I think the flavor is even better if it spends at least a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.
How to serve this keto friendly Blackberry Walnut Chicken Salad
This salad makes a simple meal by itself, but if you want to add a bit more variety to the dinner plate, feel free! I like to serve this salad on a bed of lettuce. If you have big, beautiful lettuce leaves, you could put some salad in the center and roll them up like a burrito to create chicken salad lettuce wraps.
Looking for something heartier than a lettuce wrap? You’ll want to check out my recipe for keto-friendly tortillas! It’s also getting easier to find pre-made low-carb wraps in the grocery store.
If you’re a sandwich lover, you can make it into a sandwich. Be sure to use low carb, keto-friendly bread if you’re watching your carb intake. This recipe for keto-friendly bread from Sugar Free Londoner would be perfect!
How to make this Blackberry Walnut Chicken Salad Quickly
This salad can be made very quickly and efficiently if you organize your time. The choices of ingredients and order that you do each step can make a big difference!
One way to shave off a few minutes is by using chicken tenders rather than chicken breasts. The tenders are smaller and thinner, so they will cook more quickly. However, if you have chicken breasts, you can cut them into strips to decrease the cooking time.
In this recipe, the chicken cooks by simmering. Since this is a hands-off process, you can use this time to do other things. I recommend making the dressing for the salad, chopping the walnuts, and slicing the green onions and celery during this time.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it to a plate and allow it to cool. Once it is cool enough to touch, you can cut it into cubes. The smaller pieces will cool more rapidly than the bigger strips.
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Can I use leftover chicken to make this chicken salad?
Absolutely! This is a great recipe to use up any leftovers from roast chicken, or a rotisserie chicken you have purchased pre-cooked from the store.
In fact, you don’t even need to use chicken for this recipe. Leftover turkey makes a great stand-in. This is a great way to use that leftover turkey you still have in your freezer from Thanksgiving!
What can I substitute for blackberries in this chicken salad?
No blackberries? No problem! Blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries will work in this salad as well. These berries are also low in carbs and have that same juicy, sweet goodness that adds contrast to the other flavors in the salad.
Blackberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup celery thinly sliced
- 1 cup green onions thinly sliced
- ¾ cup walnuts coarsely chopped
- ½ cup fresh blackberries
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
Place chicken in a single layer in a wide skillet that has a lid. Cover with water. Place skillet over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. When the water has reached a simmer, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes for tenders and 25 minutes for breasts. Remove from heat and transfer the chicken to a plate. Allow to cool, then cut into 1 inch cubes.
While chicken is cooling, prepare the dressing by adding the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper to a medium mixing bowl.
Stir the chicken cubes, celery, green onions, walnuts and blackberries into the dressing. Taste the salad. If desired stir in sea salt and black pepper to taste. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.