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close up shot of Tarragon Chicken Salad, igredients in rows

Tarragon Chicken Salad

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Our Tarragon Chicken Salad is a unique twist on the iconic deli chicken salad, adding in complementary fresh ingredients as well as offering two elegant presentations to choose from. And it can be prepared the day before serving, making it perfect for a luncheon or casual busy day dinner.

  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free



Tarragon Dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (or 3/4 cup mayonnaise and 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon – see Note
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil – See Note
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Chicken Salad

  • 1 medium head napa cabbage, chopped – see Note
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms (white or cremini)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (around 1 purchased rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/3 cup chopped or sliced red onion
  • 1 package (10 ounce) frozen peas, thawed & drained
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled & chopped
  • 1 pint grape or small cherry tomatoes, cut in half


Tarragon Dressing

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, tarragon, basil and pepper. Season to taste with salt and more pepper (may not need any salt). Set aside.

Chicken Salad Assembly – Layered Version

  1. Spread the chopped cabbage in the bottom of a shallow, 3-quart casserole or serving dish (a pretty 9-by-12 inch dish works well). Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Top with the mushrooms, then chicken, then onion, then peas and scatter cucumber over the top. Again, sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Spread dressing evenly over the top. Garnish with cherry tomato halves, cut side up (you may not need the entire pint – it depends on the size of the tomatoes).
  4. Cover and chill salad at least 4 hours or overnight.

Chicken Salad Assembly – Rows in Bowl Version

  1. Spread the chopped cabbage in the bottom of a large shallow platter or 8 large, shallow individual bowls. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Arrange remaining ingredients in rows – onions, then peas, then cucumber, chicken tomatoes and ending with mushrooms. Again, sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Cover and chill salad(s) at least 4 hours or overnight.

Place dressing in a pretty bowl and serve on the side.


Note on cabbage: Napa cabbage is oval-shaped and lighter in color than regular cabbage, and the leaves are wrinkly and slightly curled on the edges. If you can’t find it, substitute baby (or regular) bok choy or regular green cabbage.

Note on herbs: Try to use fresh tarragon and basil rather than substituting dried herbs for this recipe – it will taste much better!

  • Author: Adapted from "A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®" by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: main dish, make ahead
  • Method: No cook
  • Cuisine: American