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Curry Chicken-Salad Salad
In the years since I started eating paleo, I’ve learned that paleo-friendly food that’s worth eating can be found in some surprising places. For example, everyone—and I mean everyone— told us when we moved to Vermont, “Go to the café at King Arthur Flour! It’s so good! You have to try it.” But I was skeptical.
What could I possibly eat at a shrine to bread and cookies?
Shows you what I know! In addition to the expected sandwiches, cakes, and cookies, the menu also included homemade gluten-free, dairy-free soups and a handful of vibrant salads with lots of protein options. My favorite was the Curry Chicken Salad, and I reverse-engineered a home version so I could eat it whenever I wanted. That’s especially helpful now that I live in Prague and the King Arthur Flour Café is about 3900 miles away from me, instead of a 10-minute car ride.
Don’t be put off by what looks like a long ingredients list! It’s mostly spices, salad fixings, and ingredients you need to make the homemade mayo. This recipe is dead simple; it’s just a bunch of components, but that’s what makes salads taste good! Gather all the ingredients on your table, then follow my cooking instructions—you’ll have the whole shebang ready to eat in under 45 minutes. And if you prep some of the components during your Weekly Cookup (see instructions below), you’ll be eating even faster than that!
NOTE: You may replace the homemade mayo with a paleo-friendly commercial brand made with avocado oil like Primal Kitchen or Chosen Foods. But I prefer the texture of homemade, and it takes about one minute to make. But you do you!
Paleo Curry Chicken-Salad Salad
Serves 2-4 | Total time: 40–45 minutes | Whole30 compliant
3 cloves garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4–6 ounces each)
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 large egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1⁄4 cups light-tasting olive or avocado oil
1⁄2 teaspoon mustard powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon powdered ginger
Fruits & Nuts:
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Granny Smith apple
1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 stalks celery
1⁄3 cup golden raisins
2 large carrots
1 head Boston or butter lettuce
1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cook the chicken. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and place them in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, water, bay leaf, salt, and peppercorns. Cover and simmer on low, 15–20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the hot water while you prep the salad.
Make the mayo. Place all the mayo ingredients in a pint-size Mason jar. Insert the stick blender and whirl until it’s emulsified.
Make the dressing. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and place in a small, microwave safe bowl. Add the ghee, curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and ginger; microwave on 80 percent power until the oil is hot, about 20 seconds. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together 1⁄3 cup of the homemade mayo, the juice of the 1⁄2 lime, and the curry oil until smooth.
Prep the fruit and nuts. Place the almonds and coconut in a dry, nonstick skillet and toast them over medium-high heat until golden, 3–4 minutes; transfer to a large mixing bowl. Peel and dice the apple, chop the cilantro, slice the celery and scallions; add them all to the mixing bowl. Add the raisins and toss with two wooden spoons to mix.
Finish the chicken. Remove the chicken from the hot water and place it in a shallow bowl in the freezer until it’s cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into 1⁄2-inch cubes and add them to the bowl with the nuts and raisins. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
Make the salad bed. Wash the carrots and use a vegetable peeler to cut them into ribbons; place in a large mixing bowl. Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl, along with the spinach. Add the juice of the 1⁄2 lime, olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss well.
To serve, place salad greens on serving plates and top with chicken salad.
You Know How You Could Do That?
Serve vinegary cornichons on the side. Replace the raisins with grapes, pineapple chunks, or diced mango.
Cook the chicken, make the dressing, toast the nuts and coconut, and cut up the raw veggies; store everything in separate airtight containers in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, toss the chicken with the curry dressing and prepare the salad bed.