Inspired by afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton hotel, these chicken salad wraps are an easy protein-packed lunch recipe perfect to pack or enjoy at home!
Wraps make a frequent appearance on the menu in this house, especially on weekdays at lunchtime. Working from home is wonderful and all, but it’s busy. Most days, I’m juggling laundry, photo editing, kid stuff, and SEO – in the same hour! If it weren’t for easy lunch recipes like these chicken salad wraps, it would be hard to find the energy to get everything done!
So if you’re a fan of quick and delicious, easy meals everyone will love, keep reading. You’ll love this wrap recipe!
This particular chicken salad has been dubbed the “Ritz Carlton Chicken Salad” at our house. We took the girls to tea at a nearby Ritz Carlton hotel.
It was a lovely experience! Each place setting for the girls had a gift, and the staff was so sweet. I highly recommend it if your family likes to have tea together.
Back to the recipe. One of the tea sandwiches was a classic chicken salad. The chicken salad was almost identical to my tarragon chicken salad, but different. I couldn’t figure out the difference, so I asked for the ingredients.
A tart apple! Since the whole family loved it, of course, I was going to make it at home. I whipped up a batch with some leftover cooked chicken breast one day and enjoyed it for lunch a few days that week.
Once I used the chicken salad in a wrap with a little lettuce and red onion though, things changed. Wraps were now the preferred way to enjoy our homemade Ritz-Carlton chicken salad!
A few tips for making chicken salad
Let’s talk about the chicken salad before we get to the wraps.
While you can whip up your chicken salad and make wraps immediately after, chicken salad is actually better after it sits a little. That means that as far as meal prep goes, it’s a great idea to make your chicken salad on a Sunday afternoon, then you can enjoy all week! If it lasts that long, of course.
This is a great recipe to use up leftover cooked chicken. Otherwise, you’ll need to cook some chicken first, let it cool, and then proceed with the recipe. If you don’t want to do that, grab a rotisserie chicken, and use that.
Any kind of chicken will do. You may use all white meat, all dark meat, or a mix of both. Use what you have, what is easier for you. This recipe is about simplicity.
Now let’s chat a little about ingredients. If you’ve made chicken salad before, you know the recipe has a good amount of flexibility. You can eyeball ingredients most of the time, use more or less depending on your preferences, and scale the recipe up or down easily.
For example, if you don’t like dried cranberries or don’t want to use them, halved or quartered grapes are an excellent substitute.
To lighten up the recipe a little, swap half the mayonnaise with plain fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt. Some people swap all of the mayonnaise for yogurt. In my experience, my family will tolerate up to a half-and-half swap. Beyond that the recipe goes from “love it” to “what is this diet food”!?
The one ingredient I definitely recommend keeping as is is the tart apple! You might wonder if this chicken salad recipe would be too sweet with dried cranberries and apple, but it’s not at all. Look for an under-ripe apple or one of the tart varieties like Granny Smith.
The peeled apple adds a beautiful crunch to salad and that elusive flavor I couldn’t quite pick out at our tea. If you don’t want to use apple, raw jicama is a good substitute, but not quite the same.
You may use dried or fresh tarragon in the recipe. The measurement listed is for dried tarragon. When available, I really love using fresh tarragon, but most of the time I use dried. If you are using fresh tarragon, use 1 tablespoon of finely chopped leaves.
Tarragon is potent, so make sure you let the salad sit before deciding to add more. If you are unsure how you’ll like the tarragon, start with less than the recipe calls for, then add a little more as suits you.
After preparing your salad, you can store it in the refrigerator up to a week in an airtight container. I don’t recommend freezing chicken salad as you will affect the texture.
How do you make the wraps?
Now that you have your chicken salad prepared, it’s time to assemble your wraps! I prefer to assemble wraps just before eating, but you can make them a few hours in advance to pack for lunch, even the night before.
Start with your favorite wrap-sized tortilla. Regular, low carb, flavored, wheat, whatever you have is perfect! If you go for flavored tortillas, I think spinach goes quite nicely.
Add some veggies! Lettuce is a classic. Spinach and arugula are excellent too. We typically keep it simple with lettuce and some sliced red onion (or pickled onion) so the chicken salad really shines.
I hope you love this easy meal idea, darlings. Hopefully it saves you time, makes your day a little easier and more delicious, and helps you focus on your fabulous, whatever that may be on a given day. You’re doing the best you can with what you have, and that’s something to be proud of!
Chicken Salad with tarragon and apple:
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (about a pound)
- 1 peeled and diced tart apple (like a Granny Smith)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
To Make Wraps:
- 4-6 tortilla wraps (see notes)
- sliced red onion
- Prepare your chicken salad up to a week in advance. If possible, allow at least 30 minutes of chilling time for the flavors to blend before serving.
- Combine the chicken salad ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Start with 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and add more if needed. You want just enough to coat the salad, but not so much it gets heavy.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes if possible so the flavors can blend. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to use. Adjust seasoning, if needed, after the resting time.
- When you are ready to enjoy your chicken salad, remove it from the refrigerator, and use it as you wish.
- To make a wrap, set your tortilla in front of you. Add washed and dried lettuce and thinly sliced red onion. Scoop between 2/3 to 1 cup of chicken salad on the lower third of the tortilla.
- Roll the wrap by folding in either side and rolling up, starting at the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla where you placed the chicken salad.
- Cut in half and enjoy!
- This recipe makes about 4 cups of chicken salad as written. This will make about 4-6 wraps depending on the size of your tortillas, how much lettuce you add, and how much chicken salad you use.
- This chicken salad can also be used to top crostini, crackers, on croissants, between slices of sandwich bread, or as a low-carb dish on a bed of lettuce.
- You may make the wraps up to a day in advance and store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve. Do not add wet ingredients like tomatoes to the wrap so the tortilla doesn't get soggy. Place lettuce under the chicken salad to act as a barrier.