Best Ever Holiday Chicken Salad with Rosemary and Pomegranates

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I feel confident calling this the best ever chicken salad because I brought it to a party, and everyone who tried it commented on it.  It was perfect combination of textures. Pomegranates, pecans, celery, apples, white meat chicken. I used the Best Body Mayonnaise  (Amazon) as it is 100% avocado oil.

You can make this a keto friendly recipe by eliminating the apple, but do keep the pomegranate.

Best Ever Holiday Chicken Salad

Use a Good Rotisserie Chicken for Chicken Salad

It all started when a friend dropped off two rotisserie chickens from Whole Foods to keep us covered for dinners, after my mother passed away. I cut off all of the white meat, discarding any skin or bones, and froze the dark meat for another time.

You can roast your own chicken, using my easy one hour oven roasted chicken recipe. 

I was shocked at how much chicken I ended up having and would say one chicken is probably all you need for several servings.  The day before my mother died, I stopped at Whole Foods with the intention of making soup and had organic celery on hand. I had made her this roasted pumpkin which was her last dinner with us and still had pomegranate arils left. I also had a few very crisp gala apples, and fresh parsley (for the soup I never made). I always have pecans on hands, and chose to roast them for just about 3 minutes.

What is the Key to the Great Chicken Salad?

As easy as chicken salad is to make, there are important components to making it the best.

  • The chicken has to be pulled, not cubed. Use a food Processor.
  • The mayonnaise has to be healthy. I use Better Body Foods because it doesn’t have canola oil.
  • There has to be some crunch, either from celery or apples or both. (I know some people hate celery).
  • There needs to be a little bit of sweet, which is where my pomegranate comes in. It’s a better choice than using dried cranberries if you’re looking for a lower sugar option.
  • It needs nuts, and I prefer roasted, chopped pecans.
  • Don’t forget the salt and pepper, and a smattering of parsley.
  • Add a little honey if your mayonnaise doesn’t have flavor.
  • Add fresh herbs. I added rosemary for a holiday feel.

My Favorite Food Processors (My Amazon Picks)

Braun 12 Cup Food Processor that does everything. I use this for shredding carrots, squeezing lemons, chopping nuts and processing my chicken. This is the processor for life.

Kitchen Aid 5 Cup Food Processor – great for the small jobs. You can use this for the chicken salad, but you might have to do it in batches.

I know this can be used to make the best chicken salad sandwich, but I like to serve it in a pretty bowl, topped with chopped pecans, pomegranates, and a smattering of parsley and rosemary. It’s so perfect for Christmas parties and Christmas brunches.

You can use this same recipe to make the best ever turkey salad.

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Pomegranate Spells Holiday Time

The pomegranate arils perfected this chicken salad, adding a touch of tart and sweet with some texture. I wouldn’t leave these out. I get so excited when pomegranates hit the grocery in winter as I throw them into almost every salad and some hot dishes like last week’s roasted pumpkin. Just a tablespoon or two makes a difference.

How to Crack Open a Pomegranate

Score the six ridges of the pomegranate and break at the ridges over a bowl of water. The frustrating part can be the pulp mixing with the pomegranate arils. Break over a bowl of cold water. The arils will sink to the bottom and you can use a slotted spoon to remove the pulp from the top. Then drain the arils.

Nutrition Value for Best Chicken Salad

If you want this to be a keto friendly (zero net carb) recipe,  take out the apple. It was as if everything was pre-planned to make the best ever chicken salad. This low carb and a paleo recipe, full of healthy fat, protein and fruits and around 4 net carbs per serving.  If you remove the apple, it’s zero net carbs and keto friendly.

Rosemary Chicken Salad

More Party Foods from Spinach Tiger

Best Ever Holiday Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Holiday Chicken Salad

Pulled chicken, with pomegranates, rosemary, and pecans make a very festive chicken salad made with Rotisserie chicken.
Prep Time15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken salad
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 1 pound white meat chicken Pulled from rotisserie chicken or poached
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup mayonnaise Better Body Foods
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 small gala apple with skin diced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey optinal


  • Pull chicken off bone. Don't use any skin. I find using a food processor makes the texture I like for chicken salad.
  • Add diced celery, diced apple to chicken.
  • Add mayonnaise according to need. I used quite a bit. Add optional honey if desired. It does add an extra something.
  • Toasting pecans is optional. No more than 3 minutes. Chop somewhere between fine and course, keeping in mind how that will be for eating. Add in, but save some for topping.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add in rosemary and parsley, but also save a little for the top.

Prepare Pomegranate

  • Score the six ridges of a pomegranate.
  • Break open over a bowl of cold water. The pomegranate arils will sink to bottom.
  • Add two tablespoons of arils, and save a little for the top.

Poached Chicken Breasts Option

  • Add about 2 inches cold water over the chicken breasts and bring to boil. Once the water is boiling, skim off the scum off the top, and turn down the heat. Take out of the water as soon as the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. in the middle. Cool completely before making the chicken salad.

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