Healthy Garlic Herb Chicken Salad Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Healthy Garlic Herb Chicken Salad

11 reviews / 4.8 average

I’m not really supposed to tell you this, but I don’t even love chicken salads.

Er, didn’t. Past tense.

Friends, meet this healthy GARLIC HERB CHICKEN SALAD. She is basic and simple and 10-minute-fast while still being (obvs) rocked out with flavor. She is also clean, real, get-back-your-glow food for a Monday dinner. And she is, as of this moment, my favorite chicken salad ever slash the best healthy chicken salad slash the only chicken salad that I like.

This salad – she knows us. She knows what we need and love. She is packing in the juicy summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil, rotisserie chicken (psh, girl knows you don’t have it in you to actually cook your own chicken in the summer), brown rice and/or quinoa, and Parmesan if you wanna fudge on the clean eating part just a lil bit.

And that creamy part that makes it hold all together? Healthy chicken salad means we are working with NO mayo. We’re talking about a mixture of: a handful of walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, more basil, and a little knob of garlic — all of which makes a clean, creamy dressing that rivals any of the best mayo-based sauces that a chicken salad has ever seen.

Chicken salad in a bowl with a spoon.
Sauce for Garlic Herb Healthy Chicken Salad.
Tomatoes for Healthy Chicken Salad.

I get it, guys. I am right there with you.

You grilled out on Friday and went out for a big ol brunch on Saturday and then last night the cookie brownies made an appearance in your kitchen and now you are FEELING IT. Holy Monday, you are feeling it. And by you, I mean me. It’s summer, and the living is good, and the eating is even better. How much do you guys love it? I love it A LOT.

But I also love the feeling of getting a grip on the amazing summer eating situation by channeling the best of fresh, vibrant summer flavors into something that fits the clean eating bill. Especially on a Monday.

Boom. We are all over this healthy chicken salad as meal prep situation.

A post-weekend detox never tasted better.


Garlic Herb Chicken Salad in a bowl with a spoon.
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Healthy Chicken Salad in a serving bowl with wooden spoon.

Healthy Garlic Herb Chicken Salad


Garlic Herb Chicken Salad – this healthy chicken salad is CREAMY and CLEAN with no mayo! like a cross between herby bruschetta and chicken salad. Super easy, too!



Salad Base:

  • 2 cups cooked mixed brown rice and quinoa (I use the pre-cooked Seeds of Change mix)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (store-bought rotisserie chicken works like a charm)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped

Creamy Basil Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts (can sub almonds)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Toss the brown rice / quinoa, chicken, and tomatoes together.
  2. For the dressing, whiz everything together in the food processor until mostly smooth and a little bit creamy. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients – letting it all sit together for 30 minutes helps the flavors become x-tra delicious.


Other add-in possibilities: greens – I like to add a handful of chopped baby spinach just before serving, Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese – I mean, not super healthy, but your secret is safe with me! pepperoncinis for a salty tangy bite, roasted corn, and maybe more seeds or nuts like pepitas, pistachios, or almonds. Possibilities abound! Go wild.

This salad lasts for a few days (like, 3 max) in the fridge once it’s tossed. The tomatoes water the whole thing down a bit, so keep those separate until just before serving if you can.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: garlic herb chicken salad, healthy chicken salad, garlic chicken salad

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One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our best healthy chicken recipes page. Check it out!


  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am not IN LOVE with chicken salad by any means but it is still my go to easy lunch so i will most definitely be whipping up that basil dressing this week. i bet that dressing would be divine with salmon as well…

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m normally very not into chicken salad either – too much mayo yuckiness. This one sounds like perfection, though, and I just happen to have some extra poached chicken in my fridge waiting to be shredded… could this be fate?!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    ooh, this dressing sounds like pesto but a bit thinner (aka perfect for salad!). still don’t love chicken salads, but when there’s yummy things inside (basil dressing and the sweetest summer tomatoes, hellooooo), i’m down.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love this recipe! I love that it is chicken salad but that it does not have any mayo in it. I am not a mayo person – for the obvious reason that I am a health coach and don’t do the extra fat thing but also because I just don’t like the taste of mayo. I am cracking up a little over here because as I am typing this I see an ad on the screen at the bottom of this post for mayo 😉 granted it looks like an olive oil based version but still, you may want to switch that up a little! Keep the great posts comin’. Thank you!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Ha! That’s funny. I’m actually not opposed to mayo from time to time, and the ads auto-generate on each post, so must have just been a by-chance thing. 🙂

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love your recipes! Could you add some info about how long your recipes would last in the fridge? Like some of the sauces? I’m only cooking for two and I know I can cut down the recipe but we’re also fans of leftovers! I’m just terrible at determining how long a home cooked meal is good for (especially yummy sauces!)

    Thank you! <3

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I read this recipe and made it immediately! Instead of Parsley I used Cilantro (since I have it) and I used Brown Rice, and Almonds instead of Walnuts (again cuz I have it!). It is AWESOME! Thanks so much for another great recipe!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love this, made a fantastic dinner after a few days of unhealthy take out eating. I definitely prefer this to the mayo kind. I want to sneak into the fridge and eat some with a fork, the true test of great food.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is a really lovely and well though out dish. I love the addition of brown rice and quinoa in the salad. I feel like the flavors and textured go very well with the chicken (:

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am trying this tonight, as it sounds delish! Where does all the sodium come, didn’t see any listed? Thanks

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks delicious! I’ve been on a kick lately of making a chicken salad or something similar each weekend to have for lunches during the week. I can’t wait to try this ASAP!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m always looking for ways to “dress up” salad! I completely cut out dressing a while ago and as a result, I stopped eating salads altogether. Glad to finally find a health friendly recipe! Really diggin’ the photographs, too!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This landed in my inbox yesterday morning and I made it last night for dinner and it is so good. Light and delicious. Changes I made based on what I had in the house–used farro instead of rice or quinoa, used pine nuts, skipped the parsley. Also, I seeded the tomatoes (as in, cut them in half on their “equator”, and gently squeezed liquid and seeds out), to keep leftovers from becoming too wet. My husband loved it too. He said, “Put this in the regular rotation!” Thank you for the creative, healthy ideas.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Could you leave out the rice or replace it with something else? Trying to be grain-free at the moment…

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    A win in our house last night, thanks Lindsay!

    I used black couscous and bulgar, since that’s what I had. I only had one lemon, so I heated it up to get the most juice out of it and added its zest. We didn’t feel it was missing any lemon

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks like such an easy salad to throw together for several days of lunches, and one that I’d definitely look forward to!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsay you rock! As brittany says, I´m not in love with salads, probably never will be, but every now and then great recipes are shared and that helps me eat them more frequently! Your blog is amazing at this! Have you checked Barilla Restaurant´s website? They also share delicious ones, really quick easy recipes! Highly recommended!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This sound amazing but bre the nutritional values correct? Is there really 36 Grams of fat in a serving? If so I don’t think this qualifies as health? Do you have the break down or Saturated and non saturated fat?