Delicious and Nutritious: Walnut Chicken Salad Recipes for a Healthy Meal

Cafe at Pharr chicken walnut salad

A bed of crisp, vibrant greens, tender chicken, crunchy walnuts, and all the additional ingredients you want: From the simplest preparations to more elaborate combinations, let’s explore different walnut chicken salad recipes so that you can discover options that suit your tastes, dietary preferences, and even culinary skills. 

Exploring the Delightful Combination of Walnuts and Chicken in a Salad

There’s nothing more gratifying than enjoying a healthy and nutritious walnut chicken salad whether as a quick lunch or an elegant dinner entrée.

The addition of walnuts to a chicken salad provides a satisfying crunch and earthy flavor that offers a layer of complexity to the dish. And if raisins are also included, they can add a touch of natural sweetness that perfectly balances the nutty notes.

Furthermore, this is a very healthy chicken salad. It provides protein with its lean all-white chicken as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts. Besides, raisins provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Walnut chicken salad is such a great dish that Cafe at Pharr has its own version combining tender all-white chicken with a touch of creamy mayo, crunchy crushed walnuts, and golden raisins. It’s no wonder that this salad has stood the test of time. It has been a Pharr favorite for over 29 years!

Delicious and Nutritious: Walnut Chicken Salad Recipes for a Healthy Meal

Endless Chicken Salad Ideas with Walnuts

The classic walnut chicken salad is really tempting, but if you’d like to try something new, there are numerous variations to explore. 

The versatility of this dish is incredible, as you can experiment with many different ingredients. From adding various herbs to incorporating a medley of vegetables, the possibilities are endless. 

In the next sections, we’ll share with you some nutritious salad recipes (all walnut recipes for our “nutty fans”!), so that you have a range of options to suit your tastes and dietary preferences. 

Recipe 1: Classic Walnut Chicken Salad with Fresh Greens

  • Ingredients: All white chicken blended with touch of mayo, crushed walnuts, golden raisins
  • Instructions: how to prepare the chicken and assemble the salad; making the dressing from scratch
  • Tips for serving and variations to customize the recipe according to taste preferences

With its simple combination of ingredients, this classic walnut chicken salad recipe is a must-try. 

It’s an easy way to enjoy the wholesome flavors of all-white chicken blended with mayo, crushed walnuts, and golden raisins in a bed of fresh greens. 

If you’d like to enhance this classic chicken salad, you should try making the dressing from scratch, since homemade dressing provides the salad with a level of freshness and flavor that store-bought options simply can’t match.


  • All-white chicken (3 cups, diced)
  • Crushed walnuts (1 1/2 cups)
  • Golden raisins (1/2 cup)
  • Mayonnaise (1/2 cup) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preparing the Chicken:

  • Start by cooking the chicken. You can use a grilled or roasted chicken breast, depending on your preference.
  • Once cooked, let the chicken cool before shredding it into bite-sized pieces. 

Assembling the Salad:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, crushed walnuts, and golden raisins. 

Making the Dressing from Scratch:

  • In a small bowl, prepare the homemade dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice (adjust the quantities to achieve the desired creaminess and flavor.)

Bringing It All Together:

  • Pour the dressing over the chicken salad mixture and toss everything to ensure an even coating.


  • To serve, arrange a bed of fresh greens like lettuce and top them with the prepared walnut chicken salad mixture.

Tips for Serving and Variations:

  • To add an extra layer of crunch, sprinkle some additional crushed walnuts over the top just before serving.
  • Customize your homemade dressing by experimenting with different herbs.
  • Toss in some dried cranberries for a touch of tartness.

Recipe 2: Mediterranean-Inspired Walnut Chicken Salad with Feta Cheese

  • Ingredients: cooked chicken breast marinated in lemon juice and herbs, walnuts, feta cheese cubes
  • Addition of olives, cucumbers, red onion for a refreshing twist; drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
  • Serving suggestions and pairing options with crusty bread or pita pockets

If you’d like to feel the sunny shores of the Mediterranean, look no further than a good walnut feta chicken salad.

This variation of the classic salad combines the nutty flavor of walnuts with the creaminess of feta cheese while infusing traditional Mediterranean flavors. 

The Greek-inspired ingredients of this exquisite dish is a refreshing option, perfect for a light lunch. 


  • Chicken breast (3 cups, diced)
  • Lemon juice (1 teaspoon) 
  • Walnuts (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Feta cheese cubes (1/4 cup)
  • Fresh oregano (1 tablespoon, chopped)
  • Fresh parsley (1 tablespoon, chopped)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (for dressing)


Chicken Preparation:

  • Begin by marinating the chicken breast in a blend of lemon juice and the Mediterranean herbs oregano and parsley. 

Enhanced Salad Ingredients:

  • In a large bowl, combine the marinated chicken (shredded or cubed), walnuts, and feta cheese cubes. You can also add sliced cucumbers for a refreshing crunch, thinly sliced red onions, and pitted Kalamata olives.

Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing:

  • Drizzle the salad with a combination of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and stir to combine.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve on lettuce with crusty bread or warm pita pockets
  • Pair the salad with other Mediterranean dishes such as hummus and a glass of crisp white wine or lemonade.

Recipe 3: Asian Fusion Walnut Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing

  • Ingredients: cooked shredded or diced chicken breast , walnuts, cabbage, carrots
  • Combining soy sauce, sesame oil, and other Asian-inspired ingredients to make a tangy dressing`
  • Adding sliced scallions, sesame seeds, and crispy wonton strips for texture and garnish`

Tips on how to achieve the perfect balance of flavors in this fusion salad

This walnut chicken salad with sesame dressing combines the best of fusion cuisine. The blend of walnuts with savory Asian flavors creates a unique twist on the traditional walnut chicken salad. 

Try this walnut sesame chicken salad recipe, you won’t regret it! it’s easier than you think:


  • Chicken breast (3 cups, diced or shredded)
  • Walnuts (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Cabbage (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Carrots (1/4 cup, chopped)
  • Soy sauce (1 tablespoon)
  • Sesame oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Rice vinegar (1 teaspoon)
  • Ground ginger (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Sesame seeds (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Scallions (1/4 cup, sliced) 
  • Wonton strips (1/4 cup)


Asian-Inspired Flavor:

  • Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar (and any other Asian-inspired ingredients you like), and a hint of grated ginger to make a tangy dressing.

Texture and Garnish:

  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, walnuts, cabbage, and carrots. Then, add sliced scallions, sesame seeds, and crispy wonton strips for a satisfying and crispy garnish. 

Tips: How to Achieve Flavor Balance:

In order to balance the sweet, salty, and umami flavors in this Asian fusion walnut chicken salad consider these tips:

  • To ensure that your dressing is balanced, taste it as you go, adjusting the ingredients to reach your desired level of sweetness and saltiness.
  • When mixing the salad, start with a smaller amount of dressing and gradually add more in order to control the level of seasoning to your preference and avoid making the salad too salty or sweet. 
  • Consider adding a touch of Sriracha, grated Parmesan cheese, or chili flakes if you prefer a more flavorful salad. 

Conclusion: Enjoy the Versatility of Walnut Chicken Salad for a Nutritious and Satisfying Meal

Undoubtedly, a good walnut chicken salad is both a healthy and satisfying meal. 

The versatility of walnut salads, in particular, is worth highlighting. With the walnut as the star ingredient, you can create a wide array of salad variations, because its rich, nutty flavor pairs well with an extensive range of complementary ingredients. This allows you to adapt your salads to suit any occasion or personal preference.

But beyond this incredible versatility and its exquisiteness, one cannot overlook the remarkable walnut chicken salad benefits!

It offers a generous dose of lean protein, which is essential for building our muscles, along with the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts. These benefits can help reduce the risk of heart disease and enhance cognitive function. Additionally, golden raisins and other nutritious ingredients bring different vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber to your table.

So, for those seeking a healthy meal option, the walnut chicken salad proves to be a great choice. It’s perfect if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight, increase protein intake, or simply enjoy a wholesome meal… And certainly it’s also absolutely delicious!



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