I have to start this off by telling you I am NOT a fan of Curry! As a matter of fact, when Kaitlyn said she wanted to make this recipe for the blog I fired her on the spot! hahaha. Of course I’m kidding! But I was rather reticent about the whole thing because, I really DON’T like curry, as a rule. But much to my surprise….I really, really LIKED this recipe! The taste of curry was very mild and it was offset by the sweet and tangy pineapple, grapes and apples! As a matter of fact, I think I might have liked this chicken salad better than any I’ve tried before. Another perfect example of the hold adage…..don’t knock it til you try it! Thanks for sharing this with us Kaitlyn!
Kaitlyn writes: One of my favorite things to make in the warm Spring and Summer months is pasta salad packed with fresh fruits and veggies. I’ll usually make a big batch on Sunday or Monday so I can have it on hand for lunch or a quick dinner throughout the week.
A couple of months ago I bought Danielle Walker’s book, Against All Grain (she has a fantastic blog of the same name). My husband and I don’t eat grain free but we’ve experimented with a Paleo diet and I find tons of yummy, healthy recipes from Paleo bloggers. Danielle is definitely one of my favorites!
Anyway…back to pasta salad! One day I was thumbing through her book and saw a recipe for Curried Chicken Salad. I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand but it sounded so good I just had to improvise my own version! I ended up throwing in everything I could find in my pantry or fridge that I thought might work together and turned it into a pasta salad. It came out delicious! It’s sweet and savory with a satisfying crunch from apples and almonds, a little kick from some red onion, and a surprising citrus flavor from some fresh cut pineapple. I’ve now made it multiple times and it has become one of mine and my husband’s favorite meals.
Curry Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1 cup cooked chicken – shredded or cubed
- 6 oz short pasta – cooked
- 2 cups red grapes – halved
- (1) 12 oz can cubed pineapple – drained or 1 cup fresh pineapple
- 2 apples – cubed and tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning
- 1/2 a small red onion – diced
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup cinnamon almonds
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups mayonnaise
- 4-5 tablespoons curry powder
In a large bowl mix together chicken, pasta, grapes, pineapple, apples, onion, coconut and almonds. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and curry powder. Add the mayonnaise/curry mixture to the large bowl and toss with other ingredients.
A few notes about this recipe….because I have a habit of being overly thorough….. ;)
-The measurements above are just guidelines. I generally don’t measure anything and it turns out fine. You might need to play around with how much mayo and curry powder you use to get the creaminess to your liking. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons curry powder for a 1/2 cup of mayo but I found that I like the ratio of 2 tablespoons powder to 1 cup mayo a little better. It’s all just personal preference!
-This recipe is definitely not low fat or low carb but it is “clean” – which is how I generally try to eat. To me that means limiting processed foods while eating whole grains, meat, nuts, fruits and veggies.
-To make meal prep faster throughout the week I like to cook a big batch of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs in my crockpot with some chicken stock. Then I shred it using this method and keep it in my fridge to easily throw into salads, tacos, rice bowls etc. throughout the week.
-I always use 100% whole grain pasta. Lisa Leake at 100 Days of Real Food has a couple of fantastic posts on why you should always choose whole wheat products and what to look for on food labels. Read those here and here. I used 100% whole wheat egg noodles that had just two ingredients – durum whole wheat flour and egg whites. The word “whole” is key in the ingredient list. The package also had the Whole Grains stamp for 100% whole grain. If you don’t eat grains or have celiac disease, like Jillee’s son Kell, just leave out the pasta and add more chicken.
-I had cinnamon almonds leftover from another salad recipe. They are usually full of sugar but you can easily make a healthier version with honey. If you don’t feel like making them, just throw in some chopped almonds and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the salad. You’ll find it adds a really cool flavor dimension!
-I also like to make my own mayonnaise to avoid all the additives in the store bought kind. I’ve found it’s super easy to make in my Blendtec blender with this recipe. If you are watching your fat intake, or don’t like mayonnaise, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt. The whole fat or fat free variety would taste great in this recipe!
-You can make your own curry powder but I usually just buy mine. Check the ingredients to make sure the one you buy doesn’t have added sugar! Here is an easy recipe if you prefer to make it yourself.
-And finally a money saving tip – this recipe can be made very inexpensively if you shop the sales at your local grocery stores! I found many of my ingredients on sale using Deals to Meals. Those of you who read OGT often are probably sick of hearing me talk about Deals to Meals but I just love it so much!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does! Even Jillee liked it and she doesn’t even LIKE curry! (Until now!) ;)
What are your favorite salads to make when the weather warms up?
CURRY CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
- 1 cup Chicken Cooked and either shredded or cubed
- 6 oz Short pasta cooked
- 2 cups Red grapes halved
- 1.5 oz Pineapple cubed
- 2 Apples cubed and tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning
- 1/2 Red onion diced
- 1/4 cup Coconut unsweetened shredded
- 1/4 cup Cinnamon almonds
- 2 cups Mayonnaise
- 4-5 tablespoons Curry powder
- In a large bowl mix together chicken, pasta, grapes, pineapple, apples, onion, coconut and almonds.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and curry powder.
- Add the mayonnaise/curry mixture to the large bowl and toss with other ingredients.