Tropical Turmeric Chicken Salad
I have a secret to admit. I'm obsessed with Turmeric. Like, I dream about ways to put it in any and every recipe I'm coming up with..I seriously wish I could! The ONE thing stopping me is that it turns everything this awesome, vibrant yellow that looks great, but might tend to get old fast if every single meal I post is bright yellow. Like bright yellow spaghetti, or bright yellow chocolate ice cream (hmmm...turmeric ice cream could seriously be a thing...). One thing I couldn't resist adding it to was chicken salad. As much as I love Turmeric, during pregnancy (both of mine, actually) I have an insatiable need to consume large vats of chicken salad. Specifically, if curry spice is involved. The more curry involved, the better actually. Our HEB Central Market makes this pre-made Curried Chicken Salad that I would spend our entire monthly grocery budget on if I could. Cost restraint is one thing, but also, I'm not 100% sure what they put in that stuff, so it's probably not the healthiest thing to consume in huge quantities...oops (maybe that's why my son is such a nut...things to ponder for another day..). My other pre-requisites for chicken salad is that it has to have a decent crunch to it, and it MUST have some sort of sweet to it--like apples, or grapes, or in this case--PINEAPPLE. Because seriously, who doesn't love pineapple?
So when I was thinking about curry, automatically my mind went to how to use Turmeric instead. They both have a beautiful, golden hue, but each has their own distinct flavor. Turmeric goes well with many other spices, but in this recipe I chose to pair it with some ground ginger and I think it just works. The beauty of chicken salad is that it isn't an exact science. It's not like baking where being one teaspoon off can ruin all your hard work. It isn't even like some other meals you make, where flavor balance is crucial. What I love is that really all of the ingredients and amounts I have listed are "suggestions" in that you can put more or less of any one item depending on what you love. For me, I'd put a ton of pineapple and red and green onion in because I just love sweet and spicy/crunch combos. I'd also LOAD up on those slivered almonds because they're so good and good for you.
Because this is such a go-with-the-flow recipe, I don't have many suggestions to add before starting, but I'll share with you some tips that might help going into it. #1) Just like with my Chicken Enchilada Verde Bake, you'll need a large amount of pre-cooked and diced up chicken for this recipe. And like I mentioned in my last post, the easiest way to do this IMO is using the Instant Pot (found here), to cook a whole chicken in about 30 minutes. I just let mine cool over night in the fridge, still in the bowl of the Instant Pot, and I get perfect, fall off the bone chicken with some extra tasty broth to boot! It's seriously a win-win. For my experience a 4-5 lb chicken gets me approximately 4-5 cups of meat, diced. You can also use a rotisserie chicken to save time, canned chicken, or your own version of cooked chicken breasts or thighs to get the meat you need. #2) If you aren't noticing a trend here, I LOVE MAYO. Gimme all the mayo on everything. I love it mostly because its so versatile. By adding a few spices you can turn it into about a million different things! In this recipe, again, I used the mayo base recipe made famous by Mel at Well Fed, and then added my own mix of spices and ingredients to get it perfect. And, as always, you're welcome to use a paleo-friendly pre-made version (example here), or do the best you can with the store bought versions you find. #3) I personally think that chicken salad is best served cold, so my suggestion to you is to let this mix chill in the fridge for an hour or so before consuming. It gives it a little bit of time for all the flavors to meld and come together! And lastly, #4) I enjoy my chicken salad over a bed of greens, or wrapped up in some velvety butter lettuce wraps. OR when I'm feeling really desperate and I just need my chicken salad right MEOW, I'll stand in front of the fridge with the door open, scooping it out of the bowl with some plantain or organic corn chips and I don't even give a care.
So do with this magical stuff what you will, you can't go wrong either way!
4-5 cups of shredded and diced chicken (this can be meat from one whole chicken, rotisserie chicken, or canned)
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup (heaping) of shredded carrots
1 cup of diced pineapple (canned or fresh)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 green onions, diced
1 1/2 cups Turmeric Mayo (see base recipe here but you will need the following ingredients)
1 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsps ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp honey
- In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients except mayo.
- To prepare mayo, see base recipe here.
- Once mayo base is prepared, add in honey, turmeric and ginger and blend in food processor or with immersion blender until mixed well.
- Add mayo to chicken and vegetables and mix well.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. ENJOY!