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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan

This Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan is one of the first salads I think about when basil plants are showing up in the stores! Use the Diet-Type Index to find more low-carb recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan!

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

This Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan is something you should make as soon as you see those basil plants showing up in the grocery store, and then keep making it all summer, and through the years I’ve learned you just can’t put too much chopped basil in this salad. I’m a huge fan of fresh basil, and I’ve been growing basil in my garden and freezing the fresh basil for many years now! So of course I’m excited that basil season has started this year, and I want to remind you about this basil-loaded chicken salad recipe that’s one of my summer favorites.

And yes, I used the word SUMMER! Are you as excited as I am that summer is almost here? I love all the foods of summer so much and even though my new garden spot is much smaller than the garden I used to have, I still love growing a few vegetables and lots of fresh herbs to use in summer cooking.

Last week I planted Brandywine tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, Celebrity tomatoes, Early Girl tomatoes, red bell peppers, Poblano peppers, cucumbers, and basil, and I have lots of perennial herbs growing in the two herb patches by my front sidewalk and next to the garage! So I think I’m on the way to lots of summer cooking at my house.

I’ll definitely pick up a few more basil plants to grow in the kitchen window again this year. (You can never have too much fresh basil, right?)  But if you’re not growing basil and have to buy it in the grocery store you can certainly get away with using less in this recipe. But please try it if you’re a fan of these flavors. I could eat this over and over all summer long!

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

You can make the salad with leftover rotisserie chicken, but if you’re starting from scratch, trim the chicken breasts and cut into thirds lengthwise. I used a mixture of canned chicken broth and water to cook the chicken, combined with 2 teaspoons of Italian Herb Blend. (You could use poultry seasoning if you don’t have the Italian blend.) When the liquid comes to a boil, add the chicken and cook at the barest simmer until it’s cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain the chicken into a colander and let it drain very well. Then cut the chicken into cubes about 3/4 inch square.

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

I used Herb Scissors to cut the basil into thin strips. If you’re using basil from the garden, give it a wash in a Mini Salad and Herb Spinner. The dressing is flavored with the fresh basil, chopped green onions, and a few tablespoons of freshly-grated Parmesan. Whisk together the mayo and buttermilk so it’s smooth; then stir in the basil strips, chopped green onion, and Parmesan. Gently stir the dressing into the cubes of chicken, season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve.

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

This Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan can also be chilled for a few hours before serving; enjoy!

More Recipes for Chicken Salad:

Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Hummus Chicken Salad ~ Aggie’s Kitchen
Leftover Chicken Salad with Mustard, Hearts of Palm, and Olives ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Whole 30 Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad ~ Wonky Wonderful
Shredded Chicken Salad with Green Olives, Celery, and Green Onion ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Tarragon Chicken Salad ~ She Wears Many Hats

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan

I love growing basil in the summer, and this Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan is something I’d never get tired of.


Ingredients for Cooking Chicken:

  • 1 can (14 oz.) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans water
  • 2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend (or Poultry Seasoning will work too)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken, cut in 3/4 inch pieces (If you’re cooking the chicken for this recipe, use 4 chicken breasts to get 4 cups diced chicken.  See below for cooking instructions.)
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion (or more)
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves (or more)
  • 3 T. grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. If you’re cooking chicken for this, trim visible fat from 4 chicken breasts, then cut the chicken lengthwise into thirds.  Put the can of chicken stock, 2 cans of water, and the Italian Herb Blend into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  When it boils add chicken breasts, turn heat to low, and  let simmer 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Drain the chicken into a colander placed in the sink and let it cool.
  2. While the chicken cools, slice the basil leaves or cut with Herb Scissors and wash if needed, chop green onions, and measure the freshly-grated Parmesan.
  3. When chicken is cool, dice it into pieces about 3/4 inch square and place into medium-sized bowl.
  4. Combine mayo and buttermilk, whisking until it’s smooth.  Then stir in green onion, Parmesan, and basil.
  5. Add dressing to the chicken in the bowl and gently mix until chicken is well coated with dressing. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  6. This can be served immediately or chilled slightly before serving.  This will keep in the fridge for about a day, but it’s best freshly made.

This recipe adapted by Kalyn from one that appeared on the Best Foods site.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan is great for any low-carb or low-glycemic diet plan and any phase of the South Beach Diet. South Beach would probably recommend you use light mayo and use portion control due to the amount of fat; other low-carb diets would prefer full-fat mayo.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

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44 comments on “Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan”

  1. Kalyn, love your blog. Thanks so much for all your great recipes. I roasted a chicken Sunday night so plan to use the ‘tovers’ to make this salad. Blessings 

  2. There's finally enough basil in my garden to do justice to this chicken salad recipe!

  3. Eileen, that sounds good to me!

  4. This chicken salad is really making me want to go on a picnic! Just imagine how great it would be made into sandwiches and passed around with glasses of lemonade. Yay!

  5. Do any weight watchers know how many points this would be per serving??? Thx

  6. I made this last night. It is so delicious!!!

    I've pinned it so others will give it a try too.

  7. Glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes.

  8. so simple, but so delish. i'm having this for lunch today on top of some greens since i'm still on phase 1. i can't wait to try it with whole wheat pita bread tho.

  9. Gwen, thanks for letting me know you tried it and liked it. This is one of my favorites for leftover chicken.

  10. I made this for lunch, with basil and onion from my garden, and it was the best chicken salad I've ever had! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  11. I love fresh basil and am looking forward to using it in this recipe next time I grab some. It looks so simple.

  12. Oh come on, you *know* mayo is supposed to be mixed with yogurt/Greek yogurt 🙂

    Love the idea of adding basil. Still have a lot of basil in the back yard, gonna give this one a try!

  13. This sounds delicious…I'll have to try it! I generally make my chicken salad with crushed red pepper flakes for seasoning, as well as a teensy bit of salt and pepper, then use a lowfat vegan mayo, thinly sliced celery, a touch of coarse and spicy honey mustard, and tons of chopped red grapes for a taste of sweetness to counteract the spicy!

  14. those ingredients make so much sense to me!

  15. Cristie, love the idea of using gorgonzola! Sounds great.

  16. I love chicken salad and find it's a terrific way to turn left-over chicken into a tasty lunch or supper. I just tried a new chicken-salad recipe that uses gorgonzola cheese and basil. At first the strong gorgonzola taste was surprising but within a few bites I couldn't stop eating it. I agree with you, cheese, basil and chicken make a winning salad. Thanks for the post.

  17. Spanishamada, thanks so much for letting me know. Now I want to try it that way myself.

    Amy, thanks! So glad to hear you liked it. (That's just how my dad and I ate it too, sandwich for him and salad for me.)

  18. Made this for dinner tonight! It was delicious. I had it as a salad, and my husband had a sandwich. He loved it too!

  19. I just made it with Greek yogurt instead of mayo. Delish!

  20. Katerina, I did eat some that way and it was great!

  21. I can totally taste this stuffed in a WW pita!

  22. I mean that when the plant gets large leaves at the end of the stems (and especially it it's in the beginning stages of making flowers) you should trim that stem (leaving some leaves on at the bottom.) Then the basil will make two stalks where you trimmed, producing even more leaves. You can see how I trim my basil and read about freezing it in my post about How to Freeze Fresh Basil. It will really make a difference in how much basil your plants produce in a year.

  23. Kalyn, you just told me to trim my basil regularly. Can you tell me exactly what you mean by that? (I feel so stupid, I've been growing the stuff for years. Mostly have trouble with something putting holes in it….)

  24. This sounds like it takes regular old chicken salad to a whole new level. Excellent!

  25. This is my kind of chicken salad! It's a good thing I have plenty of basil in my garden.

  26. Nancy, I don't have a recipe for chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts; it's one of the links in this post.

  27. I just may try this!
    I have been searching for your chicken salad with walnuts and cranberries, but can't find it anywhere!! Could you possibly email it to me?? I'd be so grateful!


  28. Katie, loved the sound of your salad with cranberries and walnuts (and then in one of the comments Maris gave me the idea of adding apples to it too, which also sounds good.) Limitless herbs is a wonderful thing. Not sure if I have completely achieved it, but I do have a healthy herb garden!

  29. Thanks for the link! I have been really enjoying stepping out of my chicken salad comfort zone and trying new and different combinations. I am trying to get my little herb garden to grow so I can have limit-less herbs available when I want to make recipes like this.

  30. Amy, I confess I'm just a bit obsessed with cutting things the same size ever since I took a Chinese cooking class and learned about "symmetry of cut" but I do think it makes a difference. No doubt that BC makes a great chicken salad! Glad you liked the roasted mushrooms.

    Elenka, it will grow. When it does, be sure to trim regularly.

    Lisa, I never did get any Thai basil planted this year, it's been a weird garden year around here.

  31. Kalyn, this looks great and I must try it when my basil plant gets a bit bigger. My Thai basil is going nuts, but the Italian basil is lagging behind. Thanks for the recipe.

  32. As soon as the basil in my garden is more than a half inch tall, I can try this recipe!! Patience…..

  33. That's how I chop my chicken when I make chicken salad. I'd like to say that I was naturally inclined to do so but the truth is I saw Barefoot Contessa do it on t.v. She makes a mean chicken salad.

    I agree about the basil – we have more that we can use so I've been putting it in everything and it is so good. The other day I read about how you oven roasted mushrooms and I did it but used different herbs…it was so good. 🙂

  34. Amanda, this should be very diabetes friendly.

    Frieda, I love basil, so this is perfect for me. Isn't it fun to grow!

    Meghan, an abundance of basil is a wonderful thing, and this is a good way to use some of it. Let me know if you try it with the yogurt; I'm thinking it will be good!

    Maris, thanks! Cranberry, apple, chicken salad sounds great too.

  35. Yum! This is a nice change from the typical walnut-cranberry-apple chicken salad recipe. Which I love! But it's nice to see another variation.

  36. This looks so delicious! I love chicken salad but never thought to put in fresh basil. I have an abundance of basil on my balcony!!! That's a great idea to sub some ff Greak yogurt for the mayo!

  37. Thanks for another recipe to use basil! I have 3 small plants in my yard…I appreciated your basil post from earlier, too!

  38. thank you, this looks really good 🙂 I've just been diagnosed with early diabetes so I've been thrust into eating better. I'll save this recipe to try!

  39. Joyandpain, I'm updating the old recipes without photos as fast as I can! This one is on the list.

  40. This sounds great. I'm going to try it. Maybe you could make it again and post a picture?

  41. This looked so good – I snagged it for a post. Thanks, Dear! 😉

  42. Thanks for the recipes.
    Mr. Quist

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