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Finding time to cook every meal can be tough, but not impossible. One way to set yourself up for success is to plan your meals at the beginning of each week so you can stay on track with your health goals.
To that end, this keto chicken salad is a fast and easy recipe to whip up during your meal prep for the week. It’s high-protein, filled with healthy fats, and contains almost no carbohydrates so you can maintain those high energy levels and stay keto.
What’s in a Keto Chicken Salad?
Whoever said eating keto was boring and restrictive didn’t try this keto chicken salad. This low-carb recipe offers a delicious combination of flavors, plus a creamy texture that’s perfectly punctuated by crunchy veggies.
Here’s what to put in this easy keto chicken salad:
- Chicken breast
- Brown mustard
- Pink Himalayan salt
- Fresh dill
- Chopped pecans
Keep in mind that if you have a nut allergy or sensitivity, you can easily omit the pecans. (It tastes just as good without them.) Try using sunflower seeds instead for a little salty crunch.
If you want to see the complete nutrition facts, check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. It breaks down the macros and includes the serving size.
And since knowledge is power, it’s time to get a quick breakdown of the ingredients in this easy recipe — along with some simple swaps — so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Is Mayo Keto-Friendly?
One of the main ingredients in this low-carb chicken salad is mayonnaise. Lots of people ask, “Can you have mayo on the keto diet?” The answer is yes. Kind of. You have to be careful about what’s in it.
Most of the mayo you see sold in stores is made with toxic vegetable oils like canola oil. These oils are easily oxidized and highly processed. Mayo made with avocado oil or olive oil is a great source of healthy fats and tastes better, too.
Also avoid mayo with added sugar to prevent any spikes in your daily carb count.
The best way to know what you’re eating is to make it yourself. Fortunately, you can easily make your own keto-friendly mayo at home. Just whisk together these ingredients:
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups avocado oil
Swap Greek Yogurt for Mayo
If you’re not feeling like mayo, Greek yogurt is an easy substitute. It has the same creaminess of mayonnaise, but offers more protein. Greek yogurt still has carbs, so keep that in mind when tracking your macros.
Read the label and only buy Greek yogurt without any added sugars and choose the higher fat options when possible. To ensure you get a truly keto-friendly Greek yogurt, this DIY version is a winner.
It should also be noted that Greek yogurt has a slightly tangy flavor, so it may change the taste of your chicken salad a bit. Even so, give it a try. If you prefer the slight sweetness of mayo instead, you can always swap it out the next time.
Use Avocados Instead of Mayo
Of course, if you want to avoid mayo and Greek yogurt altogether, you can use avocados instead. Sure, it’ll turn the salad green, but it will be just as tasty. What’s more, avocados are nutrient-dense and made up of about 70% heart-healthy monounsaturated fats[*].
A Nutritious Lunch Option
Chicken provides a healthy source of protein. You can make this meal fit perfectly within your macronutrient needs by either adding more chicken or more sources of healthy fats to make it an ideal low-carb, keto-friendly snack.
You don’t have to limit this salad to these ingredients alone. The beauty of a salad is that you can add any vegetables you like, as long as they don’t kick you out of ketosis. This list will show you all the best veggies to eat on a low-carb diet.
One cup serving of this keto chicken salad is 279 calories with 19 grams of healthy fats, 25 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of net carbs.
Veggies You Can Add to Chicken Salad
One of the best things about this low-carb keto chicken salad recipe is its versatility. You can add a variety of different vegetables. Just be careful to track your macros. Some veggies, like carrots, have higher carb counts than others. When you’re on a low-carb diet, every carb counts.
This recipe already has celery in it, but feel free to add some of these other keto-friendly veggies:
- Green onions
- Red onions
- Cucumbers or pickles
A Quick Meal for Busy Days
The total time to make this salad is only about 10 minutes. That includes the five-minute prep time. You’re basically just mixing a handful of ingredients in a large bowl and that’s it.
To save even more time, you can use rotisserie chicken. Just make sure that the chicken you buy doesn’t have any added sugars. If possible, get one without any rub or marinade on it. As always, the nutrition label is your friend.
If you’re not sure about buying ready-made rotisserie chicken, you can cook extra chicken at the beginning of the week and use some of the leftovers for this dish.
Take It on The Go
Eating a bowl of creamy salad isn’t easy to do in the car. But if you want to pack this chicken salad for your lunch, here are some on-the-go ideas:
- Make lettuce wraps. Pack the lettuce leaves separately from the chicken salad, so the lettuce doesn’t absorb the liquid and become soft. Lettuce wraps are naturally gluten-free, which makes them an excellent choice.
- Prep in mason jars. If you’re doing meal prep days in advance, put the dry ingredients at the bottom of the jar and the mayo and mustard on top. Simply mix them up before eating.
- Eat with cloud bread. Make this 4-ingredient cloud bread and you’ll have an easy-to-carry, keto-friendly chicken salad sandwich. Even better, the bread has just 0.4 grams of net carbs per slice.
- Scoop with cheese crisps. Try eating your chicken salad as a dip and use homemade cheese crisps as low-carb chips.
How Long Does It Last in the Fridge?
If you store this chicken salad in an airtight container, it’ll last about 7-10 days in the refrigerator. The oils might separate from the mayo, so just give it a good mix.
That said, it tastes best when freshly made. If you’re going to make enough to store in the fridge, don’t mix in the mayo and mustard until you’re ready to eat. This will keep the veggies crispy.
Swap Tuna for Chicken
Turn this into a tuna salad with one easy swap. Instead of chicken, use tuna. It tastes just as good and might even be more convenient since it comes in a can.
While fresh is always best, you can also eat canned tuna that’s packed in water or olive oil. Sustainably-caught, low-mercury tuna has omega-3s to promote healthy heart and brain function[*].
You can also eat your tuna salad with a lettuce wrap, in a bowl by itself, or atop cloud bread.
Keto Chicken Salad
Finding time to cook every meal can be a challenge, which is why this keto chicken salad is the perfect make-ahead, satiating meal. High in protein, filled with healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates, this dish is sure to become a regular in your household.
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