September 10, 2018


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 also 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.


How to prepare chicken

For this recipe, you can use boneless skinless breasts or tenderloins. I cooked my 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. I seasoned the chicken on both sides with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder while cooking.

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).


Sweet potato preparation & substitutions

For the sweet potatoes, peel and cut them into bite-sized chunks, then bake 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).

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 in your hands just enough to turn them a slightly more vibrant green. Massaging makes the kale more tender and sweet.


Making the vinaigrette

Last but not least, the vinaigrette is a simple but delicious combo of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and olive oil. You can add a little honey for added sweetness, but I don’t think it needs it! Also, the honey isn’t technically Whole30 (but would be considered Paleo).

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.

Harvest Chicken Salad & Cider Vinaigrette (Whole30)

This Harvest Chicken Salad is whole-30 approved with tart apples, caramelized sweet potatoes, crunchy pecans, and massage kale, topped with a zesty cider vinaigrette.
Course Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 424kcal


  • 9 oz. raw sweet potato peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks*
  • 12 oz. raw chicken breast sliced thin
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt optional
  • 4 1/2 cups kale* tough stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cup apple* chopped
  • 6 tbsp. pecans* chopped


  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp. honey optional, not Whole30
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper optional
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt optional

*See blog post above for substitutions.


    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    • Arrange sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake for 40-50 minutes until easily pierced with a fork and browned in spots.
    • Meanwhile, cook chicken breasts in a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, 4-6 minutes per side until cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder while cooking if desired.
    • Whisk together cider vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, honey (optional) and mustard for your dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Once timer goes off, remove sweet potatoes from oven and let cool.
    • Gently “massage” kale in a large mixing bowl until slightly wilted.
    • Dived kale between three meal prep containers, then top each with 3 ounces of cooked chicken breast (will weigh less after cooking), 2.5 ounces of cooled sweet potato chunks, 1/2 cup chopped apple, 2 tbsp. pecans, and 2 tbsp. dressing (keep dressing separate until ready to eat).
    • Seal containers and keep in the fridge until ready to enjoy. Will keep in fridge up to one week.


    Calories (per serving, minus optionals): 392kcal, Fat: 16g, Sat fat: 1.0g, Carbs: 31g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 11g, Protein: 41g, Sodium: 207mg
    Calories (per serving, including optionals): 424kcal, Fat: 16g, Sat fat: 1.0g, Carbs: 39g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 18g, Protein: 41g, Sodium: 595mg

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.

    Also in Blog


    March 11, 2023

    This Healthy Kung Pao Chicken has become one of my favorite stir-fry recipes! It's got crunchy almonds, tender chicken pieces, and colorful vegetables - all in a savory, lightly sweet sauce with a subtle kick of Sichuan pepper. This recipe is gluten-free and actually not very spicy. All of my kids loved it! And it's surprising how wonderful almonds and celery are in this dish. You've gotta try it!

    View full article →


    March 07, 2023

    These Chocolate Glazed Protein Donuts are protein-packed and macro-balanced for the perfect sweet breakfast or snack! Each tender chocolate cake donut is covered in a rich chocolate glaze (and sprinkles if you're feeling "extra"). I love that they're low in sugar, gluten-free, and dairy-free! You can easily make them vegan by swapping the egg whites for a vegan egg substitute.

    View full article →


    February 22, 2023

    This Chicken Shawarma & Mediterranean Vegetables has been on repeat for meal prep - it's so flavorful! Think spiced crispy chicken thighs with savory roasted vegetables, satisfying couscous, and dill yogurt sauce. This recipe can be made dairy-free using plain unsweetened coconut yogurt, or gluten-free using quinoa instead of the couscous. For vegan, you could try marinating tofu in the spices, olive oil, and lemon! However you make it, I hope you enjoy!

    View full article →

    Get my FREE meal prep guide!

    Get family-friendly recipes, nutrition tips and faith-based inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.