Avocado Chicken Salad

This Avocado Chicken Salad is healthy, vibrant, bursting with flavor and on your table in 30 minutes!

This Avocado Chicken Salad is the ultimate, quick, easy, light lunch or dinner that also happens to be fresh, filling, healthy, flavorful, gluten-free and DIVIENLY delicious with ZERO mayo!  This avocado chicken salad recipe is loaded with creamy avocados, tender rotisserie chicken, smokey grilled sweet corn, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, hearty black beans, sweet mangos, and fresh strawberries all doused in tangy, garlicky mojo dressing that packs so much zesty, sassy flavor.  The hearty chicken, avocado and veggies make it a meal and the sweetness of the mangos, strawberries and corn cut through the tangy dressing; it’s match made in foodie heaven.  You can dress this avocado chicken salad up or down by adding more or less of your favorite ingredients.  It’s also prep ahead friendly but so quick and easy you won’t need to!

Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe Video

top view showing how to make avocado chicken salad by tossing avocados with corn, black beans and tomatoes in a white bowl

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AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE

There is no better way to enjoy avocados as the star of your meal than this avocado chicken salad.   It is what avocado lover dreams are made of.  It’s hearty, fresh, creamy, flavorful, healthy and savory, sweet and tangy all at the same time.  In other words, it’s deeply satisfying with its right rainbow of textures and flavors that will actually have you craving salad! 

REASONS YOU’LL LOVE THIS AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE:

  • Healthy. You can add this chicken salad to your healthy lunch or dinner arsenal because the rotisserie chicken is a lean source of protein, the avocados are a nutrient powerhouse, and the veggies and fruit are packed full of antioxidants. Plus, it doesn’t have any mayo so you can dig in guilt-free.
  • Flavorful. What really sets this avocado chicken salad apart is the mojo dressing.  It’s bright and tangy made with orange juice, lime juice, garlic and oregano.  It enlivens everything it touches and marries all of the flavors and textures together.  
  • Texture and flavor heaven. Creamy, crunchy, juicy, sweet, sour, salty, tangy – this chicken avocado salad has it all. 
  • Quick and easy.  This avocado chicken salad recipe requires some chopping but still comes together very quickly by using store bought rotisserie chicken.  Of course, you can make your own shredded chicken if you would like.  
  • Prep ahead.  You can make the dressing and chop all of the ingredients ahead of time except for the avocados so this avocado chicken salad can come together in minutes without the last-minute hustle.
  • Versatile.  You can add more or less of your favorite veggies and fruit or swap in your favorite veggies/fruit for whatever you have on hand.  I do recommend some sort of sweet fruit to balance the tangy dressing.

INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN SALAD

This avocado chicken salad uses fresh ingredients to create a vibrant symphony you will crave.  You will need: 

  • Avocados:  you will need two large avocados for this avocado chicken salad recipe.  Make sure you use ripe avocados but not overly ripe or they will turn to mush.  Unripe avocados will leave you with hard chunks and a grassy flavored salad – not okay!  I will share my tips for choosing ripe avocados and slicing avocados below.
  • Corn:  you can slice the kernels directly off of the cob OR char them for an amped up layer of smoky, juicy YUM like I do in my Corn Salsa and Avocado Corn Salsa recipes (instructions to follow). I highly promote fresh corn in the spring/summer months but you can get away with using canned or frozen corn in the winter.  If using canned corn, take care to rinse and drain it first. If using frozen corn, you don’t need to thaw it before you add it to the hot skillet to char.
  • Tomatoes:  please use grape or cherry tomatoes because they have the best texture.  They have less watery flesh than Roma tomatoes and are the perfect bite-size juicy morsels when halved.  Cherry tomatoes are inherently sweeter than grape tomatoes, so aim for cherry if you can.
  • Cucumbers:  I use English cucumbers so you don’t have to bother peeling them, but you may also substitute with a peeled, slicing cucumber.
  • Mango: are so juicy and sweet and absolutely exquisite in this salad. If you are intimidated by choosing  or cutting mangos, check out my How to Cut A Mango Post that teaches everything you could ever want to know about mangos.
  • Strawberries:  balance the tangy dressing along with the mangos.  Choose strawberries that are dark red, firm, fragrant and fully ripe – but not soft!  Ripe strawberries will deliver the sweetest, deepest flavor.
  • Red onion:  I like the fresh pop of red onion but you may also use green onions.  If you’re not a fan of raw red onions, you can submerge them in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes to tame the zing. Make sure to dry well before adding to the salad.  
  • Black Beans: you may also substitute chickpeas, red kidney beans, pinto beans etc.  or omit them altogether. No matter what bean you use, rinse and dry them first.
  • Cilantro: adds a zesty, citrusy punch.  Measure the cilantro after it’s been minced.  If you don’t like cilantro, just skip it.
  • Jalapeño:  remove the seeds and membrane before dicing because they contain most of the heat. I like to hold the seeds then add them a little at a time to the finished salad if I want it spicier. You can also use a serrano pepper instead if you love heat.

CHICKEN AVOCADO SALAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

  • Orange juice: freshly squeezed is best but you can use bottled orange juice if it is pure fleshly squeezed without any additives.
  • Lime Juice: same as orange juice, fresh is best but bottled is fine in a pinch.
  • Olive oil:  use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Garlic:  you can use more or less depending on your garlic love.
  • Salt:  is crucial!  Avocados LOVE salt and it enhances the rest of the flavors in the salad. I prefer the coarseness of kosher salt but you may substitute table salt. If you use table salt, you will need half the amount.
  • Ground cumin:  adds a smokey, earthy undertone that rounds out the flavor profile and punches up the other flavors.
  • Dried oregano: is classic to mojo dressing.  It’s aromatic, earthy, and minty.
  • Chipotle chile powder: might be the only seasoning you don’t keep stocked.  I use it ALL the time in my Mexican recipes, so I highly suggest purchasing it.  It is easy to find at your grocery store under any of the following names: “chipotle chile pepper,” “ground chipotle chile,” or “chipotle powder.”
side view showing what's in avocado chicken salad: avocados, corn, black beans, red onions, cilantro, tomatoes, mangos and strawberries in a white bowl

Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe Variations

I created my perfect avocado chicken salad but feel free to mix up the ingredients to make it YOUR perfect chicken salad.  You can swap all the ingredients except keep something sweet or add a different sweet fruit to balance the tangy sourness of the dressing.

  • Seasoned chicken: chili lime chickencilantro lime chicken, chipotle chicken would all be fabulous. You can prep the chicken ahead of time so it’s ready to throw in your salad at a second’s notice.
  • Veggies: red bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, jicama, mushrooms etc. can all be swapped in.
  • Olives: they offer a delectable tanginess if olives are your thing.
  • Pickled jalapenos:  are fabulous and tangy instead of fresh jalapenos. You might want to serve them as an optional topping.
  • Chickpeas: swap the black beans for chickpeas. They add a nutty, earthy, creaminess and are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Green onions:  swap the red onions for green onions for less of a bite.
  • Blueberries:  swap the strawberries for blueberries or add them in addition.
  • Grapes: seedless grapes are a juicy sweet addition or can be swapped for the strawberries.
  • Dried cranberries: are one of my favorite ways to add sweetness to salads. Dried cherries would also be tasty.
  • Pineapple:  add pineapple for pops of sweet and tangy. Can be added in addition or subbed for the mangos, just make surer it is fresh and sweet.
  • Clementine oranges:  use sweet oranges to cut through the dressing.  Can be added in addition or subbed for the mangos.
  • Cheese:  add a sprinkling of Cotija cheese, queso fresco or even feta.
  • Nuts:  add pepitas, cashews, almonds for a delightful crunch.
  • Bacon: because bacon makes everything better.  I recommend thick-cut bacon so its wonderfully meaty texture doesn’t get lost in the salad. 
  • Add grains:  add cooked quinoa, brown rice or lentils direct to the salad. Be prepared to add additional salt to taste.

WHAT CHICKEN IS BEST for chicken salad?

You have three options when it comes to which chicken to use to make avocado chicken salad: 1) cooked rotisserie chicken (the quickest and easiest), 2) make your own shredded chicken by cooking a whole chicken or 2) make your own shredded chicken by cooking chicken breasts or chicken thighs.

  • Rotisserie Chicken.  If you’re looking for the quick and easy chicken salad experience, use a rotisserie chicken.  It’s a big-time saver for a quick weeknight lunch or dinner and taste fabulous.  Rotisserie chicken is a combination of light and dark meat so it’s extra juicy and flavorful.  It is also beautifully tender, delicately seasoned and delicious plain, so it makes a fabulous starting point.
  • Whole Chicken.  Like rotisserie chicken, a whole chicken will give you the winning combo of both light and dark meat. Cooking a whole chicken on the stove takes about 30-35 minutes including chopping the chicken into pieces (most of that is hand’s off simmering), so it is also relatively quick, tastes great and you get the added bonus of homemade chicken stock.  Instructions to follow.
  • Chicken Breasts or Thighs:  You can make your own shredded chicken with either chicken breasts or chicken thighs so you can always make this avocado chicken salad with whatever chicken you have on hand.  Chicken thighs will give you juicer, more flavorful chicken, but chicken breasts will work as well.  You will need about 1 ½ pounds chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SHREDDED CHICKEN for chicken salad

This avocado chicken salad recipe comes together quickly with rotisserie chicken, but if you don’t have it on hand, no fear!  You can easily make your own shredded chicken, here are two options:  

How TO MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN WITH BREAST OR THIGHS:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown on one side.
  • Flip chicken and add 2 cups chicken broth.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, then flip chicken over and continue to cook 5-10 minutes (thighs will take less time) or until chicken is cooked though and tender enough to shred. Add additional chicken broth or water if the liquid absorbs before the chicken is cooked through.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of chicken and actual temperature. If your chicken does not shred easily, then continue to cook, adding additional broth/water if needed.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and let rest 5 minutes before shredding.

HOW TO MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN WITH A WHOLE CHICKEN:

If you’ve never cooked a whole chicken before, it’s easy!  You will need:

  • 1 4 5-pound whole chicken cut into pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

You can ask the butcher to cut the chicken up into pieces or you can do it yourself.  If you’ve never cut up a chicken before, do a quick google search and watch a HOW-TO video.  You really can’t go wrong and you don’t need to worry about it being pretty because we are shredding the chicken anyway.

To make:

  • Add chicken, onions, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper to a Dutch oven or large stock pot. 
  • Add water until it reaches about 1-inch above the chicken.  Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) until chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred, about 25 minutes.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to a cutting board using tongs.  Once cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and shred chicken with your fingers into bite size pieces.
top view of ripe avocado cut in half on a marble counter showing what ripe avocados look like

HOW CAN I TELL IF AN AVOCADO IS RIPE?

The key to making the best avocado chicken salad is selecting perfectly ripe avocados for maximum flavor and delightfully creamy consistency. 

HOW TO SELECT RIPE AVOCADOS

  • Color:  For ripe avocados, dark is better, look for the dark green – turning purple colored skins.
  • Touch: Always test avocados ripeness by touch. Gently squeeze the avocado with your whole hand and not just your fingertips – using your fingertips will bruise the avocado. You want the avocado to yield slightly when pressed.  If an avocado feels firm or hard to your touch, it isn’t ripe yet. Purchase it only if you plan to use the fruit several days in the future. The harder an avocado is, the longer it will take to ripen. 
  • Stem:  Once you find an avocado that looks and feels right, look under the stem.  The stem holds a sneak peek on what’s going on inside.  To check under the steam, gently peel the stem off (small cap looking piece) on the top of the fruit.  If it comes off easily and it’s green underneath, then that means it’s green inside.  If the stem doesn’t come off, the avocado isn’t ripe yet.

WHAT AVOCADOS TO AVOID

  • Color:  Over-ripe avocados tend to be black (instead of very dark green) with soft spots.  Also, avoid avocados with patchy dark spots on the skin or random soft spots, both are signs of bruising inside. Underripe avocados will be vibrant green.
  • Touch:  Avoid avocados that feel overly soft, this mean the avocado is over-ripe and likely mushy with many brown spots. Also avoid hard, solid avocados which means they aren’t ripe yet.
  • Stem: If you peel back the stem and it’s brown underneath, the avocado is overripe and likely has brown spots. Also, avoid avocados with missing stems as they are also likely overripe.  If the stem is hard to remove, it is under ripe.

HOW TO RIPEN AVOCADOS

Avocados can’t always be purchased just how you need them, so it helps to have some control over the ripening process – both to speed it up and to slow it down. Here are a few tips:

TO RIPEN AVOCADOS FASTER

  • Add avocados to a paper bag with fruit.  To ripen avocados more quickly – so you can enjoy your avocado chicken salad NOW – add the avocados to a brown bag with a banana, apple or kiwi and fold the top of the bag over so it’s sealed.  These fruits release a lot of ethylene which triggers ripening in the avocados.  Leave the bag closed on the counter for 2-3 days.
  • Store in a warm place.  Keep the avocados in a warm, sunny place or to speed up the ripening process further, place the brown bag with the avocados and fruit in a warm place.

TO SLOW DOWN RIPENING

To slow down the ripening process of your avocados, place them in the refrigerator.  Make sure to bring them back to room-temperature before making your guacamole.

DON’T FALL FOR INSTANT RIPENING!

Many resources tell you it’s acceptable to ripen avocados by placing them in the microwave or oven. If you do, the flesh of the avocado will soften, but that’s all – the avocados will still not be ripe.  Instead, you’ll have soft, underripe avocados that will taste bitter and will lack the creamy, buttery, nutty flavor we all know and love.

THE BEST WAY TO CUT AN AVOCADO

You will need to cut two avocados for this avocado chicken salad recipe. I slice the avocados in half and then in half again then slice for larger chunks of avocado. You are welcome to make smaller avocado chunks by slicing the avocados further.

  • WASH AVOCADOS:  Like all fruit, wash the outside of the avocados with soap and water before cutting, so you don’t transfer bacteria from the skin through the flesh as you slice.
  • SLICE OPEN: To slice open an avocado, place it on a stable cutting board, then carefully cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp chef’s knife.  I do this by starting my slice, then spinning the avocado around without moving my knife. Twist apart the two sides. One side will have the pit which will need to be removed. 
  • REMOVE THE PIT:  To remove the pit, firmly hold the avocado on the cutting board with one hand.  Hold it horizontally, so your holding hand and the knife have no chance of meeting. You should also protect your hand with a thick kitchen towel if you are not experienced with avocados.   With the other hand, gently tap the pit with your chef’s knife so the knife lodges into the pit.  Don’t whack the pit or hold your knife far away from the pit – we don’t want the knife straying off course. Twist the knife to dislodge the pit and lift to remove.
  • ALTERNATE METHOD:  If you’re not comfortable tapping the pit with your knife, you can slice around the pit.  To do this, rotate the avocado ¼ turn and cut length-wise around the seed to make quarter avocado segments.  Separate the quarters and remove the seed.  
  • REMOVE THE FLESH:  Now that the pit is removed, use a large spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh. Place it cut side down on a cutting board.
  • CHOP: Cut each half down the vertical center then slice horizontally. 
top view showing how to make avocado chicken salad by adding shredded chicken, avocados, corn, black beans, cilantro, red onions, strawberries, mangos and tomatoes to a white bowl

HOW TO CHAR CORN FOR AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD

For this avocado chicken salad, you can use corn straight off the cob or you can grill it or char it in a skillet.  I love grilling corn because it results in deeply sweet, succulent, smoky corn, instead of just sweet corn.  If you don’t have time, don’t worry about it, if you do, you will LOVE it!

TO GRILL CORN ON THE COB:

  • Peel the corn
  • Remove all the silk
  • Lightly brush all over with olive oil
  • Season with salt and pepper on all sides
  • Grease and heat grill to high heat
  • Grill corn over direct heat for 10-12 minutes, turning until lightly charred on all sides, closing the lid in between rotations.

TO CHAR CORN IN A SKILLET:

If you don’t have corn on the cob or have access to a grill, you can still char frozen, canned, or fresh corn in a cast iron skillet:

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  • Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn starts to char, approximately 5 minutes (a few minutes longer if frozen)
  • Transfer kernels to a large bowl to cool so they don’t continue to cook.

HOW TO MAKE AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD

  • Make dressing. Add olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic, cumin, oregano, kosher salt, chipotle chile powder and pepper to a bowl and whisk or to a jar and shake.  The dressing tastes best chilled before serving so place it in the freezer if serving soon or the fridge if you have a little time.
  • Char corn.  Time permitting, char the corn on your grill or in a cast iron skillet per aforementioned directions.
  • Add chicken to a large bowl. Shred the chicken and add it to a large serving bowl.  Drizzle about half of the dressing over the chicken and toss to coat.  Let it marinate while you chop the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add salad ingredients.  Add avocados, corn, black beans, cucumber, mango, strawberries, red onions, cilantro and jalapenos to the chicken.
  • Toss salad with dressing. Drizzle salad over salad and toss to combine.
  • Season to taste. Taste and season with additional freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste.

HOW TO ADJUST TO TASTE

Making homemade avocado chicken salad means you can make it perfect for YOU!  So, make sure to taste your finished salad and make any desired adjustments:

  • Add flavor.  If your chicken salad tastes like it’s missing something, it’s probably salt.  Avocados LOVE salt. I always add additional salt to taste. You can also add additional freshly cracked pepper.   
  • Add tanginess.   For a brighter, tangier chicken salad, add additional lime juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. 
  • For sweeter.  If your fruit isn’t as sweet or you simply would like a sweeter salad, drizzle in a little honey.
  • Add spice.  For a spicier chicken salad, add in the reserved jalapeno seeds or dice up another jalapeño and add.  You can also sprinkle in a pinch of cayenne pepper – careful, a little goes a long way.
  • Add zest.  For an herbier, zestier salad add additional chopped fresh cilantro.
top view showing how to make avocado chicken salad by tossing avocados and vegetables with dressing in a white bowl

TIPS FOR BEST CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE

  • Ripe avocados: set yourself up for success by starting with the best avocados with just the right amount of ripeness – I can’t stress this enough!  As previously discussed, (see above section), you want ripe avocados that yield slightly when gently squeezed and avoid avocados that are hard or overly soft.  If your avocados aren’t ripe enough, you will have hard, bitter salad.  If the avocados are too ripe, they will be mushy or brown and unusable.
  • Rotisserie chicken: is juicer and more flavorful than using shredded chicken breasts plus it is an easy shortcut.
  • Prep the salad dressing first:  the mojo dressing is very best chilled – no one wants lukewarm dressing!  Plan on making the dressing earlier in the day and refrigerating it or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving if you’re running low on time.
  • Customize ingredients: all of the ingredients are just a guideline.  You can use more or less of each ingredient, add other vegetables or omit some completely.  The ingredient list is up to you to make it YOUR favorite avocado chicken salad!
  • Don’t skip the sweet: there is one caveat to customizing the chicken salad. The sweetness of the corn, mangos and strawberries balance the tanginess of the dressing and are sublime. If you omit an any of these ingredients, you’ll want to add something sweet in its place or possibly add some honey to the dressing.  Other sweet options include: blueberries, peaches, clementine oranges, craisins, pineapple or grapes.
  • Choose consistency:  for a chunkier salad, stir to combine the ingredients; for a creamier salad, mash the avocados more.   
  • Prep ahead:  this avocado chicken salad requires some chopping but the good news you can break up the chopping by doing some now and some later or you can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time for an easy recipe win that comes together in minutes (directions to follow).
  • Other Proteins:  this avocado chicken salad is CHICKEN salad, but it also works well with other proteins, particularly shrimp. 
  • Salt to taste: if you taste your avocado chicken salad and it’s bland, it is easy to remedy – it probably just needs salt!  Add salt or lime juice to taste and keep adding until it tastes just right. Also, try kicking up the heat if that’s your thing with additional jalapeno, or cayenne pepper or chipotle chile powder.

HOW TO SERVE AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD

This avocado chicken salad is wonderfully versatile. You can combine all of the ingredients for an easy on-the-go lunch or dinner OR you can create a salad bar.  You can also serve it unconventional ways. Here are a few ideas to serve this chicken salad:

  • Assembled salad: add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
  • Create a salad bar: line up all of the ingredients in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own chicken salad.
  • Sandwiches: sandwich the salad in between bread, rolls or croissants.
  • Wraps.  Fill a tortilla or flatbread with chicken salad along with finely sliced lettuce.
  • Lettuce wraps: add the filling to bibb or butter lettuce.
  • Grains. I love my avocado chicken salad on top of or mixed with brown rice or wild rice.  It would also be delicious with quinoa, cauliflower rice or broccoli rice. 
  • Toast.  Toast some bread and create an open-faced sandwich by piling on avocado chicken salad along with optional sprouts and/or shredded lettuce.
  • Pitas. Pile the filling in a pita with all your favorite topping such as cotija cheese, sprouts etc.
side view of avocado chicken salad  with rotisserie chicken, chopped 
 avocados, corn, black beans and tomatoes in a white bowl

How to Store Leftover Chicken Salad

The dressing will helps delay the oxidation, but proper storage is essential to prolong the life of your avocado chicken salad. Cover avocado chicken salad with plastic wrap pressed DIRECTLY on the surface of the salad so it is touching. Refrigerate for up to three days.

WILL AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD TURN BROWN?

The orange juice and lime juice in the dressing will prevent the salad from discoloring too much, but it will darken slightly.  A change in color of color doesn’t mean it’s gone bad; it simply means the avocado chicken salad is oxidizing (reacting with the air and turning brown). 

IS IT SAFE TO EAT CHICKEN AVOCADO SALAD AFTER IT TURNS BROWN?

Yes!  The longer the salad is stored, the darker green the avocados will turn due to oxidation, (exposure to air), but this doesn’t mean it’s gone bad. Dark green/brown avocados are still edible within 2-3 days of making although it might not be as appetizing.

WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?

I love that you can prepare this chicken avocado salad ahead of time so the salad can come together in minutes when it’s time to serve.

  • Chop vegetables: chop cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions ahead of time.  I like to store the tomatoes along with a paper towel to capture extra moisture. I do not recommend storing your pre-cut veggies longer than a day because the beauty of this salad is its freshness.
  • Chop fruit: chop mangos and strawberries and store in airtight containers lined with paper towels in the refrigerator. Again, I don’t recommend chopping more than 24 hours before serving.  
  • Grill corn:  grill or char the corn and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Make dressing: can be made in advance and stored it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  The dressing can be made 5 days in advance.

CAN I MEAL PREP THIS chicken salad?

Yes!  You can assemble the avocado chicken salad completely or for maximum freshness, layer the salad ingredients in a specific order so they don’t become soggy then toss when ready to eat.  Layer the ingredients in the desired number of containers in the following order:

  • 1) strawberries, 2) chicken, 3) beans, 4) red onions, 5) jalapeno, 6) corn, 7) tomatoes, 8) cucumbers, 9) mangos, 10) cilantro
  • Keep avocados whole and slice/chop just before serving
  • Divide dressing into smaller airtight containers or plastic bags.
  • Toss the salad with dressing and avocados right before serving.

IS Avocado chicken SALAD HEALTHY?

This avocado chicken salad is made without any mayonnaise and is loaded with all sorts of veggies which means it’s a nutrient powerhouse.  The vegetables provide important nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C which provide these benefits:  

  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells.
  • Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption.
  • Fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is also important for proper bowel function and also helps provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

The avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat which are good fats known to lower cholesterol, promote heart health and boost brain function.  They also help you feel full longer and counteracts bad cholesterol (LDL’s).   Avocados are also chock full of vitamins such as vitamins B, E and K, minerals, and are a good source of fiber – 75% insoluble fiber and 25% soluble fiber.  They also boast 60 percent more potassium than bananas. Some studies have shown they can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, decrease risk of depression, and help prevent some cancers.

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Avocado Chicken Salad (+Video)

his Avocado Chicken Salad is the ultimate, quick, easy, light lunch or dinner that also happens to be fresh, filling, healthy, flavorful, gluten-free and DIVIENLY delicious with ZERO mayo! This avocado chicken salad recipe is loaded with creamy avocados, tender rotisserie chicken, smokey grilled sweet corn, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, hearty black beans, sweet mangos, and fresh strawberries all doused in tangy, garlicky mojo dressing that packs so much zesty, sassy flavor. The hearty chicken, avocado and veggies make it a meal and the sweetness of the mangos, strawberries and corn cut through the tangy dressing; it’s match made in foodie heaven. You can dress this avocado chicken salad up or down by adding more or less of your favorite ingredients. It’s also prep ahead friendly but so quick and easy you won’t need to!
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Total Time: 30 mins
Prep Time: 30 mins

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Ingredients

Avocado Chicken Salad

  • 3 cups shredded chicken I use rotisserie chicken
  • 2 large avocados pitted chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup corn from 1 grilled corn on the cob
  • 1/2 English cucumber sliced and halved
  • 1 mango chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1-2 jalapenos deveined, seeded (save seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro minced

Mojo Dressing

Instructions

  • Add the salad dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine or to a jar and shake. The dressing tastes best chilled before serving so place it in the freezer if serving soon or the fridge if you have a little time.
  • Time permitting, char the corn on your grill or in a cast iron skillet per directions in notes, otherwise, add directly to the salad.
  • Add shredded chicken to a large serving bowl and drizzle with about half of the dressing; toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate while you chop the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add all remaining salad ingredients to the chicken. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to combine.
  • Taste and season with additional freshly cracked salt and pepper. For spicier, add in some of the jalapeno seeds. Best served immediately.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

TIPS and tricks 

  • Ripe avocados: set yourself up for success by starting with the best avocados with just the right amount of ripeness – I can’t stress this enough!  As previously discussed, (see post section), you want ripe avocados that yield slightly when gently squeezed and avoid avocados that are hard or overly soft.  If your avocados aren’t ripe enough, you will have hard, bitter salad.  If the avocados are too ripe, they will be mushy or brown and unusable.
  • Rotisserie chicken: is juicer and more flavorful than using shredded chicken breasts plus it is an easy shortcut.  If you want  to make y our own shredded chicken, see the post for details.
  • Prep the salad dressing first:  the mojo dressing is very best chilled – no one wants lukewarm dressing!  Plan on making the dressing earlier in the day and refrigerating it or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving if you’re running low on time.
  • Customize ingredients: all of the ingredients are just a guideline.  You can use more or less of each ingredient, add other vegetables or omit some completely.  The ingredient list is up to you to make it YOUR favorite avocado chicken salad!
  • Don’t skip the sweet: there is one caveat to customizing the chicken salad. The sweetness of the corn, mangos and strawberries balance the tanginess of the dressing and are sublime. If you omit an any of these ingredients, you’ll want to add something sweet in its place or possibly add some honey to the dressing.  Other sweet options include: blueberries, peaches, clementine oranges, craisins, pineapple or grapes.
  • Mangos: are so juicy and sweet and absolutely exquisite in this salad. If you are intimidated by choosing  or cutting mangos, check out my How to Cut A Mango Post that teaches everything you could ever want to know about mangos.
  • Choose consistency:  for a chunkier salad, stir to combine the ingredients; for a creamier salad, mash the avocados more.
  • Prep ahead:  this avocado chicken salad requires some chopping but the good news you can break up the chopping by doing some now and some later or you can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time for an easy recipe win that comes together in minutes (directions to follow).
  • Other Proteins:  this avocado chicken salad is CHICKEN salad, but it also works well with other proteins, particularly shrimp.
  • Salt to taste: if you taste your avocado chicken salad and it’s bland, it is easy to remedy – it probably just needs salt!  Add salt or lime juice to taste and keep adding until it tastes just right. Also, try kicking up the heat if that’s your thing with additional jalapeno, or cayenne pepper or chipotle chile powder.

HOW TO CHAR CORN

For this avocado chicken salad, you can use corn straight off the cob or you can grill it or char it in a skillet.  I love grilling corn because it results in deeply sweet, succulent, smoky corn, instead of just sweet corn.  If you don’t have time, don’t worry about it, if you do, you will LOVE it!

TO GRILL CORN ON THE COB:

  • Peel the corn
  • Remove all the silk
  • Lightly brush all over with olive oil
  • Season with salt and pepper on all sides
  • Grease and heat grill to high heat
  • Grill corn over direct heat for 10-12 minutes, turning until lightly charred on all sides, closing the lid in between rotations.

TO CHAR CORN IN A SKILLET:

If you don’t have corn on the cob or have access to a grill, you can still char frozen, canned, or fresh corn in a cast iron skillet:
  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  • Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn starts to char, approximately 5 minutes (a few minutes longer if frozen)
  • Transfer kernels to a large bowl to cool so they don’t continue to cook.

Storage 

The dressing will helps delay the oxidation, but proper storage is essential to prolong the life of your avocado chicken salad. Cover avocado chicken salad with plastic wrap pressed DIRECTLY on the surface of the salad so it is touching. Refrigerate for up to three days.

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6 Comments

  1. Brenda says

    Made this last night… it was delicious!
    ***The recipe is missing the cherry tomatoes.

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome you made it already and loved it, thanks Brenda! And thanks for pointing out the missing tomatoes – fixed 😉

  2. Kaylee says

    Just made this tonight – Delicious! Super light and satisfying for summer. Served in flatbread wraps and followed recipe exactly. Great recipe!

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it Kaylee and I love that you served it in flatbread – yum!

  3. Billie says

    This recipe was very tasty! I could not find mangos so I used pear and added a tablespoon of honey to the dressing. Amazing!

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased you could make it work with pears, great idea! Thanks Billie!

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