Easy Curry Chicken Salad (2024)

Years ago while a college student on a budget at Montana State University-Bozeman I stumbled upon the most glorious sandwich I’d ever had. It was from a sandwich shop just down the street from me called the Pickle Barrel. I didn’t know it at the time but the curried chicken salad sub that I’d enjoyed so many times from this tiny and cramped establishment with it’s sloped and creaky wooden floor and a giant wooden barrel of self-serve pickles in the corner would become the inspiration for this easy recipe more than 20 years later. I hope you love this high-protein lunch recipe as much as I do!

What Goes In It

  • Cooked chicken
  • Mayonnaise
  • Curry powder
  • Lime juice
  • Apple
  • Celery
  • Raisins
  • Red onion
  • Cashews
  • Cilantro

Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.

Easy Curry Chicken Salad (2)

Ingredient Highlight: Curry Powder

Curry powder is a popular spice mix originating from India. It’s made by combining turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and black pepper and some blends also contain fenugreek, paprika, cinnamon and/or cardamom. The flavor profile of curry powder is earthy and pungent and more on the spicy side compared to its cousin garam masala which is more warming and aromatic. Both are delicious and are sometimes used interchangeably but for this recipe we recommend curry powder because the little kick of spice goes so well with the natural sweetness of the apples and raisins.

Another benefit of curry powder is that it contains turmeric which gives curry powder its yellow color. Turmeric contains curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to have benefits to brain and overall body health. Some of the benefits include reduced inflammation, increased neutralization of free radicals, increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays a role in memory and learning, reduced risk of heart disease by way of reduced inflammation and oxidation, and pain relief in those experiencing osteoarthritis. The curry powder found in this easy chicken salad is a delicious way to reap the benefits of turmeric and the curcumin it contains.

Curry powder is what gives satisfying curries their vibrant yellow hue and warm, spicy flavor and it can be used in everything from hearty dishes featuring chicken and coconut milk to egg salads to give them a healthful boost.

Easy Curry Chicken Salad (3)

Step-by-Step Recipe

You can reduce theprep timefor this recipe or any otherchicken saladby using leftovercooked chickenor arotisserie chicken. If you don’t have either on hand, try thisstovetop method for perfectlycookedchickenbreasts.

  1. Start by combining the mayonnaise, curry powder, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the diced chicken, apple, celery, and onions.
  3. Fold until well combined.
  4. Taste and adjust the amount of curry powder and salt to your liking.
  5. Serve as desired.See below for serving suggestions.

For the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition information, listing kcals, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, fiber, sugar, sodium, total fat, and more per serving.

What Others Are Saying ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oh my gosh, this salad is so yummylicious 😋 My husband and I love it.

– Reese

Absolutely a brilliant recipe. We couldn’t stop eating it

– Denise C.

This was so good! The only variation I made from the recipe was using lemon juice instead of lime, because that’s what I had on hand. Will definitely be making this a regular in our lunch recipe rotation. Thanks for the recipe!

– Megan B.

I made this for a workout competition and it was a huge hit! I doubled the batch and had leftovers! I made wraps and paninis with it! I was asked to share the recipe by everyone!

Becca J.

Make It Egg-Free

Because I’m allergic to eggs, I use a plant-based or vegan mayo in place of the regular mayonnaise called for in the recipe. This keeps the recipe dairy-free but sour cream or yogurt can also be used for an egg-free option.

Make It Lower-Fat

If you’re looking to shave a few grams of fat to make this delicious recipe more macro-friendly you can replace ½ of the mayo with low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Keeping some of the mayo gives the salad a nice creamy texture with a satisfying mouthfeel. Fat also adds flavor and is essential for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.

Alternatively, you can replace all of the mayo with plain whole milk Greek yogurt. This gives the salad a bit of tang so you may want to adjust the amount of curry powder and salt to your liking. Using yogurt is a great way to add calcium to the diet as well.

Make It Nut-Free

To make this dish nut-free simply swap the cashews for roasted and salted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

How To Store + How Long It Keeps

This is one of my favorite make-ahead recipes because it stores so well and the flavors intensify with time. If you’re prepping ahead of time for grab-and-go lunches or you happen to have leftovers, store the chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing it because the texture just won’t be the same after it has thawed.

How To Serve This Salad

The original sandwich that inspired this recipe was served on a freshly baked sub roll and topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced onions and tomatoes and served with a homemade dill pickle on the side. It was basically perfect but it’s also amazing served these ways:

  • As a sandwich – Top your favorite bread with a scoop of the chicken salad and top with your favorite sandwich fixings. Some of my favorites include sprouts or microgreens, leafy lettuce spring mix, extra cilantro, or bell pepper slices. A buttery croissant is also a great option and would be perfect for a luncheon or brunch with friends.
  • In a lettuce wrap – A light and crisp lettuce wrap is a delightful way to enjoy this chicken salad. Wrapping up a hefty spoonful of curry chicken in each lettuce wrap gives it an easy-to-grab feel and is perfect for packed lunches. Using a lettuce wrap makes this a tasty low-carb option as well.
  • Wrapped in a tortilla or stuffed into a pita – Grab your favorite tortilla and roll up a hearty spoonful of curry chicken salad for a splendid meal. For best results, I recommend warming your tortilla in a skillet over medium heat for 15-20 seconds on each side. This makes them easier to roll and improves their flavor. Pita breads can also be warmed in a skillet this way to make them soft and easier to split open and fill.
  • Over a bed of greens – Choose your favorite mixed greens, add to a large bowl, and top with curry chicken salad. Sliced tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes and chopped cucumbers help round out the meal while also adding dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Served on top of cucumber slices and/or crackers – A lighter version of serving and enjoying this chicken salad is to top crisp cucumber rounds and/or crackers of your choice. Mini bell peppers or thick slices of bell peppers also make a great vehicle for getting this insanely flavorful chicken salad into your mouth.

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Easy Curry Chicken Salad (7)

Recipe

5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Star4.9 from 84 reviews

Curry Chicken Salad

A flavorful twist on the classic chicken salad. You’ll love the warmth and spice of the curry powder and the mouth-pleasing texture of the apples, raisins, and crunchy cashews.

Prep: 15 minsTotal: 15 mins

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Print Recipe

Servings: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 12 teaspoons curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (½ medium lime)
  • Fine salt
  • 2 cups cooled cooked chicken, diced
  • ½ medium apple with peel, diced
  • 1 celery rib, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup roasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 24 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl mix together the mayonnaise, curry powder, lime juice, and salt. Taste and adjust curry powder and salt to your liking.

  2. Add the cooked chicken, diced apple, celery, and onions to the mayo mixtures and stir until well combined.

  3. Fold in the raisins, cashews, and cilantro.

  4. Serve in a lettuce wrap, on a bed of greens or in a tortilla wrap or between slices of your favorite bread.

  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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Notes

  • If red onions are too ‘hot’ for you, try using a combination of the white and green parts of 1-2 green onions.
  • If you don’t care for raisins you can substitute golden raisins, currants or even dried cranberries or sliced red grapes.
  • For egg-free, use a vegan or plant-based mayonnaise.
  • For a lower fat option, substitute ½ of the mayo with plain Greek yogurt.
  • Use spicy or Madras-style curry powder if you prefer a little more heat.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: Heaping ¾ cup (without additional accompaniments)
  • Calories: 378
  • Fat: 27g
  • (Sat Fat: 4g)
  • Sodium: 222mg
  • Carbohydrate: 12g
  • (Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 7g)
  • Protein: 23g

Dietary

Dairy-FreeGluten-freeGrain-FreePaleoWhole30

© The Real Food Dietitians

Recipe By: The Real Food Dietitians

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Nourished Recipes so credit is given where credit is due. Thank you!

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.

Easy Curry Chicken Salad (2024)
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