I made this Poppy Seed Chicken Salad one night on a whim, and it has been a weeknight summer favorite ever since. Here I pair tender chicken with grapes, red onion, celery, cashews, and chives and dress them in a dressing that adds a refreshingly vibrant bite. This is an irresistible chicken salad recipe that you will turn to again and again.
This Chicken Poppy Seed Salad Deserves to Be a Summer Weeknight Staple!
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this time of year.
On one hand, I love that all that summer has to offer. But I also feel like I sometimes get so caught up in all the things I want to DO kids that I over program us and ultimately forget to enjoy things.
This year, I’m making a special effort to make sure I slow down and savor these days.
I find that taking the time to enjoy a simple lunch together with family and friends is a great way to remember what is important and connect with the world around me. It is amazing how simple time together can give you a refreshing perspective on life.
Since it is so hot here, I like to keep things cool and serve recipes like today’s Orange Poppyseed Chicken Salad. I grew up in the south, but this isn’t my mother’s chicken salad!
Instead of the eggs, pickles and mayo she used, I’ve used grapes, cashews and a light citrus dressing. I like to serve it over a bed of fresh lettuce, but you could also serve it with toasted bread for a chicken salad sandwich.
I love that I can easily make this salad ahead of time. Then all I have to do once my guests arrive is serve it.
It frees me up to enjoy myself, making it the perfect light lunch to celebrate life with family and friends.
How to Make Poppy Seed Chicken Salad:
One of the best things about chicken salad is that even if you can’t cook, it is a cinch to throw together.
Step 1: In a large bowl combine chicken, celery, grapes, red onion, cashews, and chives.
Step 2: In a blender combine yogurt, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, orange juice, maple syrup, poppy seeds, salt, and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth.
Step 3: Add dressing to the chicken mixture and toss. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Step 4: Serve on a bed of Boston lettuce.
Variations for This Recipe
- Use lemon juice or lime juice in place of the orange juice in the dressing.
- Use diced red apples in place of the grapes.
- Add crumbled goat cheese on top.
- Use dried cranberries in place of the grapes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. This recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for three or four days.
Yes! I’ve done this many times when I was out of Greek yogurt.
Absolutely! Just use non-dairy plain yogurt. Alternatively, you can you mayonnaise.
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Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
This Poppy Seed Chicken Salad is a refreshing twist on a classic! Sweet red grapes provide just the right balance for celery and red onion. The dressing is brightened with the addition of orange juice and has a touch of heat from cayenne pepper. Cashews are a delicious addition, but feel free to substitute whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand.
Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
- 16 ounces cooked chicken diced or shredded
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 2 cups red grapes halved
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup cashews chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 head Boston lettuce separated into leaves
- Poppy Seed Dressing
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt dairy or non-dairy
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- Combine chicken, celery, grapes, red onion, cashews and chives in a large bowl.
- In a blender, combine yogurt, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, orange juice, maple syrup, poppy seeds, salt and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth.
- Toss dressing with the chicken mixture and refrigerate for at least one hour. Re-toss before serving.
- Serve on a bed of Boston lettuce.