Classic chicken salad gets a healthy and modern update with these Healthy Lavender Chicken Salad Sandwiches. Perfect for picnics, easy lunches or parties.
Chicken salad gets a bad rap when it comes to nutritional prowess; with gobs of mayo and little else in most versions, it’s easy to see why. Luckily, I learned years ago, if you skip the full-fat mayo, use a scant amount of low-fat mayo and add in plenty of plain Greek yogurt, the taste and texture difference is practically indistinguishable.
I also learned years ago, that chicken salad doesn’t have to mimic the chicken salad of yesteryear, it can have hints of curry, citrus, or even truffle if you really want to shake things up. I’ve played around with dozens of versions, but it wasn’t until I had a turkey sandwich slathered in lavender mayo a few months ago when the light bulb went off that hints of lavender and lemon zest would be the perfect departure of ingredients in classic chicken salad.
Typically I start my chicken salads off with store-bought rotisserie chicken, but I’ve really been in to roasting my own organic chicken breasts lately. I do this for two reasons. One, I can control the amount of salt and fat that go into it. And two, because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying eight bucks for two tiny chicken breasts, and barely any thigh or wing meat (unless you get your chickens at Costco).
Once the chicken is cooked, cooled and cubed or shredded (I prefer shredded), it’s pretty darn simple. I throw the “dressing” together with a little bit of low-fat mayo, plenty of plain Greek yogurt, salt, lemon zest, chopped chives and just enough dried lavender.
Like many spices, the lavender really comes alive if you crush it a little bit, so I just gently smashed in between my palms before dropping it in to the mixture. If you have trouble finding lavender, look no further than Amazon, I ordered this and I was really happy with it.
a bit of crunch, I added in some finely diced red onion, celery and chopped cashews. I think walnuts or slivered almonds would also work nicely. Once everything is tossed together, all it needs is a quick taste to confirm if any more salt or pepper is needed.
I like to serve them on croissants, but if you want to stay consistently healthy, then I’d sandwich it between two slices of grainy whole-wheat bread — either way, this is definitely going to become your new favorite way to eat chicken salad.
For more savory recipes with lavender, check out these posts:
Lentil Salad with Lavender & Lemon Honey Dressing: Ask the Food Geek
Lavender, Lemon, and Honey Spatchcocked Roast Chicken: Serious Eats
Roasted Lavender Honey Glazed Chicken: Inspired Taste
- 1 3/4 lb. chicken breast
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup low-fat mayo
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp lavender
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup cashews chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- 6 croissants
- Mixing bowls
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rub chicken breasts with olive oil. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through and juice run clear. Cool to room temperature and then shred. (Can be made one day in advance)
- In a medium bowl, whisk mayo, yogurt, salt and lemon zest. Before adding the lavender, crush between your finger and then add to the bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add cooled, shredded chicken, celery, red onion, cashews and chives. Toss until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Evenly divide between six croissants or whole-grain bread. If desired serve with a bit more lavender and some peppery arugula.