May 25, 2011

Nicole’s Walnut-Tarragon Chicken Salad for a Picnic {Naptime Everday}

CHicken Salad

What’s Going on Today: Preparing for a pre-Memorial Day picnic using leftovers from last nights dinner.

Naptime Goals: Prepare Chicken Salad, pack bag with appropriate tableware.

Picnic Menu: Walnut Chicken Salad, sliced baguette, farmer’s market vegetables, iced tea

I am not a huge fan of mayonnaise but have been known to enjoy a good chicken salad now and again. I prefer the salads that are not especially gooey, but rather use mayonnaise or, even better, Greek yogurt as a binder for the chicken and other additions rather than the main event. It just so happens that my friend Nicole feels that same way about her chicken salad which is how she came to tinker with an old recipe to make this one. Her Walnut Chicken Salad is everything I like in a salad and nothing I don’t. The mayo is minimal, the flavor is maximal, and the walnuts add a unique flavor and crunch.

Sometimes I roast a chicken and use the leftovers to make chicken salad, and sometimes I roast a chicken because I want the leftovers for chicken salad. In this case I was guilty of the latter. I am in to roasting chicken lately and the added bonus of a great picnic meal was all I needed to convince me to break out the tube pan once again. Since my daughter wanted a quick early evening dinner picnic down the street I was not worried about the mayo going bad. It would travel from the fridge to my cooler to my mouth in less than 15 minutes.

After our roast chicken dinner I shredded the chicken once my daughter was asleep to save time the next day. Then, when she was at school, I mixed the dressing and mashed everything together to make the salad. It chilled in the fridge until picnic time and then we were ready for our walk. That evening our dinner was a delicious mix of chicken salad, bread, iced tea and a peanut butter sandwiches (for her). A fun, happy picnic that we hope will set the tone for the summer to come.


Nicole’s Walnut-Tarragon Chicken Salad


  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded (about a 4 pound roast chicken)
    ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
    1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
    tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
    ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts


    Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and serve over raisin bread, lettuce or on a nice crispy baguette!

    Naptime Notes

    Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

    Nicole usually adds celery to her version. Since the flavor of celery is not really a favorite of mine I omitted it, but feel free to add it in if you would like. I also have added raisins to this in the past and it tastes delicious. It is also great served on raisin bread if raisins are unavailable.

    Naptime Stopwatch

    10 minutes to make!

    Naptime Reviews

    My daughter is not a huge fan of chicken salad, but my husband is. He devoured his plate and asked what gave the salad the sweet tang he enjoyed so much – turns out he is a fan of Greek yogurt!