If you are going to make any of my lunch meal preps, it should probably be this healthy BLT chicken salad. The flavor combinations in this recipe will knock your socks off; roasted red onion and crispy bacon make this chicken salad next level. Combined with a base of light mayo, yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and fresh scallions, this easy to make chicken salad has all of the classic flavors of your favorite sandwich: the BLT.
Packed with flavor: smoky, savory, BLT chicken salad. One of my favorite sandwiches is a classic BLT – so I wanted to find a way to make that into a one-dish chicken salad for easy lunches. You can serve it on bread, on a wrap, or with crackers and fresh veggies for dipping. Here, I served it with some fresh baby carrots and cucumbers for dipping, as well as some huge pieces of hearty romaine to make lettuce wraps.
Here’s some key ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- chicken breast
- center cut bacon – I use this one
- red onion
- cherry tomatoes
- plain, non fat Greek Yogurt
- light mayo
- apple cider vinegar
- paprika, garlic powder, onion powder
All about this smoky, savory chicken salad
I love a good chicken salad! It’s the perfect meal prep for lunch – it’s quick to assemble, requires minimal cooking and time in the kitchen, it doesn’t need to be reheated before eating, and it lasts really well in the fridge. It’s also super versatile. If one day you feel like having a sandwich, go right ahead – another day maybe you’re more in the mood for crackers and a veggie platter, that works perfectly too! I have tons of other chicken salad recipes – some of my favorites are the following:
Classic Herbed Chicken Salad (your classic chicken salad, but lighter)
- Cranberry Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (this is a delicious change-up from the classic)
How I make BLT chicken salad lower calorie and lower point
It took me trial and error to figure out how to lighten up chicken salad without making it super dry and boring. Chicken salad should be moist and creamy, and usually that requires a ton of mayo! A lot of lightened-up chicken salad recipes call for yogurt in place of mayo, which I can appreciate. But mentally I couldn’t get over the fact that the salad was primarily yogurt. I just felt like I was tasting that yogurt tang. Over time I have realized that a combination of mayo and Greek yogurt provides the perfect base for chicken salad! The yogurt just kind of helps stretch the mayo, without changing the flavor whatsoever.
The other elements of a good chicken salad
Ok – so we’ve got the dressing covered, now let’s talk about what else chicken salad needs:
The flavor part is relatively easy: add some spices and a splash of vinegar to your dressing to give it that extra pop of flavor. Here, I use apple cider vinegar for some good acidic flavor, and for spices, I use smoky paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. The combination of these spices adds a punch of flavor that is, quite frankly, unexpected!
For texture, I add roasted red onion and fresh cherry tomatoes. The sweetness and crunch of both of these elements offsets the creamy texture of the rest of the chicken salad. I promise, you won’t be disappointed in the flavor profile of this dish.
Poaching your own chicken for chicken salad
I’ve included step-by-step instructions on the recipe card below for how to poach chicken.
I have been poaching my chicken for chicken salads for a while now. Not only is it SUPER easy, but the chicken comes out super moist.
As always, for any of my recipes that call for poached chicken, you can use a cooked rotisserie chicken, you can use canned chicken, or you can roast your own chicken. Whatever is easiest for you, or whichever method you prefer!
I personally like poaching chicken because I use six chicken breasts for my chicken salad recipes (one breast per serving), and making my own cooked chicken breast is much more budget-friendly than buying three rotisserie chickens.
When you’re poaching chicken, you can add any flavor you want to your pot. For example, when I make my Thai chicken salad, I use ground ginger and lime in the water. For this recipe, I kept it simple with some dried bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. This is the basic recipe I use for most of my chicken salads, since it can work with most flavor profiles.
Another key piece of advice is to invest in a meat thermometer. I use this one from OXO. It is a lifesaver in the kitchen! This is the best way to tell when you’re chicken is done.
Healthy BLT Chicken Salad for Meal Prep
This chicken salad is perfect for meal prep. Each serving is one heaping cup (that’s a VERY generous portion of chicken salad!). I store mine in these meal prep containers from Ello – since they’re glass, I typically don’t have any issues with food spoiling. I swear it’s the glass!
You can also store this in in a large mixing bowl, covered, in the fridge.
Healthy BLT Chicken Salad
- sheet pan
- large mixing bowl
- large pot if poaching your own chicken
- 6 cups cooked chicken, boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into pieces – see poaching method below
- 12 pieces center cut bacon, I use Oscar Mayer
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup light mayo
- 3/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
Poached Chicken Method
- 2-3 lbs chicken breast, raw
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves, dried
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet; chop the red onion and add it to the other side of the baking sheet with cooking spray and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 15 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mayo, yogurt, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder, and whisk together.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, scallions, cooked onion, and chicken, stir to combine.
- Chop or crumble the cooked bacon and fold in.
Poaching Chicken Method:
- Add the raw chicken to a large pot, add the kosher salt, dried bay leaves, the garlic, and fresh peppercorns (note: you can use any seasonings you wish, depending on the flavor profile of your dish). Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover the pot and let the chicken cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
- 4 WW points