Chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts makes the perfect prep ahead lunch or dinner. Great on wraps, sandwiches or salads!
This chicken salad with cranberries, walnuts and apples has major fall vibes that I'm loving right now. The apples and cranberries give it the perfect amount of sweetness while walnuts and celery add additional crunch.
Roll it into healthy chicken salad wraps or enjoy it atop a fresh green salad, in lettuce wraps, on a sandwich or alongside your favorite crackers. You can't go wrong with this one!
This meal prep chicken salad is also quite flexible in terms of timing. It makes an excellent packed lunch or an easy weeknight dinner. You could even enjoy a smaller portion as a snack!
To make chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, you'll start by cooking the chicken. While the recipe calls for baking the chicken, you could of course poach, use your slow cooker, or use your Instant Pot if you prefer. Whatever your preferred method of making shredded chicken is will work!
Next, you'll chop your celery and apple. Finally, you'll mix all of the ingredients together, roll into a wrap, and enjoy!
For meal prep chicken salad instructions as well as variations and nutrition info, make sure to scroll down below the recipe.
And for a totally different version of chicken salad, check out my chicken salad lettuce wraps with red onion and bacon!
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Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 bunch green lettuce
- 1 apple
- 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts 4-6 oz each
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sub avocado mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup avocado mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large spinach wraps or sub lettuce wraps
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Sprinkle 3 chicken breasts w/ S&P. Bake in the oven ~30 mins or cooked to 165 F. Allow to slightly cool & shred.
- Chop 2 stalks celery.
- Cut 1 apple into chunks.
- In a large container, combine: shredded chicken, chopped celery, chopped apple, 1/3c cranberries, 1/3c walnuts, 1/4c Greek yogurt, 1/4c mayo & 1/4tsp salt.
- Serve chicken salad in spinach wraps w/ green lettuce or in a lettuce wrap.
Is this a good meal prep chicken salad?
Yes! This recipe makes a great meal prep chicken salad.
At the very least, I recommend cooking your chicken ahead of time. I also like to chop the celery during meal prep. Then you have two choices.
You can wait to chop the apple and mix everything together until just before serving for maximum freshness and crunch. Or, you can go ahead and finish making the chicken salad recipe to enjoy for packed lunches or a super easy dinner if you plan to get home late. The choice is yours! (Just make sure to wait to roll into wraps until serving so they don't get soggy.)
Want another meal prep salad that works well for a packed lunch or light dinner? Check out my tuna salad with grapes!
What's the nutrition like for this chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts?
This chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts provides a nice mix of carbs, protein and fat. For a lower carb version, swap out the tortilla for a lettuce wrap. These healthy chicken salad wraps also provide tons of nutrients and vitamins, as highlighted below:
Chicken Breast (Selenium, Zinc, B Vitamins)
In addition to being packed with protein, chicken is a good source of several vitamins and nutrients. Selenium is beneficial for both your immune system and your thyroid. B vitamins promote a healthy brain and high energy levels. Chicken is also considered a good food for weight loss due to its high protein content and relatively low calories, depending on the cut of chicken.
Walnuts (Copper, Folic Acid, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Vitamin E, Antioxidants, Polyphenols, Fiber)
Many consider walnuts to be the healthiest nut, in part due to their high antioxidant content. They may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, as well as supporting healthy brain function and healthy gut bacteria. They are a true super food!
Celery (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta Carotene, Antioxidants)
It's probably most famous for being a low calorie food, but celery is so much more than that! It offers vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, beta carotene and plenty of antioxidants. Celery also may reduce inflammation and support the digestive tract. Make sure to eat the leaves too, they're full of vitamins!
Apples (Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Fiber)
Apples contain vitamin C and lots of antioxidants like flavonoids that may protect against cancer. They're also a great source of fiber, which helps with healthy digestion.
Avocado Mayonnaise (Oleic Acid, Lutein, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Antioxidants)
This recipe calls for avocado mayo, the main ingredient of which is avocado oil. Avocado oil provides substantial amounts of oleic acid, a quite healthy type of fatty acid believed to be very good for your heart. In addition, avocado oil's Vitamin A and Vitamin E make it good for your skin. It's lutein content supports good eye health. Finally, extracts from avocado oil may help combat arthritis.
Yogurt (Probiotics, Calcium)
High in protein and nutrients, yogurt is fermented and some yogurt contains probiotics, which are highly beneficial to gut health. Since a lot of yogurt is pasteurized, which can kill probiotics, you'll need to check the label if you're looking for yogurt with probiotics. Like other dairy, yogurt is often fortified with vitamin D which, coupled with its calcium, supports bone health.
Variations on Chicken Cranberry Apple Salad
I encourage you to make this chicken cranberry apple salad your own! There are so many ways to mix it up with this one. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Use a different dried fruit like dried cherries, chopped dried apricots or chopped dates.
- Substitute slivered almonds, pistachios or pecans for the walnuts.
- Serve the chicken cranberry apple salad on a salad, sandwich, in a lettuce wrap or on crackers with assorted crudite, rather than wrap-style.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Add a dash of curry powder.
FAQ for Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts
Have questions about chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts? Here are some common ones:
How do you make chicken salad less bland?
To make sure my chicken salad is never bland, I like adding a touch of sweetness like the cranberries and apples in this recipe. You can also toast your nuts lightly before adding to add even more flavor. I highly encourage you to taste as you go as well.
If you finish making your chicken salad and it tastes bland, keep adjusting until it's delicious! That may be adding a squeeze of lemon juice, adding a small amount of dijon mustard or simply adding a sprinkle of salt.
Is chicken salad healthy?
That depends on the recipe! I like to think this recipe is healthy – it uses fresh cooked chicken breast and a nice mix of avocado mayo and Greek yogurt. You can also easily adjust the nutrition content by how you select your wrap. For a lighter or lower carb version, opt for a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.
Does chicken salad use canned chicken?
You could make chicken salad with canned chicken but I prefer to make my own shredded chicken for chicken salad.
How many calories in a chicken cranberry wrap?
The calories of course depend on the specific recipe. For this recipe, one wrap is about 663 calories, including the tortilla. Without the tortilla, it would be about 492 calories per serving.
I want more easy chicken recipes!
Chicken is so versatile and makes a great base for easy weeknight dinners. Here are a few of my favorite easy chicken recipes:
It doesn't get much easier than sheet pan meals! This one includes a delicious, honey-sweetened curry sauce on the chicken. It's the perfect mix of sweet and savory.
Get 20 easy recipes for shredded chicken meal prep.
Stir fry is one of my go-to weeknight meals. If you prep the veggies and sauce ahead, it comes together so quickly! A simple, homemade peanut sauce sets this one apart.
This one is all about the marinade! Citrus and garlic come together for incredible flavor for a never-bland chicken dish the whole family will love.