Chicken salad seems like a very old-school dish to me. Maybe because chicken salads were common when I was a kid. Not common – like bologna or those weird pressed meats that came in the hermetically sealed packages in the bacon aisle. But common in a classic sort of way. I like that. This curried rotisserie chicken salad has its roots in the classic preparation. It’s simple but with a few twists.
Instead of a traditional chicken salad, this one pops with really big flavors. Like curry. I used a hot curry, but you can opt for a milder or even sweet curry if you prefer. To make assembling even easier, use a leftover rotisserie chicken or just roast a few chicken breasts and and then shred the meat for the salad.
A good chicken salad should have finely diced onions and celery, not big chunks, but a small enough cut that all you notice is a little flavor and crunch. Diced apple and red bell pepper (cut the same size as the celery and onion) and golden raisins add sweet little nuggets that make this chicken salad infinitely more interesting.
To make it friendlier for bathing suit season, I swapped out most of the mayonnaise for nonfat greek yogurt. (Hey, I can use all the help I can get.) The dressing is 3 parts yogurt to 1 part mayonnaise, combined with honey, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper. It makes a creamy, luscious binder to the chicken and vegetables.
You might also enjoy a little extra crunch in the form of nuts. I used salted and roasted peanuts, but to be honest, you can use any type of nuts you have on hand. It would be delicious with chopped cashews or almonds — and here’s a dirty little secret…. You know those big brazil nuts that make up at least half of those Mixed Nut combos? Nobody eats those nuts, right?
Well, if you chop them up in the salad and don’t tell a soul — they’ll think you’ve added macadamias. I’ve had so many people go ga-ga because they thought I’d splurged on macadamias. You won’t say anything, right? Wink!
Anyway, this chicken salad is ready in about 25 minutes (less if you’re a fast chopper!) and it keeps for several days in the fridge, so brown-bagging at 7:30 a.m. just got a whole lot easier.
Curried Rotisserie Chicken Salad
A quick, easy and delicious way to use up that leftover rotisserie chicken!
For the Dressing
- 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 5 teaspoons curry powder (can use sweet, hot or madras)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- dash black pepper
For Chicken Salad
- 3 cups rotisserie chicken meat shredded
- 1/2 red bell pepper diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
- 4 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup golden raisins (can use regular raisins)
- 1 apple peeled, seeded and finely diced
- 1/3 cup roasted, salted peanuts
- 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the dressing and stir until well combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the salad and and toss to combine. Add about half of the dressing mixture and fold it into the salad. Add more dressing as needed. It should be moist, but not soupy.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Great on sandwiches, tucked into a pita pocket or a bed of lettuce.
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