A quick and easy Pesto Avocado Chicken Salad recipe requires only 5 basic ingredients and is just so delicious! This chilled and refreshing chicken salad recipe is ideal for the warm months of the year, plus it’s easy to customize!
A changeup from the classic chicken salad recipe, this magically flavorful chicken salad recipe uses pesto sauce instead of a mayo-based dressing for refreshing herb flavor.
It also includes creamy avocado, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and zingy red onions for a flavor fest!
If you tried my Mediterranean Salmon Salad, I’m willing to bet you’ll love this Pesto Chicken and Avocado Salad as well!
When everything is tied together, we’re left with a low-carb, high-protein recipe with just the most addicting flavor.
Enjoy it as is, add it to a bed of lettuce for a green salad, or use it for chicken salad sandwiches, chicken wraps, or lettuce wraps for a low carb option.
I love an amazing chicken salad and I must say, this one may just be my favorite chicken salad recipe on account of all the fresh flavors and yummy textures.
Here are some tips on making this great recipe the absolute best chicken salad recipe.
There are two keys to making this recipe homemade chicken salad recipe pop:
Rotisserie Chicken: Pro Tip! Use rotisserie chicken, which makes for easy prep (it omits the cooking altogether), and it is already moist and flavorful for the best result.
Poaching chicken doesn’t take long, but I love the convenience of using rotisserie chicken. Plus, it has amazing texture!
Pesto Sauce: The pesto sauce really shines through and makes up the bulk of the flavor so be sure to use a brand you’ve used in the past, or stick with your own homemade Basil Pesto.
Let’s discuss the simple ingredients needed for this super star easy chicken salad recipe.
Pesto Chicken Salad Ingredients:
Cooked Chicken: For the best result, use store-bought rotisserie chicken. This eliminates all of the hassle of cooking and ensures you’re getting moist and flavorful chicken.
You need four cups of cooked chicken (which for me was almost a whole chicken), so keep that in mind if you do decide to cook your own chicken. Any combination of boneless chicken breasts or thighs will work.
If you make my Garlic Butter Roast Chicken, this chicken salad is a great use for leftover cooked chicken.
Red Onion: Providing a bright zing of flavor, red onion brings a great deal of nuance to the flavor profile. You can easily replace it with green onions if you prefer.
Avocado: Fresh ripe avocado provides an amazing burst of creaminess, which makes this healthy chicken salad so irresistible. The avocado will stay fresh in the salad for 24 hours, so keep that in mind when you make this recipe.
You can either consume it within 24 hours with the avocado in it or make it without the avocado, then add the sliced avocado just before eating it. This is my recommendation for the freshest result, especially if you are particular about your avocado.
I just wouldn’t recommend making a huge batch of this and keeping it in the refrigerator for 3 days or longer with the avocado inside of it.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Adding a burst of tangy, bright flavor, sun-dried tomatoes play a pivotal role in giving this chicken salad something special.
Pesto Sauce: Rather than using a combination of mayo and egg yolk for chicken salad dressing, we’re using nothing more than pesto sauce. I have a store-bought brand I love so I stick with that to make this just the easiest recipe to prepare. If you enjoy making your own pesto sauce, go with your favorite homemade pesto.
Salt & Pepper: After stirring everything together in a mixing bowl, taste the chicken salad and then add a little salt and black pepper to your own personal taste.
Looking to change this easy meal up a bit? You can easily customize this healthy recipe to fit it into your daily diet.
For an infusion of cheesy creamy tangy flavor, add ½ cup to ⅔ cup of feta cheese. The chicken salad recipe is plenty flavorful without it, but I believe it would enhance the experience even more!
Add ½ cup of kalamata olives, chopped artichoke hearts, or cherry tomatoes if you’d like.
For a nice crunch and additional flavor, add ⅓ cup of pine nuts.
Enjoy spice? Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sriracha or ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes for spicy chicken salad.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or add the zest of one lemon for a kick of citrus.
If you enjoy creamy mayo in a classic recipe for chicken salad, feel free to add 2 to 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt for a creamy pesto chicken salad.
Toss in any additional fresh herbs, such as fresh dill, basil, cilantro, or sage.
Add a teaspoon of onion powder or garlic powder, 2 to 3 teaspoons of dijon mustard or yellow mustard, a teaspoon of celery seed, or fresh lemon juice.
Now that we’ve covered the fresh ingredients for this tasty chicken salad, let’s make it!
How to Make Pesto Chicken Salad:
Shred a rotisserie chicken (or cooked leftover chicken of choice) and add it to a large bowl along with the red onion, sliced avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Pour in the pesto sauce and toss until everything is well-combined and coated in pesto.
Taste the chicken salad for flavor and add more pesto, some sea salt, and/or black pepper to taste.
Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use this as a delicious chicken salad sandwich recipe, or eat it as is or on top of a green salad.
Note: If you know you won’t be consuming the salad within 24 hours, wait to add the avocado until you actually go to eat the salad so that the avocado doesn’t get mushy.
Make a big batch for meal prep lunches or dinners throughout the week. Remember to leave the avocado out until you eat it if making a large batch.
And that’s it! A simple, fresh chicken salad recipe that is ideal for summer lunches and dinners.
If you’re looking for more simple salad recipes for summer entertaining or everyday living, check out these reader favorites:
More Summer Salad Recipes:
- Healthy Creamy Coleslaw
- The BEST Broccoli Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- The Best Potato Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Mayo-Free Avocado Egg Salad
- Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps
Enjoy this herb infused simple healthy chicken salad recipe!
Pesto Chicken Salad
- 4 cups rotisserie chicken shredded*
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 large ripe avocado sliced
- ⅔ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ⅔ cup pesto sauce
- ¼ tsp black pepper to taste
- Shred a rotisserie chicken (or cooked leftover chicken of choice) and add it to a large bowl along with the red onion, sliced avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Pour in the pesto sauce and toss until everything is well-combined and coated in pesto.
- Taste the chicken salad for flavor and add more pesto, some sea salt, and/or black pepper to taste.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use this as a delicious chicken salad sandwich recipe, or eat it as is or on top of a green salad.
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