California Chicken Salad

What makes this chicken salad a California chicken salad??? Let’s talk about it.

california chicken salad

I’m leaning hard on avocado for the answer. Avocado is in, or on, everything here. But also … poppy seed dressing! Because the poppy is California’s state flower! See?!?

Pretty proud of myself for that one.

The poppy seed dressing I used here is made with primarily plain yogurt so it’s much lighter than oil-based poppy seed dressings sold in jars. It’s less sweet, too, but still sweet enough that you could use it on a fruit salad if that’s more your jam.

And as always, mix and match the salad ingredients to suit yourself. If mangoes are too expensive where you are, use halved grapes or apple chunks. If you don’t like the crunch of celery, use cucumber cubes. If you don’t want to screw with finding poppy seeds, just leave them out. It’ll break my heart but won’t make much difference to the final product.

california chicken salad


California Chicken Salad

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  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (See note)
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced jicama
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 mango
  • 4 soft lettuce, torn into bits
  • 2 cups torn radicchio (or additional lettuce)
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Begin by poaching chicken: Place in a pot with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt or chicken bouillon. Cover. Bring to boil, then turn OFF heat. Leave chicken in hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. Peel jicama and dice. Place in a large bowl with celery, onion. Cut avocado into cubes and drizzle with lemon juice. Peel and slice mango.
  3. When chicken is cooked, let cool and cut into cubes or tear into small pieces.
  4. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well, or whisk together in a bowl.
  5. Pour dressing over vegetables and chicken and toss well. Add avocado and mango last.
  6. Serve over mixed greens.


If you prefer to use a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, poach the same way as above, except allow chicken to simmer 1 minute before turning off heat and resting in hot water for 20 minutes.

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california chicken salad


  1. Linda on April 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    What would you suggest instead of the jimica? Don’t see those too much here!

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Try apple or a firm pear, like an Asian pear!

  2. Belinda Avey on April 19, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Looks good; and, I’m anxious to try the poppyseed dressing, on other things! I know I’m being lazy, but do you have other jicama recipes, for the leftover jicama? TIA!

    • Belinda Avey on April 22, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Second day in a row I’ve made this, with rotisserie chicken and a Costco mango cup. So good! I love the healthier feel, of the poppyseed dressing, although I reduced the oil, by half, for shucks! ?
      I’ve got a pic; but, I can’t figure out how to post it.

      • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm

        Thanks for the update, Belinda! Good to hear the oil can be reduced even further. If you want, you can post the pic on my facebook page!

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Belinda!
      I love it peeled and cut into sticks for dipping. Or you can sprinkle with lime juice, salt and chili powder for a snack. Or shred it and add to coleslaw (I use it in this fish tacos recipe)

  3. James Lynch on April 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Are you still on youtube

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Hi James, I stopped making YT vids a couple months ago so I can focus on other kinds of videos. All the vids are still on my channel and this website, though.

  4. Victoria on April 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    What is the serving size?

    • Hilah on July 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      The nutrition info is based on 6 servings, which is about a cup of chicken salad

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