Saturday, August 1, 2015

Curried Chicken Salad

Summer is the perfect time for lighter foods when it’s hot and we don’t want to turn on the oven. And chicken salads are ideal. They are also easy to prepare.

I’ve been making this salad for several years and I never tire of it because I really like the flavor combination of spicy and sweet. I came across the recipe this morning and am thinking about making it again this weekend since the weather remains hot and muggy where I live. There’s something cooling about this salad even though it has some spice from the chutney and curry. The spice is minimal, though, and is really just there to add flavor, not heat.

The salad's great served on a bed of Boston or Bibb lettuce. You could even use the lettuce leaves to sort of scoop up the salad with.

There is no substitute for the wine. If you leave it out it really does affect the taste, even though it’s only 1/3 of a cup. Trust me, I’ve tried. For the mayo, you can use a dairy-free variety if you’re lactose intolerant. I like Vegenaise from Follow Your Heart. I think it’s one of the best-tasting, healthy, dairy-free and eggless mayos out there. They make a variety of mayos to choose from. I usually get mine at the health food store where you’ll see a larger selection, but I’ve even seen 1-2 varieties at the regular supermarket.

Here’s the recipe.

Curried Chicken Salad

6 chicken breasts (depending on the size, you may need only 4)
1 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise 
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup mango chutney
2-3 Tbsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped celery (finely diced)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup raisins
a little grated fresh ginger

Roast the chicken breasts in a 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes. While those are cooking, puree the mayo through the salt in a food processor until smooth. This will be your sauce. 

Combine the celery through ginger in a bowl. When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-sized chunks. Add the sauce, toss, and chill for a few hours.

When you’re ready to eat the salad, add 1 cup of warm, salted toasted cashews, if you like. Pecans also work nicely.

Enjoy for lunch on a hot day!

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