Here’s a hearty, healthy chicken salad recipe the whole family will love. Use leftover chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken is my go-to) chewy, nutty farro and a bevy of Mediterranean flavors for a bright, delicious farro salad that’s great for picnics and easy summer eating.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why You’ll Love Lemony Leftover Chicken and Farro Salad
- 2 Ingredients For Leftover Chicken Farro Salad
- 3 Best Cheese For Healthy Chicken Salad
- 4 Making Lemon Vinaigrette For Farro Salad
- 5 Versatility of Healthy Chicken Salad
- 6 Lemony Leftover Chicken and Farro Salad
- 7 Pin “Lemony Leftover Chicken and Farro Salad” For Later!
Why You’ll Love Lemony Leftover Chicken and Farro Salad
I’ve been making versions of healthy chicken salad like this for years. I love it because it doesn’t get weighed down with goopy mayonnaise or creamy dressings that can become a petri dish of biohazards when sitting out on a hot summer day. Instead, it’s loaded with big identifiable chunks of chicken and fresh vegetables and simply dressed with a lemony vinaigrette.
Since we spend many weekends visiting my parents in the Florida Keys (where it’s perpetually 95° and balmy), we’d rather be boating, swimming or crooning to Jimmy Buffett instead of slaving away in the kitchen. Therefore, I make this leftover chicken farro salad the day before and bring it out the next day at lunchtime along with ice cold drinks and chilled wedges of pineapple and watermelon for an easy, breezy picnic lunch under the chickee hut. (That’s the chickee hut above — and you can’t really see it in this shot, but there is a picnic table under there.)
Ingredients For Leftover Chicken Farro Salad
You can actually take this salad in many different directions depending on what you mix it with, but for this particular rendition, I’m sticking with Mediterranean flavors.
- Leftover Chicken Breast Meat
- Cooked Farro
- Chick Peas
- Red Onion
- Grape Tomatoes
- Bell Pepper (Roasted, peeled and seeded)
- Kalmata Olives
- Cucumber (I used English cucumbers)
- Feta Cheese
- Fresh Parsley
- Mint Leaves
Pro Tip: The key to this salad is to cook the farro and allow it to cool to room temperature before adding to the other ingredients, otherwise it would wilt the vegetables and you want them to stay vibrant. When cooling the farro, remove the lid to allow the grains to dry out a bit as they cool.
Best Cheese For Healthy Chicken Salad
You can use several types of cheeses in this Mediterranean farro salad. My preference is feta(either the crumbles or a whole block that’s been cut into cubes), but fresh mozzarella chunks, would be great, too. Even shaved parmesan would bring an earthy, umami flair. I usually don’t add the cheese until just before serving to keep the flavors fresh and the texture, palatable. (Not to be gross, but cheese that sits in a salad for a few days can take on a wholly unpleasant texture).
Making Lemon Vinaigrette For Farro Salad
Tangy citrus dressing really adds a lively punch to the flavors in the leftover rotisserie chicken salad and it’s so much better than any ready-made salad dressing.
Ingredients For Lemon Dressing:
- Lemon (zest and juice
- Dijon Mustard
- Champagne Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
Whisk the ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified and dress the salad, tossing well to coat all the ingredients. Note: You may not need all of the vinaigrette for the salad. Add about half of the dressing and toss completely, then taste for seasoning. If it needs more, add it a tablespoon at a time, tossing after each addition.
Versatility of Healthy Chicken Salad
This simple, flavorful leftover chicken farro salad with that citrusy dose of vinaigrette and fresh herbs is an easy, delicious meal, that’s perfect for picnics, potlucks and even pack-n-go work lunches… and if you happen to be vacationing by the shore, make it ahead of time, for a no-fuss, healthy, delicious meal to fuel your fun-filled day.
More Healthy Chicken Salad Recipes:
- Curried Chicken Salad with Rotisserie Chicken
- Smoky Chorizo Chicken Salad
- Asian Chicken Salad
- Lemony Chicken Orzo Salad
- Mediterranean Khorasan Wheat Salad
More Farro Salad Recipes:
- Farro, Tomato and Green Bean Salad
- Chicken Kale Farro Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Farro Pomegranate Kale Salad
- Grilled Vegetables with Feta and Farro
- Nicoise Farro Salad
Lemony Leftover Chicken and Farro Salad
- breast meat from 1 rotisserie chicken skinned, boned, diced into 1/2" chunks
- 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes halved
- ½ english cucumber sliced lengthwise and cut into thin half moons
- ½ red onion finely diced
- 1 red yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped into bite size chunks
- 1 cup farro prepared according to manufacturers instructions
- 1 8- ounce can garbanzo beans chick peas, rinsed and drained
- ½ c kalamata olives seeded, halved lengthwise
- 2 T capers drained
- 1 cup feta cheese drained and cubed
- ½ cup italian parsley leaves fresh chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves optional, chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano fresh optional, chopped
For Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 T dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or other wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- For salad: In a large bowl toss all salad ingredients together.
- For vinaigrette: Add the lemon juice to a glass measuring cup. Add enough vinegar to the lemon juice to equal 1/4 cup liquid. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until dressing is emulsified.
- Drizzle dressing over the chicken salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Pin “Lemony Leftover Chicken and Farro Salad” For Later!
Jessica Formicola says
I love all of the bright colors and flavors of this salad! I can’t wait to have it for lunch today!
I loved this salad! So many ways to enjoy and so flavorful!
Denay DeGuzman says
What a delicious chicken recipe! My family will love the flavors, colors and textures of this farro salad. It’s the perfect side dish for our family BBQ this weekend!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Farro is seriously my fave. I love the idea of pairing it with the lemon chicken.
Such a fabulous use for leftover chicken! I love all the colors of the fresh veggies in this dish and I’m always up for a lunch that’s both healthy and delicious!
I’m glad you like it– we seriously eat this at least 1-2 times per month.
Excellent salad! It has everything … a grain, chicken, vegetables and lots of flavor. My only comment is that I feel you’ve underestimated how many people it can feed. I felt that this could easily feed 8 people. I will make this again. Thank you.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Karen! On the portion size, I guess my family are big eaters…
My parents just did a kitchen remodel (thanks to a water leak) and tore down a wall to create an open concept. They lived in a condo for the majority of the time though (thanks to insurance). I can relate with the stress, I can’t believe they’re living at home through it! I hope everything goes smoothly, quickly, and properly. It was very sweet of you to bring them such a fresh meal.
Suzanne King says
I still want to eat them both. You’re doing a great job and I look so forward to your posts. Thanks for the good times!
Thanks so much Suzanne! I appreciate hearing from you!
What a delicious idea for a cookout or picnic. Gorgeous salad!
Thanks so much!
Oh my goodness! I love all the ingredients in this salad-olives and farro and fresh tomatoes. And the dressing sounds so tart and refreshing. Can’t wait to try. I hope your parents’ reno goes well!
Thanks, Lucy! Enjoy the salad!
Sounds delicious. I want to prepare this sometime.
Let me know how you like it!
Anne Murphy says
Oh, good luck to them!
And that salad looks delicious – and perfect when you want to carry something, and have it fresh and nice a few hours later! I’m sure they enjoyed it.
It’s perfect for just that type of occasion, Anne