Creamy mayo-free avocado chicken salad with mango, carrots, cucumber, pecans, raisins, and bell pepper. This fresh new take is healthier than classic chicken salad, yet big on flavor!
This post is sponsored by the California Avocado Commission.
How do you feel about chicken salad? Has it always been a thing in your life? Are you a chicken salad newbie? What do you put in it and how do you eat it (as is, on a sandwich, on a salad, in a wrap, etc)?
My answers to the above queries? I always steered clear of chicken salad as a kid, because: mayonnaise. As an adult, I still shy away from chicken salad that I haven’t made, because I’m pretty particular about the ingredients.
What can I say? I have a thing about mayonnaise. I just can’t dig it most of the time, and even on the rare occasion I’m on board, I have very stringent specifications for how it’s sourced, how it’s used, and the amount. For instance, I’m alright with avocado oil mayonnaise in the tiniest portion as long as it’s in something where it’s nearly indistinguishable. I know… I’m a pill.
BUT, all mayo thoughts and feelings aside, I do have a mayo-free chicken salad recipe for you that I think you’ll love even if you do like mayonnaise!
This recipe is more health-conscious than your typical chicken salad recipe, yet it’s still insanely delicious (you have my permission to quote me on this). It incorporates fresh vegetables, mango, raisins, and pecans for a super flavorful, crunchy, and vibrant salad. And the best part? It’s tied together with a mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise. I know…BRILLIANT! Why didn’t I think of that ages ago when I started making my Curried Chicken Salad?? Better late than never, though, and now we can make ALL THE CHICKEN SALADS with avocado muuuhahahaha!
Speaking of avocado, did you know June is California Avocado Month?? It is! And we’re celebrating by showcasing a perfect example of the versatility of the avocado. Avocados can be used to replace mayonnaise, cream, banana, oil, and much more as a bonus to the fact that they’re already incredibly delicious and nutritious. Just take the following recipes I have already posted using avocado as an ingredient swap:
- California Cobb Salad with Chipotle Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Dairy-Free Fudgesicles (<- one of the most popular recipes on my site!)
- Shrimp Taco Salad with Avocado Chimichurri Dressing
- Avocado Pesto Zoodles with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 3-Ingredient Mayo-Free Avocado Tuna Salad
- Avocado Chocolate Silk Pie
- Key Lime Vegan Ice Cream (<- also a well-trafficked recipe!)
Le sigh….le avocadoes..they’re magical, I tell you!
Alright, now that we’re proficient in the fine art of avocado everything, we can discuss how you can change up this chicken salad to make it your own.
- Add fresh dill, mint, or basil to the chicken salad for an herb-infused adventure.
- Replace the mango with grapes
- Swap out the raisins for dried blueberries or cranberries
- Incorporate your favorite nut (cashews, almonds and walnuts work great) in place of pecans, or omit to make-nut free.
- Get creative with your vegetable selection – you can use tomato, celery, broccoli, etc.
I like eating the chicken salad on top of a green salad (I’ve been adding cooked quinoa and more avocado with a drizzle of avocado oil and cider vinegar), but you can also make chicken salad sandwiches with it, make a salad wrap, or eat it just as it is. The options are aplenty!
Mayo-Free Avocado Chicken Salad
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1 pound
- 1 large California Avocado peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 3/4 cup carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup cucumber seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup mango finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup pecans
Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a full boil. Add the raw chicken breasts and reduce heat slightly. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), until chicken is cooked through. Place chicken on a cutting board, allow it to cool, then chop into cubes. For best results, refrigerate the chicken until chilled prior to finishing the recipe.
Add the chopped avocado, lemon juice, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl and mash everything together using a fork until creamy.
Add the remaining ingredients (including the chopped chicken) to the mixing bowl and stir well until combined. Taste salad for flavor and add more lemon juice and/or sea salt to taste.
Serve chicken salad on a bed of spinach as a green salad or on toasted bread to make a sandwich.