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Sonoma Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad.  LOVE.  And of all the chicken salads I’ve ever tried, the nutty, fruit-enhanced, honey-kissed Sonoma version is my favorite.

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This recipe actually resulted from my attempt at recreating the oh-so-tasty Sonoma chicken salad from Costco.  I found a similar recipe from Whole Foods and made a few changes to suit my family’s taste, which basically involved omitting the celery (crunching into raw celery has always given me chills, and not in a good way) and the poppy seeds (toddlers and young children are generally suspicious of black specks in their food, or at least they are in my household).  But you can certainly add those ingredients back if they appeal to you.

Most Sonoma chicken salads feature red or green grapes instead of dried cranberries, but all versions are delicious.  Feel free to swap out the types of fruit and nuts you use in this recipe to make it your own.  Apples and walnuts?  Yum.  Dried cherries and almonds?  Delish.  In addition, the amount of honey in this recipe can be increased or decreased to your liking, and you can easily lighten up this salad by substituting half of the mayonnaise (or more! — but the flavor will be affected) with plain yogurt.

Whether served on a croissant, sandwich bread, or scooped up with crackers, Sonoma chicken salad is always a hit at our house.  It’s equally perfect at a picnic, a luncheon, or a baby shower.  So give it a whirl…you won’t be disappointed!

Sonoma Chicken Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Sonoma Chicken Salad

Dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a touch of honey take chicken salad from ordinary to extraordinary!

Ingredients

    For the dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    For the salad:
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and diced*
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, for up to two days.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out pecan pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully. Allow to cool.
  3. To the bowl of dressing, add diced chicken, toasted pecans, and cranberries. Refrigerate for at least an hour to chill and to allow the flavors to meld.

Notes

*Chicken may be rotisserie, poached, oven baked, or cooked in a crockpot. For the latter option, place 4 chicken breasts (I use frozen) and half a cup of water in a crockpot set on low for 4 to 5 hours or until cooked through. Remove from water and allow to cool before dicing.

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http://www.fivehearthome.com/2013/06/05/sonoma-chicken-salad/

Adapted from Whole Foods Market

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for linking up to Weekend Potluck! I am excited to have you join our fun party, and hope you will come again and bring more amazing food!!!!! 🙂
    Hugs, Tonya from 4 little Fergusons

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much for being a hostess, Tonya! And thanks for visiting me here! I really appreciate your comment. 🙂

      • Hey friend! I am featuring your sandwich today at Weekend Potluck! Come on over and grab an “I was featured” button if you’d like. Hugs, T

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          How exciting, Tonya! Thank you so much for the feature…I really appreciate it!

  2. This looks delicious! I like Craisins, grapes (either color) in chicken salad. I’ve never had Costco chicken salad because we don’t have a Costco, but I’m looking forward to trying it. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe.
    His blessings,
    Kim @ Curtain Queen

  3. Kathleen says:

    We LOVE this Sonoma Chicken Salad!!!! Iit’s become a regular meal in our cycle!
    It’s fresh, oh so tasty and I love the whole sweet and nutty thing going on all over the chicken. Thanks so much for bringing us this wonderful recipe. I’ve shared this and your site with many. Keep up the great cooking and recipes! 🙂

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      It makes me so happy to hear that, Kathleen! This was one of the first recipes that I posted when I first started blogging last summer, so sometimes I feel like I need to go in and update the photos. But I agree that the recipe doesn’t need to be changed…I love it just the way it is! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Hope you’re having a great week!

  4. Can we used canned chicken for this recipe?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Vileena! Canned chicken should work in this recipe as long as you use an equivalent amount. Canned chicken might not taste exactly the same as if you had cooked it fresh, of course, but there should be no problems substituting it. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  5. I used Beyond Meat’s Chicken Free Strips for the chicken, cut down to 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar and used Just Mayo vegan mayo blended with a little of Brianna’s Poppyseed dressing. It came out fabulous. Thanks for posting the recipe

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So happy that this recipe turned out great with your substitutions, Janet…thanks for taking the time to come back and share that! 🙂

  6. This is AMAZING!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So happy you enjoyed this chicken salad, Laurie! It’s one of my favorites as well. Did you see my fall version with apples and cashews? It’s kind of fun to play with the base recipe for different variations… 🙂

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