Curry chicken salad is a new take on an old favorite but we’re loading it with tons of flavors and textures. The combination of tangy dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, crisp celery, and refreshing cilantro creates a delightful medley of bright and bold flavors.
I love salads, everything from this Burrata Caprese to this Kale & Avocado Salad. When I was thinking back to my favorite chicken salad that my mom made on repeat, I wanted to add a fun twist. Enter: curry chicken salad.
How to Eat this Curry Chicken Salad
Put these into a lettuce cups, regular wraps, in between toasted bread or a bagel, on top of a salad. Really, you can’t go wrong with these! I hope you guys love this recipe, so let’s get into it!
My favorite? A croissant (swoon!). Cut and toast a croissant and add the curry chicken salad to the middle. Enjoy every delicious and decadent bite.
Why You’ll Love this Curry Chicken Salad
Bold and Vibrant Flavors! The generous use of spices in the curry chicken salad creates a burst of bold and vibrant flavors. Spices infuse the dish with aromatic notes and flavor. The combination of these spices create a rich and satisfying meal.
So Much Texture! The inclusion of walnuts, dried cranberries, celery, and cilantro provides a delightful textural contrast to the salad. The walnuts add a crunchy element and nutty flavor, while the dried cranberries contribute a chewy sweetness. The celery adds a refreshing and crisp bite, and cilantro brings a fresh herbal note. The interplay of these textures creates a dynamic combo.
Nutrient-Rich Ingredients. The curry chicken salad is not only delicious but also packed with nutritious ingredients. Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants. Dried cranberries offer vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Celery is low in calories and high in fiber, and it provides vitamins and minerals like vitamin K and potassium. Cilantro is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and it adds a burst of freshness. These ingredients contribute to the overall nutritional value of the dish, making it a wholesome and satisfying choice.
Ingredients for Curry Chicken Salad
Chicken breasts are a popular choice for chicken salad due to their mild flavor and tender texture. They provide a lean source of protein, making the salad filling and satisfying. The chicken acts as a versatile canvas that absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients. Plus, we’re making a chicken salad so we kinda have to start here.
Unsweetened Coconut Cream
Cooking the chicken in coconut cream adds a creamy and moist texture to the chicken salad. It brings a hint of natural sweetness and a tropical undertone. The richness of coconut cream enhances the overall juicy texture of the chicken salad and complements the other flavors.
Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
You can use traditional mayo here but I love using avocado oil mayo! Avocado oil mayonnaise is a healthier alternative to traditional mayonnaise. It adds a creamy consistency to the chicken salad. The avocado oil provides a rich and velvety texture while contributing heart-healthy fats, making the salad both delicious and nutritious.
Dried cranberries introduce a burst of sweetness to balance out the savory and aromatic components of the salad. They add a chewy texture and a tangy flavor, complementing the other ingredients and creating a delightful contrast.
Walnuts offer a satisfying crunch and a distinctive nutty flavor to the chicken salad. They provide a pleasant texture and contribute healthy fats, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. The walnuts also pair well with the other ingredients, enhancing the overall taste experience.
Chopped celery brings a refreshing and crispy texture to the salad. It adds a mild earthy flavor and fun crisp. Celery’s crunchiness helps create a pleasant mouthfeel and provides a refreshing contrast to the creaminess of the dressing.
Cilantro lends a fresh and herbaceous note to the chicken salad. Its bright and fresh flavor adds a vibrant element that complements the spices and other ingredients in the salad.
Curry Powder, Ground Turmeric, Ground Cumin
These spices infuse the chicken salad with a warm and aromatic blend of flavors. Curry powder provides a complex and savory taste, while turmeric adds a vibrant yellow color and a slightly bitter note. Cumin contributes a warm and earthy flavor profile. The combination of these spices creates depth and complexity, elevating the overall taste experience of the salad.
Garlic powder adds a subtle yet distinct garlicky flavor to the chicken salad. It provides depth and complexity without overpowering the other ingredients. Garlic powder enhances the savory profile of the dish and complements the spices and seasonings.
Salt and Ground Pepper
Salt and pepper are essential for seasoning the chicken salad and bringing out the flavors of all the ingredients. They help balance the taste and enhance the overall deliciousness of the dish.
How to Make Curry Chicken Salad
Place the chicken in a baking dish. Pour the can of coconut cream overtop. Bake for 40 minutes and then remove from the oven. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature.
Once the chicken has cooled, place on a cutting board and cut into about 1/2 inch cubes. Alternatively, you can use two forks to shred the chicken.
Place the chicken in a large bowl along with the avocado oil mayonnaise, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, chopped red onion, chopped celery, cilantro, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.
Fold everything together until the chicken is coated in mayonnaise and everything is combined.
Cut the bottom off the lettuce head and peel back the leaves. Try to maintain their cup form. Rinse and dry your lettuce leaves. Scoop the chicken salad into the lettuce cups and serve. If meal prepping or packing these for lunch, keep and pack the chicken salad separately from the lettuce wraps and assemble right before eating.
Variations on this Curry Chicken Salad
Mango Curry Chicken Salad
Add a tropical touch to your curry chicken salad by including diced ripe mangoes. The sweetness of the mangoes pairs wonderfully with the curry flavors. You can also add some chopped mint leaves and toasted coconut flakes for extra freshness and texture.
Mediterranean Curry Chicken Salad
Infuse your chicken salad with Mediterranean flavors by using a blend of curry spices with Greek yogurt instead of coconut cream. Include ingredients like diced cucumbers, Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh oregano. This variation offers a tangy and savory twist on the traditional curry chicken salad.
Green Curry Chicken Salad
Switch things up by using green curry paste as the base for your chicken salad. Combine it with coconut cream, lime juice, and a touch of honey for a sweet and tangy dressing. Add sliced green beans, bell peppers, and fresh cilantro for a vibrant and aromatic salad.
Curry Quinoa Chicken Salad
Replace the traditional chicken salad base with cooked quinoa for a healthier alternative. Mix the quinoa with curry powder, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add diced cooked chicken, chopped vegetables like bell peppers and carrots, and garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted almonds.
How to Store this Curry Chicken Salad
Place the leftover curry chicken salad in an airtight container. Seal the container tightly to keep air out and preserve the flavors. Refrigerate the salad promptly, ideally within two hours of preparation.
Consume the leftover curry chicken salad within 3-4 days of refrigeration. After this period, the quality and taste of the salad may deteriorate, and there is an increased risk of foodborne illness.
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts
- 1 can (13.5 oz) unsweetened coconut cream
- 1 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 stalk celery stalk, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour the can of coconut cream overtop.
- Bake for 40 minutes and then remove from the oven. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature.
- Once the chicken has cooled, place on a cutting board and cut into about small 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes. Alternatively, you can use two forks to shred the chicken.
- Place the chicken in a large bowl along with the avocado oil mayonnaise, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, chopped celery, cilantro, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.
- Fold everything together until the chicken is coated in mayonnaise and everything is combined.
- Cut the bottom off the lettuce head and peel back the leaves. Try to maintain their cup form. Rinse and dry your lettuce leaves.
- Scoop the chicken salad into the lettuce cups and serve. If meal prepping or packing these for lunch, keep and pack the chicken salad separately from the lettuce wraps and assemble right before eating.
Food styling & photography by Dalya Rubin.
- Serving Size: 1/8th the batch
- Calories: 671
- Sugar: 29g
- Sodium: 467mg
- Fat: 46.2g
- Saturated Fat: 14.2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 31.9g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 35.5g
- Cholesterol: 141mg