Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing


Discover a symphony of flavors and textures in every bite with our tantalizing cranberry pecan chicken salad with poppy seed dressing. Bursting with sweetness from dried cranberries, crunchiness from toasted pecans, and savory notes from tender chicken, this salad is a feast for the senses. Join us as we delve into the delectable world of this irresistible dish and elevate your salad game to new heights.

The Allure of Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad: Cranberry pecan chicken salad is a harmonious blend of contrasting flavors and textures that come together to create a truly unforgettable dining experience. The tartness of dried cranberries perfectly complements the nutty richness of toasted pecans, while the succulent chicken adds a satisfying protein punch. Tossed in a creamy poppy seed dressing, this salad is a celebration of wholesome ingredients and vibrant flavors that will leave you craving more.

Recipe: Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens

For the Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, apple cider vinegar, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
  2. Assemble the Salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine diced chicken breast, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and mixed salad greens. Toss gently to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  3. Add the Dressing: Drizzle the poppy seed dressing over the salad and toss until everything is coated in the dressing.
  4. Serve: Transfer the salad to serving plates or bowls and garnish with additional toasted pecans and dried cranberries, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Health Benefits: Cranberry pecan chicken salad offers a plethora of health benefits thanks to its nutrient-rich ingredients. Cranberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, while pecans provide heart-healthy fats and protein. The addition of lean chicken breast adds essential protein and nutrients, making this salad a wholesome and satisfying meal option.

Serving and Storage Tips:


  1. Fresh Presentation: Serve the cranberry pecan chicken salad with poppy seed dressing immediately after assembling to maintain its freshness and vibrant colors. Arrange the salad on individual plates or in a large serving bowl for a beautiful presentation.
  2. Garnish with Flair: For an extra touch of elegance, garnish the salad with a sprinkle of additional toasted pecans and dried cranberries just before serving. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a burst of flavor and texture.
  3. Pairing Suggestions: Accompany the salad with crusty bread or whole grain crackers for a satisfying meal. It also pairs well with a glass of white wine or a refreshing iced tea for a complete dining experience.


  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover cranberry pecan chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Keep the salad and dressing separate if possible to prevent the greens from becoming soggy.
  2. Separate Components: If preparing the salad in advance, store the cooked chicken, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and mixed greens separately to maintain their individual freshness and texture. Combine them and add the dressing just before serving.
  3. Dressing Storage: The poppy seed dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Give it a good stir before using to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your cranberry pecan chicken salad with poppy seed dressing remains fresh, flavorful, and ready to enjoy whenever hunger strikes.

Variations of the Recipe:

  1. Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad: Replace the mixed greens with cooked quinoa for a hearty and nutritious twist. Toss the quinoa with diced chicken, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a drizzle of poppy seed dressing for a protein-packed salad that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
  2. Turkey Cranberry Pecan Wrap: Transform the salad into a delicious wrap by rolling the ingredients in a large whole wheat or spinach tortilla. Add slices of roasted turkey breast for extra protein and wrap it all up for a satisfying on-the-go meal or picnic treat.
  3. Cranberry Pecan Chicken Lettuce Cups: Serve the salad in crisp lettuce cups for a lighter and low-carb option. Simply spoon the chicken salad mixture into large lettuce leaves, such as romaine or butter lettuce, and garnish with extra pecans and cranberries for added crunch and sweetness.
  4. Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich: Spread the poppy seed dressing on slices of your favorite bread and layer with the chicken salad mixture for a classic and comforting sandwich. Add lettuce leaves and tomato slices for freshness, or grill the sandwich for a warm and melty twist.
  5. Warm Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad: For a cozy and comforting variation, serve the salad warm by sautéing the chicken and heating the cranberries and pecans briefly in a skillet. Toss everything together until warmed through, then serve immediately over a bed of mixed greens or cooked grains for a satisfying meal on chilly days.

These variations offer creative ways to enjoy the delicious combination of cranberries, pecans, chicken, and poppy seed dressing in different formats, from wraps and sandwiches to warm salads and lettuce cups. Experiment with these ideas to find your favorite way to enjoy this flavorful dish!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use leftover chicken for this salad? Absolutely! Using leftover chicken is a great way to repurpose cooked chicken and save time in the kitchen. Simply shred or dice the cooked chicken and incorporate it into the salad as directed.
  2. Can I use other nuts instead of pecans? Yes, feel free to substitute pecans with other nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or even cashews, depending on your preference. Just be sure to toast them lightly for added flavor and crunch.
  3. Is there a substitute for mayonnaise in the dressing? If you prefer a lighter dressing, you can substitute part or all of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt or sour cream. This will still provide creaminess while reducing the overall fat content.
  4. Can I make this salad ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the salad ingredients ahead of time and store them separately in the refrigerator. Combine everything and add the dressing just before serving to keep the salad fresh and crisp.
  5. How long will the poppy seed dressing last in the refrigerator? The poppy seed dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Give it a good shake or stir before using to recombine the ingredients.
  6. Can I make this salad vegetarian or vegan? Certainly! Simply omit the chicken or replace it with grilled tofu or chickpeas for a vegetarian version. For a vegan option, use a plant-based mayonnaise or yogurt alternative in the dressing.
  7. What other fruits can I add to this salad? Aside from dried cranberries, you can add other fruits such as diced apples, sliced grapes, or mandarin oranges for a refreshing and colorful twist. Be creative and use what you have on hand!
  8. How do I toast pecans for this salad? To toast pecans, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden. Alternatively, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and aromatic.
  9. Can I serve this salad as a main dish or side dish? Both! Cranberry pecan chicken salad can be enjoyed as a satisfying main dish for lunch or dinner, served with crusty bread or whole grains. It also makes a delightful side dish to accompany grilled meats or seafood.
  10. Is this salad suitable for meal prep? Absolutely! You can prepare the salad components in advance and assemble individual portions for easy grab-and-go lunches or quick dinners throughout the week. Just be sure to store everything properly to maintain freshness.


Indulge your taste buds and nourish your body with our irresistible cranberry pecan chicken salad with poppy seed dressing. Whether enjoyed as a light lunch, a refreshing dinner, or a crowd-pleasing party dish, this salad is sure to impress with its vibrant flavors and satisfying textures. Elevate your salad game and savor every bite of this delightful culinary creation.

Leave a Comment