Whole Foods' Sonoma Chicken Salad

With the very warm, hot, weather lately, I have found it really hard to make my way into the kitchen.  My answer has been to poach chicken breasts and make some sort of pasta salad  or chicken salad for  dinner.  Just when I thought I had tried every type of chicken salad and Mr. T had had it way too often, I found another chicken salad recipe and had to make it!  

I found it while exploring Aimee's blog, from Chapel Hill to Chickenville.  Aimee volunteers at the Whole Foods cooking school and shared the link to their classic Whole Foods  Market dish, Sonoma Chicken Salad.  I had to adapt just a smidge as I didn't have any pecans and it was too hot to bake the chicken in the oven.

Whole Foods' Sonoma Chicken Salad
adapted from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

Serves:  6-8

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted (I used walnuts as that is what I had.)
2 cups red seedless grapes (I halved the grapes.)
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 cup mayonnaise (I used low-fat mayo.)
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 
5 teaspoons honey 
2 teaspoons poppy seeds 
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. 

Place the chicken breast, two spring onions and the celery tops and leaves in a frying pan.  Add 2 parts chicken stock and 1 part white wine to cover the breasts.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.  The time varies depending on whether you cover the pan with a lid or not.  (The aroma reminded me of cooking the giblets at Thanksgiving.)

Remove the chicken breasts from the pan (discard the liquid, onions and celery) cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until cold.

When the chicken is cold, cut into bite-size chunks.  Place the chicken in a large  bowl and add the grapes, pecans, celery, and dressing.  Mix and refrigerate.


The addition of honey and vinegar to the dressing gave it a really nice subtle, sweet tang. I also like the flavor of the chicken when it is poached in chicken stock and wine.  This was a popular dish at our house and one that I will make again.  I anticipate a few more hot days this summer!

I am sharing at Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper, at On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable and Food on Friday hosted by Carole at Carole's Chatter.


  1. This sounds great! I've never tried grapes in chicken salad and think it's time:@)

  2. HI! I love your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. I will be following you, surprised we haven't "met" before, looks like we post in similar groups.

    I love chicken salad and just so happens I have leftover chicken from tonight's dinner. A perfect lunch for the week.

    Have a great Sunday.

  3. Whole Food's Sonoma Chicken Salad is one of my favorites. I'm glad to have the recipe, though with a WF just down the road, I'll probably continue to let them make it. LOL
    Happy weekend..........Sarah

  4. I was just going to say the honey would be the kicker for me..
    Hot hot hot here too,brown grass..and my poor gardens:(

  5. I love Whole Foods Sonoma Salad and bought it often until I found the recipe on their website. I think it's the best chicken salad ever.

  6. Costco also has a Sonoma chicken salad that I love. Your recipe sounds very similar. I'll try it and find out.

  7. This sounds great! I love chicken salad, but haven't tried Whole Foods' version.

  8. Mmmmmmm, I always love trying new chicken salads, and this looks perfect for Summer!

  9. This sounds delicious. I've made something similar but have never added the poppy seeds. I'll have to give it a try.

    - The Tablescaper

  10. Sounds and looks totally delicious! Yummm!

  11. Very yummy sounding Kate, I've seen this on another blog, I will have to try it!

  12. i love the poppy seeds! also, chicken salad ain't chicken salad without grapes. :)

  13. The subject of this week's Food on Friday is Salad. It would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . I found this through Stone Gable.

  14. thanks for linking this in. Have a super week.

  15. What a perfect meal on a warm summer evening. I buy a Costco chicken every so often so I don't even have to cook that part of the recipe. I love the crunchiness the celery and nuts give the salad.

  16. Nice, this looks great, I would try greek yogurt instead of the mayo :)

  17. Nice, this looks great, I would try greek yogurt instead of the mayo :)


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