Mayo-Free Chicken Salad Sandwiches have tons of flavor thanks to fresh thyme and a simple lemon vinaigrette.
These sandwiches are my contribution to this month’s edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. Our menu this month features all dishes that include our favorite herbs!
We’ve got a great mix from a cocktail to desserts; all recipes showing just how versatile these garden favorites can be! Hosting this month is Laura from Mother Would Know.
Earlier this month I went to a happy hour hosted by The Skimm (if you don’t already get their morning news summary, what are you waiting for?) It was at a place that I always assumed was a typical dive bar, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they actually had a really nice menu.
I had a seared scallop appetizer and a craft beer, but there were two other items on the menu that really intrigued me.
The first was a roast carrot plate. I’ve never seen anything like that on a restaurant menu before, but I’m definitely into it.
The second was a lemon-thyme chicken salad served with pita wedges. Since I don’t eat mayonnaise, chicken salad isn’t something that I think about very often. But this version was mayo-free, and it sounded absolutely delightful.
The theme for this month’s Progressive Eats was fresh herbs, and I couldn’t wait to get home and make my own mayo-free chicken salad to share with the group.
I’m so excited with how this recipe came out! It’s absolutely delicious and it only takes about 10 minutes to throw together.
It’s perfect as an easy dinner, but would also be a great addition to your picnic basket or tucked into your lunchbox.
Also, can we talk about croissants for a minute? I can’t remember when the last time I had one was, and wow have I been missing out. I definitely need more croissants in my life.
While I was trying to figure out what to serve this chicken salad on, I found these croissants in the bulk bakery case at my local grocery store. They were small – about the size of my palm – and curved into a complete circle.
Sliced crosswise, they made the perfect pillowy rolls for my chicken salad sandwiches, and their buttery flavor was a really nice contrast against the tart lemon dressing.
If you want something less indulgent, this mayo-free chicken salad would also be great on pita or on a soft bun like a hamburger roll.
If you’re limiting your carbs, you could also eat it in lettuce or endive cups, on top of a green salad, or straight out of the bowl.
How to make mayo-free chicken salad sandwiches
To keep things nice and simple, I bought a rotisserie chicken to make this salad.
Roast chicken is nice and juicy, so I knew it would make a great base. You could also use chicken breasts poached in chicken broth (or beer!) for this recipe, but I’d stay away from grilled chicken, which is drier.
I added thinly sliced celery for a little crunch, inclusing the celery leaves for extra flavor, along with parsley and fresh thyme (my absolute favorite herb).
I was worried that my chicken salad would be dry without something like mayo or yogurt, but this simple lemon dressing adds plenty of moisture.
The dressing is based on my favorite lemon-poppy vinaigrette, and the tart lemon and tangy mustard adds a ton of brightness and summery flavor to the chicken salad.
If you love this chicken salad recipe, be sure to check out my other mayo-free twists on classic recipes:
Mayo-Free Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Lemon and Herbs
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts optional
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 2 celery ribs thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 2 lemons juiced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ shallot minced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 small croissants pita bread, or lettuce cups, for serving
- Set a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until toasted. Remove from heat.
- Add the chicken, celery, thyme, parsley, and toasted pine nuts to a mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the chicken; mix to combine. Eat immediately or refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve the chicken salad on croissants, with pita bread, or in lettuce cups.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
Summer Herbs Every Which Way
Lemon Rosemary Shrub Cocktail from Mother Would Know
Rosemary Potato Chips with Herb Aioli from The Red Head Baker
Mayo-Free Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Lemon and Herbs from Healthy Delicious
Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
Mexican Chopped Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Mexican Green Goddess Pasta Salad from Pastry Chef Online
Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies from Creative Culinary