Curried Chicken Salad Recipe

curried chicken salad | pamela salzman

I’m sure you all pushed away your keyboards and ran into the kitchen to poach chicken after Monday’s post, right?  Perfect!  Now let’s do something healthy and delish with your chicken.  I have a recipe for the BEST curried chicken salad I have ever eaten!   Even my family, which to my chagrin prefers more “simple” flavors, loves this salad.

shred chicken

apples, green onions, celery

I thought it would be a great time to post this curried chicken salad since you might be looking for some new options for school and/or work lunch.  At it’s most basic, curried chicken salad is just what it sounds like — chicken salad with curry mixed in.  I use a yellow curry powder, which is a blend of different anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek and many others.  But as opposed to basic, standard chicken salad to which I add celery and onion, I like to add a little something sweet to balance the curry.  My husband and I disagree on whether diced apple or halved grapes is better.  I think they’re both good, but since I am a sucker for crunch, I usually add apples.

curry dressing

curry dressing

I used to make Ina Garten’s version with Major Grey chutney and white wine, but the chutney is not something I usually use and it was taking up space in the fridge.  So I created my own blend of ingredients, including apricot preserves, to mimic the sweet, hot, tart flavor of the chutney.  This is the best part of the dressing.  So, so good and flavorful!  I also like to use shredded, as opposed to cubed or diced chicken, because I think the nooks and crannies of the shredded chicken pick up more of the dressing.

curried chicken salad | pamela salzman

curried chicken salad

You can make it the day before and tuck it inside of a pita or 2 slices of hearty, whole grain bread.  Or, as I like to do it, eat it in a lettuce cup.  A little avocado would put this over the top!  Feel free to make this spicy or change up the preserves.  I think any variation of orange, apricot, peach or kumquat would be great.  I like the St. Dalfour brand which is sugar-free and without added preservatives.  I think this might become your new favorite chicken salad!  For you vegheads, I may try to do a tofu version of this.  How does that sound?!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Curried Chicken Salad
Serves: about 2 quarts, serves 6
  • 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (technically split breasts), about ¾ pound each
  • ½ small onion, peeled
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 Tablespoon additive-free kosher salt
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped apple (about 1 medium apple) or 1 cup grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup golden raisins (or dark raisins, if you prefer)
  • ½ cup roasted, salted cashews, chopped (slivered almonds are also good)
  • ½ cup plain, whole Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (I like soy-free Vegenaise)
  • 3 Tablespoons apricot or peach preserves, preferably no sugar added like St. Dalfour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • butter lettuce or sandwich bread, for serving
  1. Place the chicken in a saucepan with the onion, garlic, salt and peppercorns and add water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  3. Allow chicken to cool in the poaching liquid.
  4. Remove the skin and bones and shred the meat into large, bite-size pieces. Set aside in a large bowl.
  5. Add the celery, scallions, apple or grapes, raisins and cashews to the chicken.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, preserves, curry powder, vinegar, salt, ginger, and cayenne pepper.
  7. Pour on top of the chicken and salad ingredients and combine to coat well with dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Or you can use 6 cups of shredded, already cooked chicken instead of poaching chicken from scratch.



Basmati rice with roasted cauliflower

We are well into fall and I couldn’t be more excited.  At the farmer’s market the other day I was happy to see the return of some familiar faces — winter squash, apples, pomegranates, persimmons and the entire Cruciferous family of vegetables.  Have we talked about this group and why you should be inviting them to dinner as much as possible?  Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, watercress, mustard greens and cauliflower are the most popular around here, but there are others and they are all loaded with powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds.  You may hear the term “super food” liberally thrown around a lot, but these guys are the real deal.


Remember when I told you I have a favorite way of eating every vegetable?  Well, my most favorite way to eat cauliflower is roasted.  Have you done this?  It becomes tender and sweet and my kids can’t keep their hands out of the baking dish.  When was the last time you said that about cauliflower?  When I saw this recipe in the Los Angeles Times food section a few years ago and noticed the roasted cauliflower element, I knew I was in.  It’s an adaptation of a Thomas Keller recipe, one that I would not normally look at  since he’s very cheffy, but it didn’t look complicated.  I wanted to change it a bit and substitute brown rice for white and cut out what looked like unnecessary amounts of fat.  What still baffles me about this recipe is that Mr. Keller calls for 1/2 head of cauliflower and 1 cup of rice to to feed 8-10 people.  I actually upped both to feed half the amount of people.  Are my kids bigger eaters than the people who gather at Ad Hoc?  Mr. Picky eats more Basmati Rice with Roasted Cauliflower than Ad Hoc patrons?  Maybe Mr. Picky ain’t so picky!

All I know is that this has become one of our favorite side dishes.  Yes, go ahead and use whatever rice you’ve got, but if you haven’t tried basmati, let me change your life right now.  It rocks the rice world.  Basmati rice (I like brown) has this lovely fragrance and grassy flavor which you can taste without even adding anything to it, although a little butter and salt never hurt.   As you can see, I made this the other night with Spice-rubbed Wild Salmon.  Since Daughter #2 is still being stubborn about not eating fish and seafood and I’m not making more than one meal for dinner, I tossed some sliced almonds onto her rice and cauliflower and called it a vegetarian entree.  After all, this ain’t no restaurant.

Basmati Rice with Roasted Cauliflower
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 ½ cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2⅔ cups water**
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small head of cauliflower or ¾ large head, cut into bite-size florets, about 6 cups
  • 3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil (or unrefined olive oil)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder* (the original recipe calls for a pinch, but I think it's better with a touch more)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped chives
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Make the rice: In a medium saucepan, add the water and 1 teaspoon sea salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, butter and chili flakes and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook the rice until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. While the rice is cooking, toss the cauliflower with the coconut oil in a large bowl and season with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste. Save the bowl for later.
  4. Place the cauliflower on a stainless steel baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper and roast until tender and golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. You can turn it a couple times for even cooking and coloring.
  5. Place the roasted cauliflower back in the bowl and toss with the curry powder. Season with sea salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Add the cooked rice to the bowl and gently toss. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve.
Suggestions: you can add sliced almonds if you are serving this as a main dish.

*”Spicely Organic” use ½ teaspoon or more, “Simply Organic” use ¼ teaspoon or more

**If you double this recipe, do not double the water. Use just under 5 cups.