September 14, 2023

Harvest Chicken Salad & Cider Vinaigrette (Whole30)

This Whole30 Harvest Chicken Salad brings fall flavors together in a fresh and nutritious way! I love the combo of massaged kale, crisp sweet apple, crunchy pecans, and zesty cider vinaigrette. I topped mine with juicy chicken, but you can use leftover turkey too! This salad is Whole30-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo! I could literally eat this everyday.

You might also like my Southwest Steak Salad ;)

Did you know? Kale is high in fiber, protein (3g per 33kcal), vitamins A, C, and K, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and folate, which is important for preventing birth defects.

Harvest Chicken Salad Whole 30

How to prepare chicken

For this recipe, you can use boneless skinless breasts or tenderloins. I seasoned my chicken with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, and oregano before cooking. I then cooked the seasoned chicken in a copper skillet with avocado oil cooking spray (adds a nice butter flavor) over medium-high heat, 4-6 minutes per side, until cooked through and lightly browned in spots. 

Harvest Chicken Salad Whole 30

Understanding chicken labels

I always try to buy free-range and antibiotic-free chicken, or better yet, organic and animal welfare approved! Both “organic” and “free range” labels require that the chickens had some access to the outdoors. Likewise, the labels “organic” and “no antibiotics ever” guarantee that no antibiotics were used (it also means the chickens were not kept with other sick or diseased birds).

In addition, “organic” chicken must be fed organic, vegetarian feed (not other chicken parts). “Animal welfare approved” means the chickens were allowed daytime foraging in pasture, and given exposure to natural light and fresh air (more info here).

Harvest Chicken Salad Whole 30

Sweet potato preparation & substitutions

For the sweet potatoes, I first peeled and cut them into bite-sized chunks, then seasoned with salt and garlic powder. Finally, I baked them with avocado oil cooking spray at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until browned on the edges. There is something so delightful about caramelized sweet potato!

Of course, you can omit the sweet potato for a lower carb version, or use butternut squash or delicata squash instead (both of which are lower in carbs).

Harvest Chicken Salad Whole 30

Other substitutions

Of course, this wouldn’t be a harvest salad without apples and pecans! However, pears and walnuts would be scrumptious too. Feel free to use grapes, almonds, or other fruit and nuts too.

For the salad base, I used kale (spinach or mixed greens would work too!). I first removed the stems, then massage the kale gently until somewhat wilted. You want to squeeze the kale leaves just enough to turn them a slightly more vibrant green. Massaging makes the kale more tender and less bitter. 

Kale stands up really well for meal prep! You can even add the dressing over top and keep salads in the fridge for 4-5 days. 

Harvest Chicken Salad Meal Prep

Making the vinaigrette

Last but not least, the vinaigrette is a delicious combo of orange juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice, dijon mustard, thyme, salt and pepper.  

Here’s the printable recipe for this Whole30 Harvest Chicken Salad! I hope you’ll rate and/or comment below if you try it 🙂

Created in collaboration with TransformNation.

This post contains affiliate links.


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