If you have never tried curried chicken salad, you need to drop everything right now. Make a grocery list, head to the store, and whip up this recipe immediately.
Curried chicken salad is a dish that I grew up on at home. Whenever I bite into a mouthful, the spicy curry flavor and the savory chicken dance on my taste buds shooting me right back to memories of school lunches.
I don’t know about you, but there were some special family recipes that I would really look forward to bringing out at the cafeteria table for lunch when I was a child, above all the rest. This was one of them.
My mom would always sandwich the salad in between two slices of bread, but when she was in a particularly good mood and wanted to spoil me, I would open up my lunch bag to find the chicken salad in between two halves of a croissant.
That’s the best way to serve up this recipe, if you ask me. A buttery croissant that’s flaky and soft really highlights the flavors of the salad.
Let’s talk about those flavors for a moment, shall we?
First off, there’s the curry that is infused throughout the yogurt-based chicken salad. It’s savory, with a tiny hint of spice, making the combo a true winner in my book.
Now, I am a firm believer that every recipe can (and should) be adapted to your own tastes. The more times you make it, as you become more comfortable with the method, you may find that you would like more curry powder, or you might like a little less.
I personally think that the curry level in this salad is spot on because it is prevalent, but not overwhelming, so you can taste each and every one of the ingredients in each savory morsel.
The second key ingredient is the red grapes. The burst of sweet, fruity flavor plays off the poultry and other savory ingredients in delicious contrast.
Finally, the celery plays a key role. You need some of that variety and crunch so that the entire dish isn’t only one note in terms of texture. I like to leave my celery a bit bigger, but if you don’t like the full pieces, you can dice them a little finer.
The beauty of this chicken salad is that you can adapt it to make it yours, simply by adding or subtracting to have more or less of the things you like.
You could even swap out the yogurt for mayo, for something a little different. Homemade mayonnaise makes it extra special, or you could even try an aquafaba version for a salad that’s egg-free and dairy-free.
Here’s a pro tip: You can also add some cayenne pepper to the mixture if you like more heat in your meals. Since I’m a heat-seeking fiend, this is something that I love to do.
Less is more, where cayenne is concerned. If you overspice your dish, you can adjust with a bit of extra yogurt.
One more pro tip? Be sure to let the curried chicken salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before you serve it.
The more time you let it rest, the more the flavors of the dish will intensify. That’s why it makes for such a delicious recipe to eat throughout the week for lunches – feel free to make a bigger batch!Print
You won’t be able to get enough of this curried chicken salad, made with grapes, crunchy veggies, and a spiced yogurt sauce.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, grapes, onion, and celery. Stir until well mixed.
- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and olive oil with the lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly, then add to the chicken mixture and fold in the sauce until everything is coated well.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes before serving.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Serve.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Chop the chicken into smaller than bite-sized pieces. This is a fantastic way to use leftover rotisserie chicken, or grilled chicken.
Boneless chicken breasts can also be poached until cooked through in boiling water. Make sure chicken is cooled completely before combining with the other ingredients.
Wash the grapes well in a colander, and remove any squishy ones. Halve grapes and set aside. A seedless variety is definitely preferred here, and you can cut them into quarters if they’re on the large side.
Wash and peel the onion, and chop into a fine dice.
Wash the celery well to remove all grit, and remove the strings. Chop into a fine dice.
Measure all remaining ingredients.
Step 2 – Combine Main Ingredients
Add the chicken, grapes, onion, and celery to a large bowl.
Stir well, and set aside.
Step 3 – Make Sauce
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and olive oil with the lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
Step 4 – Combine
Add the sauce to the chicken mixture and fold it in with a large spatula, making sure all of the ingredients are coated well.
Step 5 – Chill Before Serving
Place bowl in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
You can also make this chicken salad the day before you’re ready to eat it. Simply make sure you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you are chilling it longer than 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper before serving, if desired.
Combine Savory and Sweet Flavors for a Guaranteed Win
The contrasting sweet and savory flavors are a major highlight of this recipe, and the way they play against each other in this protein-rich salad is a winning combination.
The combination of curry, chicken, and sweet red grapes are the things that pop out in the recipe. It makes the entire dish full of a variety of texture and flavors so you are never bored no matter how many days you are eating it in a row.
This especially applies if you let this salad sit for an ample amount of time before serving it. Like I mentioned before, this is a fantastic salad to serve for lunches throughout the week, whether it’s for the kiddos or even the adults in the family.
Serve the salad up in between two slices of bread for a fantastic sandwich. You can even serve it up on a croissant for extra buttery flavor and pillowy softness in every bite.
If you are hoping to be a little healthier with your choices, you can serve this salad up in butter lettuce leaves for a fantastic lettuce cup dish.
When you try the recipe, tell us what you think in the comments below and give it a star rating while you’re at it. Did you make any adjustments that you love and just have to share? We love hearing from you!
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Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on September 1st, 2010. Last updated: June 1, 2018 at 12:53 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Bassett
Meghan Bassett is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.