Curry Chicken Salad: A Great Way to Stretch Leftover Roast Chicken
by Jill Boman
I roast a chicken almost every week, mostly because I can get so much mileage out of it. For the first meal, we eat a pretty traditional roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a veggie or salad. But afterward, I debone the carcass, simmer the bones in my crockpot for broth (to freeze for meals later in the week), and then decide what to do with the leftover meat. If I want a heavier meal I’ll make a big casserole like chicken enchiladas (the red enchilada sauce on page 155 from my favorite cookbook is out of this WORLD and calls for chicken broth), but if I’m in the mood for something lighter and fresher I usually opt for curry chicken salad.
I like my chicken salad loaded with crunchy raw veggies—not only does it provide a nice range of textures, colors and flavors, but it also makes a complete and convenient meal that’s perfect for lunches the next day. This chicken salad is seriously a bona fide party in your mouth!
Curry Chicken Salad
*Note: Celery, apples, and raisins (dried grapes) are consistently on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list of conventional produce items most contaminated with pesticides. Be sure to only buy organic when it comes to these items.
- Leftover roast chicken meat, preferably pasture-raised, about 3 cups (I include the skin) cut into bite sized cubes. If you have much more than 3 cups, it freezes beautifully for future meals. (Don't have a local source for pastured meats? Here's a safe online source.)
- 2-3 celery* stalks, chopped
- 1-3 carrots, shredded
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced green or minced red onion
- 1 apple*, cored and cut into dice
- Handful of raisins* (sliced or chopped dried apricots or cranberries would make a nice substitution)
- Big handful finely minced fresh parsley and/or cilantro
- Any other veggie or fruit that sounds good (diced kohlrabi or jicama would be a refreshing, crunchy addition!)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped crispy pecans, cashews, or almonds
- About 1 cup curry mayonnaise (recipe below)
Combine everything in a large bowl. Nuts can be mixed with everything or kept separate to sprinkle on top of each serving to keep them extra crunchy.
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Here's the recipe for the curry mayonnaise…
- 1 raw egg yolk, preferably from pastured hens
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
- 3/4 to 1 cup avocado oil or very mild olive oil
- 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- salt and pepper to taste (Black pepper enhances the absorption of curcumin, the inflammation and cancer fighting substance in turmeric, also responsible for its bright yellow color.)
- Optional: a rounded tablespoon or so full fat yogurt for some extra probiotic
- Place everything in a wide mouth jar or other tall and narrow shaped container. Either add the oil last, or let it sit until the oil rises to the top.
- Place an immersion hand blender into the jar so it rests the bottom. Keeping it on the bottom of the jar, turn the blender on high and hold it there as the egg yolk and other ingredients begin forming an emulsion with the oil. Within about a minute it will be mostly emulsified and thickening. At this point, move the immersion blender up and down to incorporate any oil still at the top.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the first 3 ingredients. Continue whisking while VERY slowly pouring in your avocado oil. Especially at the beginning, the stream of oil should be about the thickness of pencil lead.
- Patiently, continue whisking and pouring in the oil until the mixture thickens.
- Whisk or stir in the curry powder, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and optional yogurt (yogurt and curry just go well together in my opinion—it’s great either way).
- When it tastes really good to you, stir about half of it in with the chicken, veggies, fruit, and herbs. You can decide at this point how creamy you want your salad. Take a bite and add as much curry mayonnaise as you’d like (I usually use the whole batch).
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Note: Here's Kelly's homemade mayo recipe and her method, also check out this post: What to do if your mayo won't set!
Serve curry chicken salad alone, scooped onto half an avocado or on a bed of salad greens, in pita pocket bread or other sandwich bread, or with crackers. Try these pita crackers or one of the sourdough cracker or bread recipes here.
This is a post from my dear friend, Jill, who helps around the blog and has written super helpful posts here in the past: See all of Jill’s posts here, including Homemade Deodorant Powder, 6 Elements of Nutrient Dense Foods, How Real Foodies Care for Their Loved Ones with Cancer, and How to Fight Depression and Anxiety Naturally. Note that there are affiliate links included here to help support the blog, but the cost is the same for you.
About Jill: My husband and I live in Waco, TX, along with our two awesome young adult kids (AND now in Dallas during the week while my husband attends chiropractic college). I have a small business, selling handmade personal and home care products at our farmer’s market and local retail sites. I am also Kelly’s blog assistant. ? I am passionate about real food nutrition, natural health, local food, and I love to cook. Fortunately we have access to lots of local food via Waco’s fantastic year-round farmer’s market, nearby farms, and even a grocery store that sources much of its food locally.