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Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad (VIDEO)

Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad may just become your new favorite fall salad! Every bite is loaded with crisp pears, tangy cranberries, toasted pecans, feta, and juicy chicken.

We love Fall Salads like our popular Apple Broccoli Salad and Beet Salad with the same dressing you see here (it’s really THAT good!). This Chicken Salad has all of the best flavors of Autumn and it’s a feel-good salad.

Chopped Chicken Salad Served in strips of chicken, pears, craisins, feta and pecans over a bed or romaine lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette on the side

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Fall Chicken Salad Recipe

This Fall Chopped Chicken Salad is easy, healthy and loaded with the best ingredients. It is paleo (if you use a goat/sheep milk feta), gluten-free and guilt-free, with all the flavor. This salad is perfect as a main course or side salad.

Fall Chicken Salad Recipe tossed with balsamic Vinaigrette

I sent text messages to all of my sisters telling them about this salad before it was posted – sometimes when things are just THIS GOOD, I just can’t help but share and I’m so excited to share it with all of you! Don’t judge my use of strange descriptors. I didn’t plan to share this screenshot with the world until just now.

Ingredients for Chicken Salad & Balsamic Vinaigrette:

We love that the entire salad can be prepped ahead of time for parties and arranging. Just shake and add the homemade balsamic vinaigrette just before serving.

Seriously, friends, the dressing takes this salad to the next level. It couldn’t be easier and is a keeper of a recipe. You’ll want it on all of your Fall salads!

Ingredients for Chicken Salad and Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

How to Make Chopped Chicken Salad:

This salad really requires very little effort. Cutting the chicken breasts in half cuts the cooking time in half and a salad spinner will make the lettuce prep easy peasy. Do you use a salad spinner? They are a wonderful tool and you’ll never have another soggy salad!

  • Step 1: Season and sauté chicken and toast pecans
  • Step 2: Chop and spin dry Salad – place in a large bowl.
  • Step 3: Slice Pears and Cooked Chicken Breast and arrange over romaine lettuce in strips along with cranberries, feta and pecans.

How to Make Chopped Chicken Salad

How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette:

The simple balsamic vinaigrette will win you over. It has the perfect combination of flavors and all you need is a mason jar to shake and serve. My friend Natalia shared this dressing recipe with me and it worked perfectly on this salad.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small mason jar. Cover with lid and shake vigorously to combine. If any separation occurs, shake again just before using. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over the salad, adding it to taste then toss to combine. We usually use about 3/4 of the dressing. Leftovers are a great problem to have! 😉

P.S. I prefer pressed garlic for this using a garlic press – you get more garlic flavor in the dressing.

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How to make Balsamic Vinaigrette

Can I Substitute Feta Cheese?

If you aren’t a fan of feta cheese or don’t have it on hand, try goat cheese instead. It has a similar, wonderfully tangy flavor that pairs really well with all of the ingredients and dressing in this salad. We use goat cheese and feta interchangeably in this salad.

Can I Use Rotisserie Chicken?

YES! We love the easy substitution of using chopped rotisserie chicken to make this a Rotisserie Chicken Salad. It becomes a no-cooking required salad that comes together quickly and is just as impressive. During the holidays, you can use leftover turkey to make it a Thanksgiving-worthy Turkey Salad.

Serving Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad with balsamic Vinaigrette being drizzled over the top

More Chicken Salad Recipes:

We love chicken salads around here because they are a meal in themselves and are perfect for to-go lunches and meal prep!

Watch Natasha Make Chicken Salad:

I hope this Chopped Chicken Salad and Balsamic Dressing become a new favorite for you!

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Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad

4.96 from 24 votes
Prep Time: 22 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad is loaded with crisp pears, tangy craisins, pecans, feta and juicy chicken! It's the perfect Fall Salad and this simple balsamic vinaigrette will win you over.

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $13-$15
Keyword: Chicken Salad, Chopped Chicken Salad
Calories: 389 kcal
Servings: 8 as a side chicken salad

Ingredients

Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (2 large) trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce (8 cups chopped) rinsed and dried
  • 2 pears cored and sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans lightly toasted on a dry skillet
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (4 oz) crumbled

Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thin cutlets. Season chicken cutlets on both sides with garlic salt and black pepper. Place a large skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add chicken cutlets and sautee 3-4 minutes per side or until fully cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let chicken rest while preparing the salad then slice the chicken into strips.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium dry skillet, toast pecans over medium heat for 5 minutes, tossing frequently or until pecans are fragrant and lightly golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped romaine, sliced pears, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, crumbled feta and cooked sliced chicken.
  4. Combine dressing ingredients in a small mason jar. Cover with lid and shake vigorously to combine. If any separation occurs, shake again just before using. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over the salad, adding it to taste then toss to combine.
Nutrition Facts
Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 389 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 44mg15%
Sodium 412mg18%
Potassium 339mg10%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 380IU8%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad is a Fall Chicken Salad with pears, craisins, pecans, feta and chicken drizzled with easy balsamic vinaigrette

This Autumn chicken salad is absolutely delicious; one you will make again and again!

Q: Do you have a go-to salad for Fall?

Let me know about it in a comment below! Speaking of chicken salads, don’t miss our chicken avocado salad which won the hearts of our readers with over 150 million views! Explore more of our favorite salads here.

Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad will be your favorite Fall salad. Chicken Salad with pears, craisins, pecans, feta and chicken with easy balsamic vinaigrette! | natashaskitchen.com

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Barbara L Miller
    October 10, 2019

    I love seeing your recipe videos. This salad looks really yummy. Do you have a recipe for an autumn squash (or maybe pumpkin) soup? I had one at a McAlister’s restaurant last Fall and loved it. I think they only have it for a short time every year in the Fall. I haven’t been there in a while so I haven’t checked this year. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 10, 2019

      Great question, Barbara! We do not at this time but that is a great suggestion! I linked all of our Pumpkin recipes here for you. Reply

  • Danni
    September 29, 2019

    Made this last night and it was a huge hit. Tried your suggestions of rotisserie chicken and goat cheese substituted for feta and it was just fantastic! Thanks, Natasha! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 30, 2019

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Danni! Reply

  • Rachael Yerkes
    September 26, 2019

    The best salad ever! So much goodness in one bowl! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2019

      Isn’t it the best, Rachael! Thank you for that great review. Reply

  • Lauren Kelly
    September 26, 2019

    This salad really has all of the best fall flavors! I made it for a luncheon and everyone loved it! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2019

      It is one of our favorites, thank you for the wonderful review! Reply

  • Demeter
    September 26, 2019

    I love the flavor that adding the pears and cranberries brings to this dish! So much flavor and a must have dish at any holiday party this season. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 26, 2019

      This is so perfect in the fall and for the holidays! Thank you for that great review, Demeter! Reply

  • Angela Jackson
    September 19, 2019

    I made this for lunch today and it’s delicious. The ingredients all work so well together. Toss it with that dressing and it turns into one of those “I can’t stop eating this” salads. Lol Didn’t change a thing! Thank you so much for this recipe  Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 19, 2019

      You’re welcome, Angela! I’m so happy you enjoyed that! Reply

  • Lana
    September 5, 2019

    I did not do this salad but would like to make. If you have only three ingredients what kind of salad can you make? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 5, 2019

      Hi Lana, there are so many options. Like our Tomato Cucumber Salad. We have all of our favorite salad recipes listed hereReply

  • Adam
    March 25, 2019

    We eat this once every other week! So good and refreshing. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 25, 2019

      That’s just awesome!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review 🙂 Reply

  • Steph
    January 23, 2019

    Omigosh this salad is amazing and the dressing….. heaven. I have a version of this salad almost every night. The roasted pecans make it! Tonight, romaine, chicken, avocado (ummmm avocado!) Toasted pecans, craisons, cherry tomatoes. Oh, and black olives. YUM! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 24, 2019

      Isn’t it so great! Thank you for sharing your review with us, Steph! Reply

      • Sheena
        March 20, 2019

        I made this salad tonight with a few tweaks because I didn’t have pears, so I used strawberries, and only had spring mix salad. But it was so good! My entire family of 5 loved it, and it’s very hard for all five of us to agree on food choices. Thank you for this awesome recipe. Will be putting this into heavy rotation. Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          March 20, 2019

          Hi Sheena! That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite! Reply

  • Patricia
    November 29, 2018

    Any ideas on what I can add if I omit the chicken? I’m bringing this to a potluck where some folks are vegetarian. Some ideas of extras that I can add would be so helpful. Reply

    • Natasha
      November 29, 2018

      Hi Patricia, you could try another fruit like apples, or just add a little more of everything else. This salad would still work great omitting the chicken. Roasted and diced sweet potatoes might also be a nice substitute. Reply

  • Lyuda
    November 14, 2018

    Hi Natasha! So I tried this salad and another one where it calls for feta cheese. I realized I’m not a lover of feta cheese, what other kind of cheese can I substitute? What other kind would be perfect in this salad?
    And 2nd question, the dressing is very acidic, what can go instead of balsamic vinegar? Or maybe use balsamic vinegar but also add something else? Thank you very much for answering! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 14, 2018

      You could just omit feta if you don’t like it. We love it with Feta it has a distinct tangier & saltier flavor profile. If you are looking for something more mild a cheese like Cotija or Parmesan may work. Ricotta may also work but I haven’t tried it in this salad. Reply

      • Lyuda
        November 15, 2018

        Ok, next time I will put parmesan cheese. Also, I was wondering about the dressing, if theres something else that I could add so it wouldn’t be so acidic. Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          November 15, 2018

          there is definitely room to experiment! You might try a poppyseed dressing. Reply

      • Steph
        January 23, 2019

        Goat cheese works well too, yum! Reply

    • Maureen
      January 1, 2019

      I used blue cheese in our salad goes well with the pears. it was delicious Reply

  • Megan
    November 7, 2018

    This looks like the salad of my dreams. I love it when salads have nuts and fruits in them. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 7, 2018

      Hi Megan! I love a salad with a good crunch! Reply

  • Judith Kaiser
    November 1, 2018

    Hi Natasha! Love your recipes!
    Just want to know if I can use the chicken breast from a large rotisserie chicken. Also can you give me an alternative for feta cheese. Thanks, Judy Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 1, 2018

      I think Rotisserie Chicken will work. You could just omit feta if you don’t like it. We love it with Feta it has a distinct tangier & saltier flavor profile. If you are looking for something more mild a cheese like Cotija or Parmesan may work. Ricotta may also work but I haven’t tried it in this salad. Reply

      • Paula
        November 3, 2018

        Goat Cheese would work nicely also! Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          November 3, 2018

          Thanks Paula! Reply

  • MIRANDA
    November 1, 2018

    for some reason the video says that you need to watch it off youtube i thought it was a glitch but it is not Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 1, 2018

      Yes, the video is posted vie Youtube and linked within this blog post 🙂 Enjoy! Reply

  • Eliester
    October 27, 2018

    For some reason the video gives me an error. It doesn’t play. Reply

    • Natasha
      October 27, 2018

      Hi Eliester, I’m hoping that was just a temporary glitch since it is showing ok for me. Is it still displaying an error for you on the chicken salad video? If so, please let me know what browser and device you are using to view. It is a youtube embed so it should be working on every device. Reply

      • Eliester
        October 29, 2018

        Thank you for your promptly response. Yes, it still shows the error. I’m using my LG nexus phone to view it, but don’t worry. I’ll just use another device.

        Love your channel! Keep up the good work!

        Blessings from Panama Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          October 29, 2018

          Thank you Eliester! I hope it works out for you! Reply

  • Elvira
    October 27, 2018

    This salad totally reminds me of one from Wendy’s I would pickup for lunch from time to time! Makes me want to make it ASAP. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 28, 2018

      Now you can make your own!! Thank you for sharing that with me! Reply

  • Wiebke
    October 27, 2018

    Wow, this is another tasty recipe of yours, and just in time. I was thinking about changing your chicken-pekan-apple salad to use pears instead of apples today when this one came up on the front page. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 27, 2018

      Perfect timing!! I hope you love it! Thank you for the great review! Reply

      • Wiebke
        October 27, 2018

        I loved it. The only thing I regret: the hole in my stomach was not large enough to fit all inside (made half the recipe for 1 person, probably ate 2/3 of it).
        I will most definitively make this one again soon! Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          October 28, 2018

          That’s a good problem to have lol! I’m so happy you enjoyed that! Reply

  • mbajobsdubai.com
    October 27, 2018

    Wonderful web site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some buddies
    ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you to your effort! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 27, 2018

      Thank you! Reply

  • Elizabeth S
    September 8, 2018

    Hello Natasha! What could we use instead of the vinaigrette?
    Thanks in advance 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      September 8, 2018

      Hi Elizabeth, there is definitely room to experiment! You might try a poppyseed dressing. Reply

  • Amy
    May 29, 2018

    This is a thumbs up recipe from the whole family. Thank you Natasha for making cooking so much easier and healthy and flavourful. Your recipes are amazing. My next try will be the clam chowder 😉 Reply

  • Amy
    May 29, 2018

    This is a big thumbs up from the whole family. Your recipes are amazing Natasha. I am so glad I found you. Thank you so much for making cooking so much easier to prepare and taste good and healthy. God bless you Reply

    • Natasha
      May 29, 2018

      Thank you Amy for such a nice review and I’m so glad to hear that our recipes are a blessing to your family 😀 Reply

  • Lesya
    March 27, 2018

    This salad is amazing! I made it for Thanksgiving party with family, and now every party I’ve been asked to bring this salad. Thank you Natasha for such a great receipie! It’s been a hit in my family. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 27, 2018

      My pleasure Lesya! I’m glad to hear how much everyone enjoys the recipe. Thanks for sharing your excellent review! Reply

  • Vika
    February 13, 2018

    Hi Natasha,

    Can I use apples instead if I don’t have pears? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 13, 2018

      Hi Vika, yes that would work well 🙂 Reply

  • Sina
    November 26, 2017

    When I discovered this salad I thought I HAVE to try this, and it’s even better than it looks and sounds! I loved it and so did my bf – He’s a picky eater and hardly finishes any food and he ate it all! 🙂 Also, he wants this salad once a week now! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 27, 2017

      Awesome, I’m happy to hear the recipe is a HIT! Thanks for sharing your excellent review Sina! Reply

  • Janet
    October 25, 2017

    Looks delicious! Thanks so much for formatting the recipe to fit on one printed page. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 25, 2017

      You’re welcome Janet! I hope you love the recipe! Please let me know what you think! Reply

  • Meagan
    October 23, 2017

    This salad looks amazing and will definitely be a part of my weekly meal plans this week.
    The dressing, would it keep for a few days do you suppose? Sounds delicious! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 23, 2017

      Hi Meagan, since it has lettuce in it, it won’t keep for more than 6 hours after adding the dressing since the salt in the dressing will wilt the lettuce. If you prep the salad in advance and then add the dressing just before serving, it will keep longer. Also note that the pears will discolor slightly as they stand. If serving for a party and the look of the pears is important, I would add pears just before serving as well. 🙂 Reply

  • marjanne
    October 18, 2017

    wonderful!!! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 18, 2017

      I’m glad we agree Marjanne! 🙂 Reply

  • tatyana vakarchuk
    October 13, 2017

    made this salad last week and my whole family loved it. added some extra garlic and it’s even more flavorful. love the dressing, thank you for sharing this recipe. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 13, 2017

      You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear your family enjoys the recipe as much as mine does! Thanks for sharing your great review with other readers! Reply

  • Katia Kuiken
    October 10, 2017

    This looks amazing- cant wait to try! Just starting following you 🙂

    If you have yet to try it, you need to discover LAMBRUSCO vinegar (sold at Fairway markets not sure where else). I marinade shallots in it and add grey poupon, garlic, black pepper, and oil! Great for those salad recipes that include fruit 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 10, 2017

      Hello Katia! Thanks for following and sharing your helpful tip! I hope you love this recipe! Reply

    • Stesh
      November 22, 2017

      Katia Lukianova do you not mean Stesh marinade shallots and add the spice you mention? Once a liar always a liar. Reply

  • Veronica
    October 7, 2017

    Thank you Natasha for this autumn salad . I can’t wait to make it. It looks so good. I think iam going to make this for my coworker birthday luncheon. Thank you for putting the picture of lettecue and actual balsamic vinaigrette that you use. And all if the ingreidents. This makes it easier when I go to grocery store to get ingredients to make the salad. Thanks for putting the cist. I am on a right budget do to a horrible divorce . Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 7, 2017

      You’re welcome Veronica! Please let me know what you think! Reply

  • Bonnie
    October 4, 2017

    I’m not overly fond of pears. How about substituting apples?? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 4, 2017

      Hi Bonnie, yes that will work great 🙂 Reply

  • October 2, 2017

    yum! this looks so delicious and healthy too. I must try it soon. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 2, 2017

      It is amazing! Please let me know what you think Sherry! Reply

  • October 1, 2017

    really nice recipe, I have a different vinaigrette-chicken recipe, but am kinda tired of it, so this is a great alternative for me, thank you! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 2, 2017

      You’re welcome Sabrina! I’m glad you enjoy it! Reply

  • September 28, 2017

    Love a good hearty fall salad! I’ve been making a few myself lately… yum!! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 28, 2017

      You’ll love this one then! Please let me know what you think when you decide to make it! Reply

  • Anna D
    September 28, 2017

    Lol, now thats an elite group I want to be part of. 😁 looks delish , what would u substitute feta for? Parmasen? Or just omit? I personally don’t like the texture Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 28, 2017

      Hi Anna, you could just omit feta if you don’t like it. Lol elite group. I have no idea which of the sisters named the group “juicy secrets” but I think it’s hilarious. The name is deceiving haha!  Reply

  • September 27, 2017

    This salad looks fantastic! And I’ve even got a few pears waiting to be used up – this will be perfect. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 27, 2017

      It is so fresh and delicious! I hope you love it Julie! Reply

  • September 27, 2017

    Thank you for this guilt free work lunch ! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 27, 2017

      My pleasure! I hope you love it! Reply

  • Zoryana
    September 27, 2017

    wow, you wont believe but here in PA I have the same brand of balsamic vinegar. It is good brand and I really like it. thank you for salad recipe. Just in time. Recently i started to crave Pecans and it is a good way to use them. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 27, 2017

      You’re welcome Zoryana! I hope you love it! Reply

  • Rosa Penkalsky
    September 26, 2017

    This looks awesome:) would it work if o replaced romaine with kale?:) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 27, 2017

      Hi Rosa, since kale needs time to soften, I would suggest using the method in our kale salad where you add the dressing, cover and refrigerate 4 hours and then add remaining ingredients when ready to serve. I have also seen kale massaging methods where you drizzle the dressing on the kale and massage the kale leaves for a few minutes until they soften. I hope that helps! Reply

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