When warmer weather arrives, I love making all the salads – green salad, pasta salad, potato salad, and chicken salad. This Crunchy Curry Chicken Salad is full of texture and amazing flavor, perfect for meal prep and lazy nights on the patio.
Curry powder is supposedly a Western invention, instead of an authentic spice to India. It is actually a combination of a bunch of different spices, and some curry powders are different from others. It can range from five ingredients to even more than 10, but most have turmeric as a component. Most are a combination of some of the following: turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, dry mustard, black pepper, fenugreek, cardamom, cayenne powder, onion, red pepper, and paprika (and more).
I used a bottled spice from the grocery store, and mine combined turmeric, fenugreek, onion, coriander, and red pepper. It gave this chicken salad an amazing flavor, and while it’s hard to describe it, I’m pretty sure you’ll love the flavor.
Ingredients needed for Crunchy Curry Chicken Salad:
This salad is pretty close to the classic chicken salad, but contains curry powder, which is what makes this original and so flavorful. Trust me!
For the salad:
- Chicken – I used four chicken breasts, and butterflied and seasoned them before baking.
- Seasonings – To taste, season your chicken with curry powder, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. (I used plenty of curry powder, and massaged it into the chicken before baking.)
- Olive Oil – Drizzle on just a bit of olive oil before baking.
- Celery – Dice up your celery for that crunch factor.
- Onion – I used green onion for this chicken salad, but red onion would also be good.
- Grapes – The red grapes in this salad are key!
- Nuts – I used pecans and toasted them in a skillet.
For the dressing:
- Mayo – I always use a lighter mayo with olive oil added. It’s my favorite version.
- Yogurt – Use a full-fat plain Greek yogurt. This mixes well with mayo.
- Lemon – One large lemon squeezed, please!
- Curry Powder – You’ll need one tablespoon of curry powder in the dressing.
- S&P – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
How to make (the best) Curry Chicken Salad:
- Bake the chicken. Butterfly the chicken breasts, and place them on a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper. Season well with curry powder, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used plenty of seasoning, especially the curry powder, to enhance the flavors of this chicken salad. Bake on 275 degrees for approximately one hour, or until a digital thermometer reads 165 degrees.
- Make the dressing. Meanwhile prepare the dressing by combining the mayo, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well, and keep cold in the refrigerator.
- Prepare salad ingredients. When chicken is cooked and cooled, shred with either two forks or use a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. (The mixer method works great!) Then place shredded chicken in a large bowl, along with the celery, onion, grapes, and toasted pecans.
- Combine. Pour salad dressing over top the salad ingredients and mix well. Store in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving, for best results.
Variations to this recipe:
- Other alternatives for the chicken: Instead of baking the chicken, you could grill it, poach it, or take a short-cut with a rotisserie chicken. I tend to prefer cooking my own, because adding the curry powder to raw chicken will enhance the flavors.
- The dressing: You could use all mayo or all Greek yogurt for the dressing, or just a different ratio between the two. I personally like the 50/50 combo.
- The crunch: Instead of pecans, you could use another nut, like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc. Instead of grapes, try raisins – regular, yellow, or craisins. Use red onion instead of green, or another crunchy veg.
Crunchy Curry Chicken Salad
For the salad:
- 5-6 cups shredded chicken breast – or four chicken breasts, butterflied
- curry powder – to taste for baking (I used plenty, and massaged it into the chicken.)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups celery – diced
- 1/2 cup green onion – diced
- 1 1/2 cups red grapes – sliced in half
- 1 cup pecans – chopped and toasted
For the dressing:
- 3/4 cup lighter mayonnaise – I use one with olive oil
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt – full fat
- 1 large lemon – freshly squeezed
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Butterfly chicken breasts. Season with curry powder, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake chicken until instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees, approximately one hour. Remove to cool.
- Shred chicken. I like to use my standing mixer for this, and I use my paddle attachment. Place shredded chicken in large mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients – the celery, green onion, grapes, and pecans.
Prepare the dressing:
- In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and mix well.
- Refrigerate at least two hours before serving for best results. The flavors will absorb into the chicken breasts.