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This cottage cheese chicken salad subs the usual mayonnaise for cottage cheese, making for a healthier version of the traditional recipe. It's loaded with protein and easy to meal prep, too!
Recipe originally created: May 2014 // Updated: April 2020
My oh my do I adore chicken salad. When I was in high school, I worked at a grocery store, and it was there that I discovered my love of chicken salad.
Oddly enough, I had convinced myself that I "hated" mayonnaise, but loved chicken salad, which makes absolutely no sense, but I have a feeling I would have been obsessed with this cottage cheese chicken variation.
If you're a fan of regular chicken salad, I have a feeling you'll like this version just as much. I know cottage cheese texture can sometimes be off-putting for people, but since it's used for the dressing, the texture isn't noticeable at all. The cottage cheese adds even more protein to this meal, so it's basically the ultimate lunch!
Cottage cheese chicken salad ingredients
- Chicken: This is a no-brainer--of course you need chicken in order to make chicken salad! I bought two organic boneless skinless chicken breasts and boiled them until they were cooked through, about 20 minutes. This way is a super easy and quick way to prep chicken (like in these chicken tacos), and it makes it easy to shred with two forks. With that said, you can cook the chicken other ways--in the stove or in a skillet--if you prefer.
- Cottage cheese: Make sure to buy plain cottage cheese, but the actual kind you use--whole milk, 2% milk, low fat, etc.--doesn't totally matter. I used whole milk cottage cheese because I think it's the most filling and has a great flavor, but any kind will work.
- Mayonnaise: Similar to the cottage cheese, the kind of mayo you use doesn't make a huge difference. I tend to opt for avocado oil mayonnaise, but the entire recipe only calls for three tablespoons, so it doesn't make a huge difference.
- Fruit/vegetables: This includes grapes, celery and dried cranberries, all of which add flavor to this recipe. While I'm not a huge celery fan on its own, I absolutely adore it in this chicken salad, mostly because it's a nice contrast to the sweetness of the grapes and cranberries.
- Almonds: The almonds really just help to add a bit of crunch--aka better texture--to this salad. I like using sliced almonds because they're not as bulky as whole almonds, and they're already sliced so you don't have to chop them by hand.
Does it matter what kind of cottage cheese I use?
Nope! I like using whole milk cottage cheese because, in my opinion, it tastes the best, but you can use any cottage cheese. I've made this with low fat cottage cheese as well and it was delicious.
Do I have to add the mayo?
Technically no, but if you've ever made regular chicken salad, you know that mayonnaise is a key ingredient. Though the majority of the dressing is made with cottage cheese, using a bit of mayo helps to give the recipe that traditional chicken salad flavor.
Feel free to use miracle whip instead if you like that better than mayonnaise.
Cottage cheese chicken salad substitutions/add-ins
Can't find sliced almonds? Try using slivered almonds or whole almonds that have been chopped instead. Or, chopped walnuts would work just fine too.
Green grapes instead of red, though they'll add a little more tartness to the recipe
Green onions instead of, or in addition to, the celery
More healthy lunch recipes
Cottage Cheese Chicken Salad Sandwich
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 lb. whole milk cottage cheese* 16 oz.
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 cup red grapes sliced
- 1/2 cup celery thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 slices bread**
- Cook chicken as you normally would. I like to boil mine in a large pot for 20 minutes or so. Then, use two forks to shred the chicken and place it into the bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir until the chicken is completely coated.
- Eat it as-is or in between two slices of bread and enjoy!