sonoma chicken salad

by jenna on August 31, 2011

When I was little, mom used to make this chicken salad with rotisserie chicken, juicy sliced grapes and slivered almonds. It was the only chicken salad I ever knew and since I moved away I’ve had many a craving.

Only recently, did I discover that this chicken salad mom made has a name! Sonoma chicken salad. I live in Sonoma! It’s meant to be.

Okay so I think “real” Sonoma chicken salad uses walnuts instead of almonds and probably has a plethora of other ingredients. I prefer to keep things simple with a little real mayo, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Six ingredients…that’s it!

My view on chicken salad is the simpler, the better. Amen.

It’s great on sandwiches, of course, but I love a big scoop of it alongside tortilla chips with more grapes on the side.

Tortilla chips > bread

You can either make this salad with one of those rotisserie chickens they sell at the grocery store (awesome time saver!) or….roast your own chicken!

….and I’ll bet y’all know what coming up next on this ol’ blog.

Sonoma Chicken Salad

serves 4

Print this recipe!


2 cups chopped or pulled roast chicken, mix of light and dark meat

1/2 cup mayonnaise (or to taste)

1 cup sliced red grapes

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/4th tsp salt

pinch of black pepper


Mix all ingredients. Spread on bread. Dig in!


5 minutes



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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 31, 2011 at 4:45 am

I love the simplicity of this! Every time I order a Sonoma salad in a restaurant, it always comes out different. I trust you on this one though Jenna, being the true Sonoma resident that you are! 🙂


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 31, 2011 at 4:48 am

When I saw the pic of the chicken on your instagram feed yesterday, I knew you were up to something!

I am all about simplicity, too. The less ingredients, the better!

My mom used to make broccoli salad (not chicken salad) but she’d put grapes into it. And slivered almonds and mayo. Probably pretty close to yours..just brock rather than chicken.


Molly @ RDexposed August 31, 2011 at 4:54 am

Confession: I’ve never had tuna, chicken, egg, etc salad before because mayonnaise has always weirded me out. Whew, ok I feel better now.


Janna August 31, 2011 at 5:00 am

I’ll second that statement!


Baking N Books August 31, 2011 at 5:07 am

Triple. I have it…minus the mayo though 😉


mythy as in "Mighty" August 31, 2011 at 5:31 am

I use greek yogurt in my tuna salads and even in Vegan with a Vengeance’s “Chickpea-Hijiki” (aka mock tuna sandwich) recipe. Can’t even tell the difference!


Khushboo August 31, 2011 at 4:56 am

That looks GREAT but I’m not a mayo fan! A great alternative is mixing the chicken with mashed ripe avocado! YUM!


Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl August 31, 2011 at 4:58 am

Yum! That looks amazing! Put some on top of a salad and you have a wonderfully easy way to get in more veggies! I am a fan!


Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum August 31, 2011 at 5:04 am

Looks like an awesome combination of textures and flavors. My mom makes something like this, too!


Baking N Books August 31, 2011 at 5:09 am

This looks great – like a real “down-home” comforting and filling meal.

I am addicted to Rotisserie chicken – oh my God – everytime I’m at the grocery store and smell it…I give in and buy a 1/4 of it – the breast so I can get more white meat.

…what’s coming up? A roasted chicken?!


Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray August 31, 2011 at 5:18 am

Yum! This is exactly the way I like my chicken salad, maybe with some celery thrown in too. I have grapes and leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge, I think I know what I’m having for lunch!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes August 31, 2011 at 5:23 am

Great recipe! Glad you found the name of it haha 🙂


katie @KatieDid August 31, 2011 at 5:23 am

I used to hate chicken salad but only because the times I would have it were from a deli counter or a sandwich shop- saturated in mayo, thick, unappealing. I really love the look of this because you keep the chicken in bigger pieces and don’t overload the ingredients or flavors. Simple recipes are my favorite.


Heather (Heather's Dish) August 31, 2011 at 5:23 am

chicken salad is one of those things that i love to eat and never ever make at home. but homemade is always the best! i think this weekend that’s all going to change 🙂


Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats August 31, 2011 at 5:27 am

I used to eat a similar chicken salad at the coffee shop I worked at in high school. I’d mound it on a buttery croissant and CHOW. Mmmm…! Looking forward to the roasted chicken tutorial!


AppGal August 31, 2011 at 5:30 am

Mmm….I love Sonoma Chicken Salad! I’ve made the recipe that’s in the Whole Foods Mkt. cookbook and it is hands-down my favorite. The key in that recipe is that you dress the chicken with an apple cider vinegar/poppyseed/honey dressing along with the mayo (although I actually used plain greek yogurt last time to cut some calories). Mmm…I’m making myself hungry! 🙂


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 31, 2011 at 5:45 am

I love chicken salads that don’t have the usual suspects in there. I hope you talk about how to cut up the roasted chicken in your next post b/c I can roast one like the best of them but it looks like a massacre has occured when I try and carve it!


Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance August 31, 2011 at 5:46 am

I’ve honestly never even heard of a Sonoma salad! I love how easy peasy this is 🙂


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove August 31, 2011 at 5:49 am

I think if I made this for my fiance, he would fall in love with me all over again. It would be so easy to make with left overs after roasting a chicken for dinner!


Holly @ The Runny Egg August 31, 2011 at 6:02 am

I love chicken salad — but I hardly ever have it because usually it is so mayo-y. And as much as I like mayo I don’t like having a ton of it at once.


Cait's Plate August 31, 2011 at 6:03 am

Grapes + almonds in chicken salad is the only way to do it. SO good.

It’s been far too long since I’ve had chicken salad – I need to fix this.


laura August 31, 2011 at 6:33 am

ohhhhhh, I’m beyond excited to see your roast chicken recipe. I’ve not had this kind of salad before but I’m totally willing to try it.
I think I’ll use yogurt instead of mayo. mayo scares me. it seems so unnatural.


Erin August 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

Mayo is egg yolks, lemon juice, and oil. Nothing unnatural about that!


Liz August 31, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Wonder why people find mayo unnatural? It’s so much more natural than many other condiments!


Carrie August 31, 2011 at 6:39 am

Is there a particular way that we should roast the chicken? I’ve never done it before.


Rachel (Alive in the Fire) August 31, 2011 at 6:47 am

Salad looks great. But eek! There is a spot of mold on your bread!


jenna August 31, 2011 at 7:19 am

yeah…there is. Just goes to show you i’m not perfect either!


Anon August 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Nobody is perfect! Your bread is still moldy!


Ashley @ September 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm

totally embarrassed because we both ate that bread. I need to clean out my pantry


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) August 31, 2011 at 7:04 am

mmm…I love chicken salad. I haven’t had it in years though.


Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy August 31, 2011 at 7:17 am

I love grapes in my chicken salad! This looks amazing!


Laura August 31, 2011 at 7:29 am

Yum, that looks awesome! I’ve also done a similar chicken salad with grapes where I make the “sauce” out of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, a touch of honey, and poppyseeds – works well with the sweetness of the grapes 🙂


Liz @ Tip Top Shape August 31, 2011 at 8:08 am

Wow, this is the exact chicken salad that I remember from my childhood. My Aunt is the only person in my family who makes it and I remember being absolutely in love with it. I always thought the grapes were strange, though, even though it tasted amazing. I will definitely be making this!


Lisa @ Life in Green August 31, 2011 at 8:12 am

Oh yea this is def my fav kind of chicken salad too. Sometimes I like to add in a stalk of chopped celery for a little added crunch.


Lindsey August 31, 2011 at 8:13 am

YUM! I made some chicken salad last week, and used greek yogurt and a tiny bit of mayo (in an attempt to make it “healthy”) but I never thought to use pre-made rotisserie chicken. Great idea!


Liz @ Southern Charm August 31, 2011 at 8:14 am

My favorite part of this recipes .. Time: 5 minutes! Looks simple yet delicious. Can’t wait to try it!


Mary Beth August 31, 2011 at 9:18 am

This looks yummy! I’m also with you on liking a simple chicken salad. It’s the best kind :).


Nancy~The Wife of a Dairyman August 31, 2011 at 9:24 am

Yum! I love sonoma chicken salad and your version looks delicious!


Dina August 31, 2011 at 9:28 am

That looks so good! I agree about chips being better than bread, it may be the only reason I ever make chili.


Jamie August 31, 2011 at 9:30 am

Loving the recipes and book suggestions! Thanks so much!


Lindsay @ biking before bed August 31, 2011 at 9:40 am

Thanks for sharing the name of that chicken salad. Who knew?!


RhodeyGirl August 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

My husband would LOVE this- thanks for the recipe!


Rachel @ the Avid Appetite August 31, 2011 at 10:01 am

Once I started adding grapes to my chicken salad, there was just no going back…it’s amazing!


Emily@SavoryandSavage August 31, 2011 at 10:19 am

I have never added grapes to chicken salad – I am going to have to try this one out.

Now I am hungry for a sandwich 🙂


christa August 31, 2011 at 10:26 am

I love chicken salad! this looks so easy!! have you ever tried it on a croissant? OMG! so good!!!!


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather August 31, 2011 at 10:38 am

Simple chicken salads are a summer dream. I like to add curry into mine for a yummy curry salad. The grapes are such a nice crunch!


Amy August 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

The only chicken salad I’ve ever liked had grapes in it. This looks delicious and simple to make! I’d try it with Greek yogurt instead of mayo too. yummm 🙂


amy walters, aDESIGNdock August 31, 2011 at 10:46 am

I grew up living on Chicken Salad sandwiches. YUM. I never thought to add walnuts / almonds or grapes though! Genius. I must try.


Maria August 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm

This is the only chicken salad I will eat, except I do use walnuts in mine 🙂 I’ll have to try it out with some almonds.


AS August 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Ewwwww! The bread is totally moldy! Did you eat that?


jenna August 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm

haha no! I realized after I took the shot.


Kelsey @ aslolife August 31, 2011 at 5:27 pm

looks delicious! I love using rotisserie chicken–it saves so much time and adds so much flavor!


Katie Rogers August 31, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Get the black glasses! I honor of ol’ grandpa. They look adorable.


Becki @ Becki's Whole Life September 1, 2011 at 4:48 am

I love your recipe for this – simple but tasty! My aunts made a similar chicken salad with pasta for my bridal shower. I think the only other thing it had was some sour cream and oh my goodness it was delicious! I will use this recipe and put it over pasta I am thinking – yum!


Bev Weidner September 1, 2011 at 7:31 am

Oooooo this has my NAAAAME all over it. But not in pen, just in spirit. Or something.



Jennifer September 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Homemade mayo is awesome. I make my own via a (tweaked) recipe from the Mennonite “More with Less” cookbook that my mom reguarly used many a recipe from when I was growing up. It’s a great money-saver. I prefer to use lime juice in my recipe, and I leave out the paprika & dry mustard the recipe calls for, and also less salt, If I whip it slowly enough I don’t even need to use quite all of the oil, which is even better!

My grandma always used apples & pecans in her chicken salad (not my favorite). I’ve heard friends rave about the chicken salad from Jason’s Deli because of the grapes, but never tried it. I miss the jerk chicken salad from my Jamaican restaurant waitressing days, and often attempt to replicate it, with pretty good results.

Moldy bread. Pssh! That’s what penicillin was made from. Just pinch the moldy part off and you’re good to go. No worries!


Mich September 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

This looks great- I always forget about making chicken salad, and these ingredients are so easy! Plus, the hub is a HUGE fan of any chicken salad. Your bread does look tasty I must say-haha!


Curly J April 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for the simple recipe! I made your honey roasted chicken the other day and leftovers are sitting in the fridge… so I’m off to make this for lunch now! 🙂


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