Chicken Fruit Salad (Lettuce Wraps)

Chicken Fruit Salad cocooned in crunchy lettuce wraps are sweet, creamy, crispy and PACKED with flavor! 

This Chicken Fruit Salad is loaded with chicken, strawberries, mangoes, cucumbers and avocado marinated in sweet, tangy poppy seed dressing topped with toasted coconut and macadamia nuts.  It can be served plain or in fresh lettuce wraps, buttery croissants or tender wraps. You can prep the chicken fruit salad ahead of time for a stress free, make ahead lunch or party appetizer that everyone will love!

chicken fruit salad in lettuce wraps

Chicken Fruit Salad

Guys, this Chicken Fruit Salad is SO good!  I feel silly telling you this again so soon because you are going to think I have absolutely no self control, but I was eating this chilled chicken salad straight from the fridge, I just couldn’t wait for pictures.

But you can’t blame me, right?  Because this chicken fruit salad is bright, fresh, colorful, cheery all enveloped in the most delectable sweet, tangy poppy seed dressing to ever grace your lips.  With one bite, you’ll agree this Chicken Fruit Salad is a deeply satisfying MUST all spring and summer long!

Ingredients for Chicken Salad:

  • chicken: I recommend chicken breasts because they are leaner and emerge wonderfully juicy with the poppy seed marinade
  • strawberries: use ripe strawberries for juicy, sweet flavor
  • mango: I LOVE juicy sweet mangos! If you’ are intimidated by choosing or cutting mangos – don’t be, just check out my How to Cut A Mango Post that teaches everything you could ever want to know about mangos!
  • cucumber: you can use an English or slicing cucumber but I prefer English cucumbers as they have less of a tendency to be bitter
  • avocados: choose ripe avocados but ones that are on the firmer side of ripe so they don’t become mushy in the Chicken Fruit Salad
  • red onion: you can use more or less to taste
  • macadamia nuts: I LOVE macadamia nuts but if they are too pricey, you can substitute with buttery cashews or almonds
  • coconut: is optional but it adds a wonderfully sweet tropical flavor; if you like coconut, you will LOVE this addition

Fruit Variations:

If some of the above fruit isn’t in season or not your fav, you can swap it out with other fruit such as:

  • grapes
  • apples
  • Mandarin oranges
  • kiwis
  • pineapple
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • pears
  • nectarines

Optional Add-ins:

You can also add anything else delicious, because the star of this Chickn Fruit Salad is the marinated chicken. You can also add:

  • bacon
  • feta
  • Gorgonzola
  • sunflower seeds
  • craisins
chicken fruit salad with chicken strawberries, mangos and avocados

Bests Dressing For Chicken Fruit Salad

My entire inspiration behind this Chicken Fruit Salad is the exquisite poppy seed dressing,  all made possible because of my sister.   So remember when I told you about my amazing sister in my Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken post?  About how she is the most giving and talented sister ever – giving me my first recipe binder full of her tried and true favorite recipes that she personally typed up for Christmas, and how she gave me her kidney last October?

Well, in that binder was a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed  Dressing.   It quickly became my favorite salad recipe of hers and I would be asked for the salad recipe wherever I brought it, largely due to the dressing.   

With a few modifications, this Chicken Fruit Salad Dressing boasts poppy seeds, sesame seeds, minced onion, lemon juice, sugar, cider vinegar, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and paprika for just a kick.

top view of showing how to make chicken fruit salad by adding chicken, avocados, mangos, cucumbers, red onions and macadamia nuts to a bowl

How to Make Chicken Fruit Salad

Step 1: Make Dressing

  • The dressing serves as the marinade and the dressing – double the flavor without double the work!
  • To make, simply mix together Poppy Seed Dressing/Marinade ingredients.

Step 2: Marinate Chicken

  • Add 3 tablespoons of the dressing (reserve the rest) to a large freezer bag or bowl along with chicken.
  • Refrigerate for one hour up to overnight. Don’t marinate any longer or the chicken can get tough.

Step 3: Cook Chicken

  • Heat a dash of olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add chicken, season with ½ teaspoon salt and cook until no longer pink.

Step 4: Assemble Salad

  • Combine cooked chicken, fruit and reserved dressing to a large bowl, gently toss to combine.

Step 5: Chill Chicken Fruit Salad

  • It is extremely important to chill the Chicken Fruit Salad for at least one hour. This allows the flavors tot build and meld.

Step 6: Serve

  • When it’s time to serve the Chicken Fruit Salad, add toasted coconut and macadamia nuts.
a platter of chicken fruit salad

How to Serve Chicken Fruit Salad

  • Chicken Fruit Salad as Salad: this Chicken Fruit Salad is delectable just with fork! Just take care to let the salad chill first for maximum refreshing flavor. You can also add it to greens such as spinach or kale.
  • Chicken Fruit Salad as Wraps: I love serving this Chicken Fruit Salad as wraps because my favorite part of any salad is everything except the lettuce! Wrap the chilled filling in a cocoon of fresh, crispy butter lettuce, top with roasted macadamia nuts and top again with toasted coconut if you wish, and you  have fresh, sweet, creamy, crunchy flavor PACKED bites of summer. Lettuce wraps are also wonderfully transportable for potlucks or pool parties and wonderfully elegant for brunch or bridal/baby showers.
  • Chicken Fruit Salad as Wraps: fill flatbread with chicken fruit salad. I recommend using some sort of spread such as avocado crema, yogurt or mayonnaise before filling.
    Chicken Fruit Salad as Sandwiches: you can use bread or rolls, but I highly recommend buttery, tender croissants for sandwiches. To make, slice a croissant in half and toast. Spread croissant with mayonnaise, and top with lettuce – this will also help prevent the the chicken fruit salad sandwiches from becoming soggy.
up close of chicken fruit salad in a croissant

How Long Does Chicken Fruit Salad Last?

  • In the Refrigerator: Store Chicken Salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Chicken Fruit Salad will last for up to two days in the refrigerator due to the avocados. It can last up to 5 days if you omit or remove the avocados or add them to individual servings if you expect leftovers.
  • At room Temperature: If you are serving Chicken Fruit Salad at a party, it should only be left out for two hours. You can let everyone serve themselves then return the salad to the refrigerator then bring out again.
  • Warmer Temperatures: If you’re serving outdoors at a summer pool party, potluck or picnic and it is above 90 degrees, take care to refrigerate the chicken salad as soon as possible. It should not be left out longer than one hour. If this isn’t possible, then keep the Chicken Fruit Salad on ice – you don’t want to make anyone sick!
easy chicken fruit salad

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Chicken Fruit Salad (Lettuce Wraps)

This Chicken Fruit Salad is loaded with chicken, strawberries, mangoes, cucumbers and avocado marinated in sweet, tangy poppy seed dressing topped with toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. It can be served plain or in fresh lettuce wraps, buttery croissants or tender wraps. You can prep the chicken fruit salad ahead of time for a stress free, make ahead lunch or party appetizer that everyone will love!
Servings: 12 -14 lettuce wraps
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large head butter lettuce

Poppy Seed Dressing/Marinade

Fruit/AvocadoSalad

  • 1 pint strawberries, chopped
  • 1 large mango, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 1 large Avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, crushed
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut (optional)

Instructions

  • Mix together Poppy Seed Dressing/Marinade ingredients then add 3 tablespoons of the dressing (reserve the rest) along with chicken to large freezer bag and marinate for 1 hour up to overnight.
  • Heat a dash of olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken, season with ½ teaspoon salt and cook until no longer pink.
  • Combine cooked chicken, Fruit/Avocado Salad ingredients and reserved dressing to a large bowl, gently toss to combine. Chill for 1 hour up to overnight.
  • (Optional) To toast coconut, spread coconut flakes in a single layer on a a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until just golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, dry roast macadamia nuts in large skillet over medium heat, tossing a few times until golden.
  • To assemble, spoon Poppyseed Chicken Fruit filling into butter lettuce leaves, allowing any excess dressing to drip off. Garnish with macadamia nuts and toasted coconut flakes.

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10 Comments

  1. Melanie @ Garnish & Glaze says

    I LOVE poppy seed dressing! What a good idea to wrap it up in a lettuce leaf! Coconut and macadamia nuts sound like a great addition too.

  2. shelby says

    These sound so flavorful Jen! I love lettuce wraps because I love cutting those carbs right down 🙂 Oh, and I will also eat straight from the fridge however I get yelled at for doing so by Grumpy. Ha!

  3. Melanie says

    How do you keep the cut avocado from browning when you leave everything mixed overnight? Does the dressing keep it green? Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Melanie, great question! I have never had a problem with the avocado turning brown, I think it must be the lemon in the dressing, just be sure to cover the mixture with plastic wrap or a lid. Let me know ho it goes, I’m excited for you to try it!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Janet! I think you will love them! Can’t wait to hear what you think!