Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

with crunchy veggies

As previously stated, I’m trying to eat better and shed some winter poundage as we head into the warmer months. So far, success. It’s been four days, but whatever. Being hyper aware of all of the food that I’m eating is a little depressing, but probably not as depressing as it’s going to be putting on a bathing suit for the first time in a while, so you know, whatever. The first two days were fasting days, where all I could eat was chicken or beef broth. I did find lamb broth at Whole Foods, which was so exciting for me it might almost be looked at as sad. I woke up on the third day around midnight with my heart racing and a slight fever, though, because clearly I’d compromised my own immune system and my body was completely rejecting this all liquid diet idea. Anyway, being sick kind of helped, ha! I’m now in the phase of eating where I can have up to 20 net grams of carbs per day. Believe me, that’s way lower than it sounds. I can basically eat all of the eggs and meat that I want, but even after day one, I’m just craving an apple. It’s not so bad, though. This morning for breakfast I had some chopped strawberries and blackberries with a dollop of natural peanut butter and some almond milk, which again, sounds kind of depressing but is actually really good. Kramer is still holding out strong. I don’t know what kind of dark magic he is using to fast for three days now, but I applaud him. I keep asking if he’s going to pass out and if he’s okay, but he seems to be in good spirits. However that works. Anyway, the real challenge is obviously going to be the weekend. We’re supposed to go to a friend’s place on Saturday and possibly get dinner on Sunday. I just need to remember that this past week really sucked and I don’t want to destroy all of my hard work for two slices of pizza. Or do I? Let’s find out, on the Adventures of Sydney Stares Down a Cheese Pizza for the Duration of an Entire Party. Who’s going to win? Only time will tell.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladMove night that turned into game night last weekend.

Distractions were key during the two fasting days, but thankfully work has been insanely busy, so that really helps. We’re moving offices and it’s just non-stop shuffling back and forth between the new space and the current space, meeting with vendors, making sure that things get installed, buying furniture and just figuring out solutions to problems. If I weren’t constantly working on that, it would have been a lot harder to suck down that chicken broth. On Tuesday night, my friend Jeena (who was also fasting with me) and I decided that we needed to figure out a way to not just go home and longingly gaze into the refrigerator, so we saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, armed with a variety of sugar-free gum to gnaw on while everyone around us munched on salty, buttery movie theater popcorn. The movie, however, was bad ass – just what I needed to give me the strength to power on through another day. It was action packed and filled with plenty of explosions and hand-to-hand combat. Thanks, Chris Evans. You’re a miracle worker. I knew he could help me. He clearly wanted to help me. I could feel Chris Evans reaching out through the screen and saying, “These abs don’t come for free!” I know that they don’t. That guy clearly lives on brown rice and salmon. Anyway, on Wednesday, Kramer was fasting with me. We came home and I made us a big pot of red curry broth mixed with the lamb broth (enticing, I know), then we watched our stories from the week (Shameless, Veep and Silicon Valley) before heading to bed. I weighed myself this morning (even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t and I’m my own woman and I just want to feel good and blahblahblah I’m a hypocrite), and it seems that everything is coming up Sydney! But, as always, allow me to reiterate: the weekend is my enemy and my true test of strength and courage will come Saturday. Any diet success stories? Please share and give me hope.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

I made this chicken salad on Sunday, before Kramer and I started our official diet. I wanted to make something tasty, but still healthy and low fat/low carb/whatever. I had a big tub of Greek yogurt in my fridge (clearly, judging from my last post), and I thought, why not use that instead of the usual fatty mayonnaise that I tend to make chicken salad with? I was worried, I won’t lie. I thought it might taste weird and I was worried that Kramer wouldn’t eat it. I’ll tell you what, though – I liked this chicken salad even more than my usual one. The Greek yogurt had about the same level of “tang” as mayo, but somehow tasted a bit creamier. Let me break it down for you, if you don’t mind. One cup of regular mayonnaise has, on average, over 900 calories, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and almost no protein. One cup of 0% Greek yogurt, on the other hand, has 130 calories, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and a whopping 23 grams of protein. Weirdly enough, to be honest, I preferred the Greek yogurt option and will probably keep using it even after I’m being restrictive with what I’m eating. I also plan to keep experimenting with subbing in Greek yogurt for other fats that I usually use and I hope I’ll be able to come up with some fun ideas to share with you. For now, though, this chicken salad, whipped up not only with Greek yogurt, but with dijon mustard, bright lemon, and crunchy vegetables like bell peppers and celery, makes a wonderfully light version of one of my favorite comfort foods that I can feel good about eating an extra helping of.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladChristina, a brilliant Business Insider reporter.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladKramer, Morgan and John.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladKramer being camera shy.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladPlaying some Catch Phrase.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladGreek Yogurt Chicken SaladSide note: everyone buy my friend Georgia’s new sci-fi book, Parched! I’m about a quarter of the way through so far and it is awesome.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladCook your chicken, then toss together with the vegetables and the remaining chicken salad ingredients.

Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladServe over greens or on a sandwich with some good bread!

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5-6
Chicken poached with rosemary and garlic, tossed with crunchy veggies, dijon mustard and Greek yogurt.
For the Chicken:
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the Chicken Salad:
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¾ cup 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Place your chicken thighs in a large pot, cover with water and add in the rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Bring the chicken to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken thighs from the water and discard the solids. You can save the liquid to cook with later, if you like (I froze mine).
  2. Remove the meat from the chicken bones once the chicken has cooled. You can reserve the bones to make stock later (I froze mine) or discard them. Roughly chop the meat and place it in a large bowl. Add in the sliced celery, minced shallots and diced bell pepper.
  3. Toss to combine, then add in the Greek yogurt, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed, but remember that the flavors will develop as the chicken salad sits. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. The chicken salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Serve over leafy greens or as a sandwich.


6 Responses

  1. You are a warrior in my books. I could never give up carbs for anything, not even a bathing suit. I may not need to shed any pounds right now ( happily sized thank you), but I sure could down this salad purely for its taste!

  2. diets are so shitty, but i lost a lot of weight in the past just by nixing any drinks that weren’t coffee or water, and even then, limited coffee to 2x a day, and forced myself to go black on the 2nd cup. ate a lot of arugula/spinach and lemon salads, exercised at least 20 minutes every day (some days up to 2 hrs, like a masochist), and drank tons of kefir smoothies. cutting the sugar makes a huge difference.

    bon courage!

  3. Lisa Mai says:

    That sounds like a nightmare of a diet/cleanse. I applaud your perseverance! I would give you words of encouragement but I don’t diet nor do I really believe in drastic diets for the goal of losing weight. I just eat vegan, drink lots of water, and exercise semi-regularly (will be regularly once school is over haha). Good luck, I hope you meet your goals =)

  4. Karin from B'ham says:

    I tried to comment and it deleted. Recipe looks/sounds delish and I’m making it tomorrow after I crockpot roast a whole chicken tonight. I pinned this and cracked an inside joke that my Southern old lady pals will get. See, “ladies” in the South are obsessed w/their chicken salad recipes, and it’s a backhanded insult to say “Bless her heart….she probably uses dark meat in her chicken salad.” Because some Southern goddess decided that it was a matter of reputation and honor to only use white chicken breast meat in chicken salad! smh. Anyway, you are so young and thin and beautiful. Eat up!

  5. Justin says:

    When you are back to carbs, I find that yogurt thinned to the right consistency makes a pretty decent substitution for buttermilk in biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, etc. Probably not a whole lot healthier, but I’ve always got yogurt in the fridge and never have buttermilk.

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