Until a few years ago, we didn’t really think of avocadoes as anything but a main ingredient for guacamole, or as a supporting player for sandwiches as a filling. Thankfully, those times have changed, especially after we discovered what a delectable, nutritious workhouse an avocado could be. This versatile ingredient can be used to make soups and drinks, and can even be grilled and perked up with a bit of lemon juice. Plus, a 3 ½-ounce serving of avocado delivers vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and potassium, as well as vitamins B5 and B6 (via Healthline).
In this recipe, nutritionist Hayley MacLean shows us how easy it is for the avocado to play a supporting role in a recipe, yet perform multiple functions. It works perfectly in this chicken salad by adding color and flavor, and by adding healthy fat and fiber.
Gather the ingredients
This salad features a delightful mix of both fresh and dried fruit; plus, it’s so quick and easy to put together that gathering the ingredients may take more time than actually making it! To make this you’ll need cooked chicken breasts, half of a chopped honeycrisp apple, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and some minced shallot. You’ll also need Greek yogurt and lemon juice, as well as a ripe avocado, salt, and pepper.
Bear in mind that yogurt substitutions are allowed. "If Greek yogurt is not on hand, regular plain yogurt will do — just make sure to avoid any flavored options! Also, a plant-based yogurt can be used if someone is vegan-izing the recipe, " MacLean says.
Add the chicken and dried fruit into the mixing bowl
To make this avocado chicken salad, get your chicken breasts ready by chopping them into ½-inch pieces. Then put the chicken, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and shallot into a large mixing bowl. Once the chicken mixture is ready, set the bowl aside.
In a separate bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the Greek yogurt and lemon juice.
Making this recipe vegan-friendly takes little effort; MacLean says, "To do a vegetarian or vegan version of this [salad], cooked and cooled tofu can be used instead of the chicken breast! To make sure it is completely vegan, replacing the Greek yogurt with a plant-based substitute is also important!"
Prep your avocado and get ready to serve
Get your avocado ready first by slicing its flesh length- and cross-wise to form cubes inside the peel, before scooping the avocado into the mixing bowl with the chicken, apple, and dried cranberries. Add in the yogurt mixture and mix well until the ingredients are properly combined and the avocado begins to break down. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. MacLean recommends that this delicious salad be served on lettuce, in a sandwich, or all on its own with some crackers.
If you have any leftovers that you need to store, place the avocado chicken salad in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the salad to keep the avocado from browning to quickly.
Dried fruits are an excellent way to add extra nutrition and flavor to your salad; unfortunately they can also potentially be an extra source of sugar and carbohydrates. To keep your salad from turning into a tasty trap, you’ll want to use dried fruit with no added sugars or, in the case of the cranberries (which are naturally tart), you’ll want your fruits sweetened with fruit juice (via Health). MacLean says if you’re not keen on cranberries, she proposes an alternative: "The cranberries in this recipe can be swapped for dried currants or tart cherries, or even raisins for a slightly sweeter taste!"
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked
- ½ honeycrisp apple, chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ripe avocado
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the chicken breasts into ½-inch pieces.
- Add the chicken, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and shallot to a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt and lemon juice.
- Cut the avocado in half, and then slice the flesh in both directions to form cubes inside the peel.
- Scoop the avocado cubes into the mixing bowl with the chicken.
- Add the yogurt mixture to the bowl with the chicken.
- Mix well until combined and the avocado begins to break down. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately as desired.