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Chicken Salad With Berries and Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing

Chicken Salad With Berries and Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Nourish Jun 24, 2021

This extraordinary salad is packed with bright, fresh summer flavors and textures. In it, two types of lettuce and a cool crunch of fennel are tossed with shredded chicken breast in a creamy lemon-poppy seed dressing, then served topped with juicy blueberries and crunchy sunflower seeds. The dressing, which uses honey instead of sugar and comes together quickly in a blender, has a lovely sweet-tart balance but with considerably less sweetener than is typically used in store-bought versions. You'll have twice as much as you need for this salad, but it's so tasty, you’ll be glad to have some leftover.

Active time: 35 mins; Total time: 40 mins

Make Ahead: The chicken can be poached up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Storage Notes: Leftover dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the dressing
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed, safflower, or canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • For the salad
  • 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, or 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce hearts
  • 6 cups torn bibb lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries


Make the dressing: Coarsely chop the light green and white parts of the scallions and set aside the dark green parts. In the pitcher of a blender, combine the oil, lemon juice, honey, lemon zest, mustard, salt and pepper with the chopped scallions and blend until smooth. Taste, and add more honey, mustard, salt and/or pepper, if desired. Stir in the poppy seeds. You should get about 1 cup of dressing.

Make the salad: If using uncooked chicken, place it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a deep skillet and add enough water to cover the chicken by about 1 inch. Set the skillet over medium-high heat until the water comes to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to its lowest level, cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 degrees, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, then using your fingers or two forks, shred the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.

In a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the sunflower seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.

When ready to serve, thinly slice the reserved scallion greens. In a large bowl toss the lettuces, fennel and shredded chicken with half of the dressing (about 1/2 cup). Divide among the serving plates and top with the blueberries, toasted sunflower seeds and scallion greens.

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Recipe Source

From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 297

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 20g 31%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 36mg 12%

Sodium: 209mg 9%

Total Carbohydrates: 36g 12%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 9g

Protein: 16g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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