Loaded with fresh herbs and bright, zingy flavours, this Chimichurri Chicken Salad is here to shake up your lunch routine!   This recipe skips the heavy mayonnaise of classic chicken salad in favour of heart-healthy olive oil, tangy red wine vinegar, and tons of bright, flavourful herbs.   Mix up a bowl of this chicken salad in just a few minutes for a fresh update on the lunch counter classic.

A bowl of chimichurri chicken salad is seen on a wood table surrounded by fresh parsley, cilantro, oregano, red bell pepper and garlic

What is Chimichurri?

It’s time to rob your herb garden for the authentic chimichurri flavours of parsley, cilantro and oregano!  If you are not yet familiar with chimichurri, it is a delicious herb based condiment hailing from South American countries Argentina and Uruguay.  Packed with the bright flavours of fresh herbs, the tang of red wine vinegar and the subtile pungency of fresh garlic, this olive oil based sauce is the perfect accompaniment for grilled chicken, steak, fish and vegetables.  In today’s recipe, we’re taking all the delicious flavours of a chimichurri sauce and adding chopped roasted chicken and some fresh vegetables to turn boring chicken salad into a cravable filling for sandwiches and wraps.  I should warn you though, this chimichurri chicken salad is so tasty and fresh that you’ll likely eat at least half of it right out of the bowl.  You may want to make extra so you’ll have enough for lunches all week long.

A sandwich wrap stuffed with chimichurri chicken salad and fresh veggies is seen on a white plate on a marble counter top

Chimichurri Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • It all starts with cooked chicken: When faced with leftover roasted chicken, I immediately think of chicken salad as a great way to reinvent leftovers into the next great meal.  If you don’t have leftover chicken though, a store bought rotisserie chicken is perfect for this recipe, or you can roast your own bone-in chicken breasts for this salad.  Either way, remember to keep your chicken bones and trimmings to use to make a big pot of Simple Golden Chicken Stock.  
  • Fresh garlic:  When buying heads of garlic, look for the freshest garlic you can find.  This can be a challenge sometimes, as grocery store garlic is often so old that you have to dig through all the loose, papery garlic skins to even find the actual bulbs.  My advice would be, don’t buy that stuff.  Old garlic has less flavour, and so much more unpleasant burn.  Instead, look for bulbs that are tightly closed with the papery skins firmly attached.  When you squeeze the garlic bulb it should feel hard, not spongey or squishy, and definitely avoid any garlic heads with green sprouts.  The first step in this recipe is to soak the garlic first in the vinegar before adding the other ingredients.  The acid in the vinegar will help to neutralize any unpleasant bite in the garlic.
  • Red Wine Vinegar:  If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, you could substitute white wine vinegar.  Freshly squeezed lime juice will give the sauce an equally delicious, but different flavour.
  • Fresh Parsley:  For the best herbaceous flavour, look for flat-leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley.
  • Fresh Cilantro:  Traditional Chimichurri sauce is often made with double the amount of parsley and no cilantro, though I find the combination of both parsley and cilantro delivers the best flavour.  Some claim that authentic Chimichurri sauce is made without cilantro, though I’ve been served this sauce with cilantro in very authentic Argentinian restaurants, so I think it’s open to some debate.  Either way, the combination is delicious,  and unless you do not like cilantro, I highly recommend adding it with abandon to this chicken salad!
  • Fresh oregano:  Many traditional and authentic chimichurri recipes call for dried oregano, and you can certainly use dried if you don’t have fresh.  Keep in mind that you will need far less dried oregano, since the drying process concentrates the flavours.  Since I visit my herb garden for the fresh parsley and cilantro anyway, it only makes sense to snip a few springs of fresh oregano while I’m there to contribute to the fresh, fresh flavours of this salad.
  • Green onions: Finely chopped green onion provides mild onion-y flavour and delicious crunch.
  • Red Bell Pepper:  The pop of red from the bell pepper in this recipe is as pretty as it is delicious.  The subtle sweetness of the bell pepper is a perfect contrast for the tangy, herby, salty flavours of the other ingredients.
  • Red Chili Pepper:  This ingredient is totally optional, though if you like spice I highly recommend it.  If you can’t find small red chilies,  jalapeño pepper would work well here too, or dried red chili flakes.  If you’re not a fan of chili heat, just leave it out!
  • Olive oil:  Instead of heavy, creamy mayonnaise, this light and healthy chicken salad is bound together with olive oil.  You will taste the olive oil in the salad, so the recipe recommends using a “good” extra-virgin olive oil.  What is “good” olive oil?  This simply means a quality olive oil with good flavour.  When you smell it, it should smell fresh, herbaceous, fruity or peppery, depending on where it was grown, but it should definitely not be odorless.  Odorless olive oil will likely also be flavourless olive oil, which will be a let down in this salad.


A trio of romaine lettuce leaves are stuffed with chimichurri chicken salad and served on a glass plate


Just like classic chicken salad, this chimichurri chicken salad is a delicious and healthy filling for sandwiches.  Wrap it up tightly in a tortilla along with fresh tomato and chopped cucumber for a satisfying and portable lunch.  Spoon it into lettuce cups for a light snack.  For a low carb and portable lunch, add your favourite greens and chopped veggies to the bottom of a mason jar and top it with a big scoop of Chimichurri Chicken Salad.  Eat it with crackers alongside a bowl of vegetable soup, or stuff it into a baked potato or baked sweet potato for a simple and delicious dinner.  In the hight of summer, serve a scoop of this chimichurri chicken salad with sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob for a quick meal that won’t heat up the kitchen.  Or, quite frankly…just eat it out of the bowl.  Packed with veggies, herbs and chicken, it’s a complete meal on its own, right?

A green salad is topped with mounds of cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, pickled red onion and a large scoop of chimichurri chicken salad
A dish of homemade bright pink pickled red onions tangled in the tines of a fork is seen from above on a white marble counter

Sweet and Tangy Pickled Red Onions

Sweet and Tangy pickled red onions are a delicious with Chimichurri Chicken Salad.  Find the recipe here!



When pairing a wine, the sauce is typically more important than the protein, especially when it is a strongly flavoured sauce.  In this case I would focus less on the chicken and more on the chimichurri components in this recipe.  You’ll need a wine with enough acidity to match the tanginess of the chimichurri and one that would compliment the herbaceous flavours, so consider reaching for a Sauvignon Blanc.  That being said, in all likelihood I’d be eating this delicious chicken salad for lunch, in the middle of my work day, probably hunched over my laptop.  As much as I love a good wine lunch, I’m more likely to be drinking water on a typical work day.  Plain water is plain boring though, especially with something as zippy and fresh tasting as this dish, so I recommend an Infused Water.  Make yourself a big pitcher to sip on all afternoon to easily (and deliciously!) get your 8 glasses! 

Infused water
A bowl of chimichurri chicken salad is seen on a wood table surrounded by fresh parsley, cilantro, oregano, red bell pepper and garlic

Chimichurri Chicken Salad

Style and Grace
Sarah Gallienne
Forget boring old chicken salad! This fresh take on the lunch counter classic is bursting with fresh herbs, juicy chicken and bright, tangy flavour.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Fusion


  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 small red chili, seeds removed and finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (such as from a rotisserie chicken)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Place the minced garlic and the red wine vinegar in a small dish at set it aside for at least 5 minutes while you continue to prepare the salad.
  • In a large bowl, add the chopped parsley, cilantro, oregano, green onions, bell pepper, chili pepper (if using), olive oil and salt, and stir the mixture to combine. Stir in the garlic and vinegar, then the chopped chicken. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste, and more salt if needed. Serve immediately or store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Keyword Chicken Salad, Chimichurri, Lunch


  • If you do roast your own chicken, be sure to chill it first before mixing it with the other ingredients to avoid wilted herbs.
  • The amount of salt needed for this recipe will depend largely on the salt content of your chicken.  If you roasted your own chicken with minimal salt, you may need to add more that the 1/2 tsp that the recipe recommends starting with.  However, some store bought rotisserie chickens can be HIGHLY salted, in which case you won’t need to add more salt to your salad.  Either way, mix the chicken salad according to the recipe, then adjust the salt to your preference.
  • Store Chimichurri Chicken Salad in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.  I like to pack mine into a tall mason jar to minimize the amount of needed shelf space in the fridge.
Half a bowl of chimichurri chicken salad is seen from above on a wood table surrounded by fresh parsley and cilantro


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