We are a fall-loving household over here, and everything from our waffles to our ice cream has been transformed into some version of pumpkin. So, why can’t we make our chicken salad more ready for fall as well?
I usually make chicken salad about 1-2 times per month (basically every time we pick up a rotisserie chicken at Costco). Chris eats it for lunches throughout the week and I like it topped on toast or on top of a bed of greens for some protein in a salad. It’s almost always on hand, and I’ve been whipping up quite a few batches for meal prep for all of our work from home lunches.
I decided to dress this one up with a little fall spin, by adding chopped butternut squash and cranberries to my usual base. I also added some chopped fennel fronds for some color, flavor, and crunch. There is no pumpkin spice in this, so rest assured that this dish is lemony, fresh, and full of chicken-y flavor – I’m not here to have my chicken salad taste like a latte.
Feel free to swap out some items if you want. I always use both breasts of a rotisserie chicken, but any leftover chicken meat will work here as long as there is a good amount. I also use a blend of Greek yogurt and mayo for the base because I think it provides a perfect blend of protein and mouthfeel, but feel free to go full Greek yogurt or swap in some sour cream if that is what you have on hand. The juice of one lemon can be swapped for a couple of limes or about ¼ cup of your favorite vinegar. Finally, the butternut squash can be traded out for any roasted squash (acorn, delicata), roasted carrots, or even sweet potatoes. Any dried fruits will work nicely here as well (dried apricots or cherries would be great), and the fennel can always be subbed out with celery. So many options to make this versatile dish, so let’s get in the kitchen to make a batch!
Recipe down below along with some photos! Happy Fall, y’all!
Autumn Chicken Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries
- Two chicken breasts, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Fronds and stems from one head of fennel, chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ of a roasted butternut squash, chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup of dried cranberries
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Using two forks (or your hands), shred the chicken into large strands. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and juice of one lemon. Stir to fully combine. Set aside.
- Remove the stems from a bulb of fennel, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop up some of the tender fennel fronds (leaves) as well. Add chopped fennel stems and fronds to the large bowl with the dressing. Set the fennel bulb aside for another use.
- Slice the roasted butternut squash into bite sized pieces. Add to the large bowl with the dressing.
- Add the dried cranberries and shredded chicken to the large bowl with the dressing. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir to combine all together.
- Taste for seasoning, and add salt as needed (store-bought rotisserie chicken breasts can be salty and may not need additional salt). Stir to combine.