My Skinny Pesto Chicken Salad tastes like something you would order at a quaint bistro for lunch. Herby homemade pesto sauce is mixed with a combination of light mayo and Greek yogurt create a creamy dressing for shredded chicken breast. Paired with some fresh tomatoes and piled on top of a bed of mixed greens or a fresh roll, this chicken salad makes a perfectly healthy and delicious lunch.
What you’ll need to make skinny pesto chicken salad
First and foremost, to make this recipe you’ll need to make one batch of my Skinny Pesto Sauce.
This sauce is super easy to make and is done in under 5 minutes, so don’t worry about that part! If you do not feel like making the skinny pesto, you can use a reduced fat pesto like this one. The stats might change based on the stats of the pesto, just beware.
Other ingredients for this chicken salad include:
- 4 cups cooked chicken breast
- I have included the ingredients and method for poaching your own chicken breast below
- light mayo
- plain non-fat Greek yogurt
That’s it. Yes. THAT’S IT.
I swear, once you make the pesto sauce, the rest of this is beyond easy, especially if you buy a rotisserie chicken for the chicken part. I enjoy poaching my own chicken because it’s so easy and I can control the ingredients.
If you want to poach your own, you will need:
- raw chicken breast
- garlic cloves
- dried bay leaves
- kosher salt
How to poach chicken
To poach the chicken, simply place the raw chicken breast in a large pot. Next, add the salt, crushed garlic cloves, and bay leaves.
Next, cover the chicken with cold water. Make sure everything is submerged under the water. Place the pot on the stove with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the water to a rapid simmer, and cook uncovered. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. You can determine that by using a meat thermometer like this one.
When the chicken has reached the internal temperature of 165, remove it from the pan and place it on a cutting board to cool. Then, shred it using two forks. This method will yield 4 cups of cooked chicken breast.
How to make Skinny Pesto Chicken Salad
Now that the pesto sauce is done and the chicken is cooked, all you have to do is mix everything together.
Whisk together the pesto sauce with the light mayo and Greek yogurt to create your dressing. Then, fold the chicken in.
How to serve skinny pesto chicken salad
There are so many ways to serve this chicken salad.
- Over mixed greens: It is really delicious over mixed greens as a salad for a light and refreshing lunch. I typically really enjoy it this way during the warmer months when I don’t want to eat a really heavy lunch.
- On a roll: This is the most indulgent-tasting way to serve this meal; it really tastes like a sandwich you would get at a cute bistro for lunch. I love the ciabatta rolls from Trader Joe’s (they are 4 WW points and 150 calories each). They’re perfect for this with a few slices of tomato.
- With veggies for dipping: You can also serve this chicken salad alone with some veggies and crackers for dipping; this is particularly fun if you’re looking for a picky-plate for lunch.
This salad meal preps really well; you can store it covered in the fridge in the mixing bowl, or you can portion it out for the week. This recipe makes 6 servings at 2/3 cup each.
Skinny Pesto Chicken Salad
- large pot
- large mixing bowl
- 2 lbs chicken breast raw (sub: 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast)
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 batch skinny pesto sauce
- ¼ cup light mayo
- ¼ cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
Poaching the Chicken
- Add the raw chicken breast to a large pot.
- Add the smashed garlic cloves, salt, and bay leaves. Cover with cold water.
- Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, and shred using two forks.
Making the Chicken Salad
- Combine the pesto sauce, mayo, and yogurt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chicken and toss to combine.
- 5 WW points (green plan)
- 4 WW points (blue and purple plans)
Other chicken salad recipes to try: