French travel inspiration
This French Chicken Salad is inspired by the bright floral, citrus, and herbaceous notes that were so prevalent in the dishes we ate on a previous trip to Paris, France.
In the spring and summer months back home in Portland, both our local farmers' market and my own garden are bursting with culinary lavender and lush green herbs like tarragon and chives, making this recipe an accessible way to enjoy some of the flavors of France, while eating seasonally in the Pacific Northwest.
This French Chicken Salad is also super simple to make. If you've got shredded chicken on hand, this recipe takes about 10 minutes to assemble from start to finish.
Herbs de Provence
This chicken salad recipe utilizes dried Herbs de Provence, which can easily be found pre-mixed in the spice section of most grocery stores. However, all of the herbs found in the mix should are likely to already be sitting on your pantry shelf (or possibly your own garden) should you wish to make your own. A typical mix is made up of herbs prevalent to the Provence region of southeast France, including basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, lavender, tarragon, and thyme; though you may see some with oregano, bay, and mint as well.
If you'd like to make your own Herbs de Provence mix, I prefer to mix mine heavier on the green herbs, such as thyme and marjoram, and lighter on the floral lavender -- because a little goes a long way!
Put the ballpark mustard down! This recipe is best with Dijon
The other item I use in both this French Chicken Salad recipe and consistently in my cooking is a good Dijon mustard, which I feel is too often lumped in with the yellow squeeze bottles hanging out in the refrigerator door. On our last day in Paris, I purchased a large jar of Edmond Fallot Dijon Mustard for around 6 euros (~ 7 US dollars). By no means was this an expensive or indulgent purchase, but it ended up being one of my favorite things we brought back from our entire trip because it really opened my eyes to how much a really good Dijon mustard could elevate a simple dish.
You can find Edmond Fallot mustard at some specialty markets and online at Amazon. My pantry always has an embarrassingly large stock of their classic Dijon Mustard and Dijon with Horseradish because I go through it so quickly. Another favorite is Maille Dijon Originale, which I've easily found on most grocery store shelves.
Is one mustard really different from another?
In its essential form, Dijon mustard is a paste made from finely ground brown mustard seeds and verjuice (the juice of unripe grapes) or white wine, though some varieties may include additional spices. It is often spicier than traditional yellow mustard owing to both the spice level of the brown mustard seeds and the low-acidity of the verjuice or white wine.
The bright yellow squeeze bottle of mustard, popular at ballparks and BBQs gets it's bright hue from a mix of yellow mustard seeds and turmeric, which are mixed with vinegar, water, and other spices. This mustard is generally considered to be pretty mild because the spice level of the yellow mustard seed is on the low end and the acidity brought on by the vinegar also helps to mellow any heat reaction.
Essentially, a small amount of good Dijon will often offer a bit of complex spiciness to your dishes without overpowering the flavor with acid. Whereas a classic yellow mustard will allow your dish to take on a milder spice level and a vinegary flavor. For this French Chicken Salad, I highly suggest you use a good Dijon mustard as the vinegar in the yellow mustard will very much overpower the other great flavors of the dish.
To grate or to zest?
If you want to make things easy on yourself, a citrus zester will make quick work of zesting your orange. For years I zested fruit using a traditional fine grater and hated every second of it until I finally broke down and bought this one from Amazon; I use it weekly for things like oranges, lemons, limes, and ginger. If you don't have one yet or aren't interested in adding one more thing to your pantry drawer, the fine side of a box grater will work, but there will likely be a little more elbow work involved.
How to serve French Chicken Salad
If you're grain-free, this French Chicken Salad is great eaten simply on its own or over a bed of salad greens; sweet butter lettuce is especially nice. If you're not gluten-adverse or have a favorite gluten-free bread, this makes for a wonderful sandwich; we particularly love it on brioche. I also love the idea of this topped on a grain-free baguette or cracker with a bit of extra orange zest on top for a gorgeous hors-d'oeuvre.
How long does this recipe keep?
This French Chicken Salad recipe should keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?
- A cutting board
- A chef’s knife
- A citrus zester or fine grater
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- A large mixing bowl and a small mixing bowl
- A wooden spoon or spatula
Are you looking to upgrade to your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
A note for special diets
This French Chicken Salad is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nightshade-free, and friendly for Paleo, Keto, Low-FODMAP, and Whole30 diets.
French Chicken Salad
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Mains, Salads & Dressings
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Gluten Free
This French Chicken Salad is inspired by the floral, citrus, and herbaceous flavors on a trip to Paris, France. If you’ve got shredded chicken on hand, this recipe takes about 10 minutes to assemble from start to finish.
- 2 lbs cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
- ½ cup celery finely chopped
- ½ cup green grapes, halved or quartered
- ½ cup green onion, chopped (just the green part if you are SIBO or Low-FODMAP)
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ¾ cup Paleo mayo
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh orange zest, plus more to top if desired
- ½ tsp dried Herbs de Provence
- In a large bowl, add the chicken, celery, grapes, green onion, and almonds. Reserve to the side.
- In a small bowl mix mayo, Dijon mustard, chives, tarragon, orange zest, and Herbs de Provence.
- Add the combined dressing to the chicken and stir gently to combine.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 1 serving (around 1 cup)
- Calories: 318
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 227 mg
- Fat: 23 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 4 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 27 g
- Cholesterol: 78 mg
Keywords: Rotisserie Chicken, Herbs de Provence, Lavender, Grapes
Marisa F. Stewart says
What a delicious salad. We eat lots of chicken and frequently buy rotisserie chicken. This would be a great way to enjoy it this summer. I love the dressing for it. So yummy and creamy. I'm printing out this recipe now.
This combination of flavors sounds wonderful! I've never had something like this, between the citrus and the grapes. It's nice to have some unique recipes to try and for when we serve company.
Kate Andrews says
Anything that has "French" in front of it has my vote! I use a truffle mustard in my egg salad and yes, there is a huge difference!