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Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted PecansI love chicken salad.  And I imagine you are pretty sick and tired of hearing about what The Goddess loves, as it seems to be everything, doesn’t it?  What can I say?  She’s an open-minded eater and a culinary adventurer.  Damn, that sounds much better than reality, because she’s pretty much willing to try anything at least once.  But, chicken salad is a never-to-be-passed-up dish, and this is a fantastic combination.   Just as an aside, leftover Thanksgiving turkey is delicious here, too….I like curry.  I like it a lot.  But, it can overpower delicate things, like chicken breasts.  When it comes to curry powder, I feel less, is more.  Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way, you can always add, but removal is way more complicated, usually an impossible option.  You won’t actually taste the curry flavor in this version.  It’s there, enough to add complexity to the flavor profile, but it doesn’t obliterate the other flavors.

Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted PecansI used whole, dried cranberries and cherries and diced, dried mandarin oranges.  I always use the cranberries.  But, I usually add about 1/2 of other dried fruits.  A good combination I use frequently for this, are diced, dried apricots and dates.  Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted PecansI’ve also taken to grating my onion.  I like it better.  The onion just sort of becomes one with the salad.  But, you may finely dice the onion or use sliced scallions.  Also, I diced, rather than shredded the chicken, and I used both a chicken breast and some leftover turkey breast…perfect way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey????

Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted PecansSo I pretty much toss everything but the cilantro and toasted nuts (and please do toast the nuts and don’t omit them!) into a bowl.  Sometimes, when I’m feeling organized, which isn’t often, I mix the dressing in the bottom of the bowl.  Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted PecansOther times, like today, I put the salad ingredients into the bowl, then drop all the dressing ingredients on top and stir until thorough combined.  I don’t add the cilantro or nuts until I’m ready to serve the chicken salad.  This is very good, just scooped on top of some lettuce.  Or stuff some into a pita or just on good bread.

I decided I was feeling “wrapped”.  So I put some into a flour tortilla, with toasted pecans strewn over and some “branches” of cilantro (I can never get enough!) on top of the salad.  Then roll it up and enjoy.  I know I did!

This is a spectacular way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  A few slices of mango and/or avocado are a wonderful addition.

Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted Pecans

  • Servings: Makes about 4 cups
  • Difficulty: Simplicity Itself
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  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s Light®)
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt or sour cream (or to taste)
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules
  • Pinch each ground cumin and coriander
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • SALAD:
  • 3 cups diced or shredded, cooked chicken or turkey (either white or dark meat)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery (about 1 rib)
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated on a medium grater
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dried fruit, diced or whole (see NOTE)
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs or leaves (optional, but better with than without)
  • Coarsely chopped toasted pecans, cashews or peanuts
  • Smoked sweet paprika, for service

Get out a good-sized bowl; put the dressing ingredients into the bowl.  Stir/whisk until completely combined.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro and toasted nut.  Stir to combine; taste for salt…you probably won’t taste the curry, and that’s good.  As this sits in the fridge, that flavor may develop.  I make this the day before I’m planning on serving it, if possible.

When you’re ready to serve, however you intend to serve it, make certain to add some cilantro and toasted nuts to each serving.  You may sprinkle with the smoked paprika, which is both pretty and delicious.  Enjoy on its own, in a sandwich or a wrap.  Will keep in the fridge for several days.

NOTE:  I used a combination of dried cranberries and cherries, and diced dried mandarin oranges (from Trader Joe’s™).  I always use some or all cranberries, but dried apricots and dates are good together, as well.  Make certain to use some sort of nut, but absolutely toast them first.  Also, this is a stellar way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Hint-of-Curry Chicken Salad with Cilantro and Toasted Pecans Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018.  All rights reserved.