Paleo/Keto
An overhead shot of a bowl of madras chicken salad with butter lettuce and limes.

This creamy and flavorful Madras Curried Chicken Salad recipe is a great way to put a twist on a traditional chicken salad!

An overhead shot of a bowl of Madras chicken salad with lime butter lettuce.

An Indian version of chicken salad!

Are you making a chicken salad? Not you dare prepare a bland version topped with simple mayonnaise. Instead, top it with smoky, aromatic Madras curry powder, crisp apples, fresh herbs and toasted almonds. With just a few pantry items, you can radically transform a mundane dish into an elegant, flavorful meal.

This South Asian inspired Madras Chicken Salad recipe is a classic fan favorite our first cookbook! When I've had a long day, I throw this salad together and serve it on a giant bed of organic lettuce. Organizing a party? Pour it into cucumber cups or onto endive stems to create a fantasy Appetizers. No one will imagine how little time it took!

Curried chicken salad in a bowl with lime and butter lettuce.Curried chicken salad in a bowl with lime and butter lettuce.

Which Chicken Should You Use for Chicken Salad?

If you have some leftover roast chicken, your main ingredient is ready. These days, I like to cook whole chicken in the air fryer and use the leftovers for this curried chicken salad recipe because it's so quick, delicious, and easy.

Of course, if you assistantIf you don't have cooked chicken on hand and decide to buy a rotisserie chicken instead, don't worry, I won't tell anyone. Confession: In a heartbeat, I'll reach for Whole Foods Market's Organic Classic, Salt & Pepper or Perfectly Plain Rotisserie Chickens (priority in that order). These birds are minimally seasoned (if at all); in fact, according to my friends at Whole Foods, they are roasted at the top of a vertical rotisserie oven so that non-paleo seasonings on the birds at the bottom of the oven can't drip onto them. (However, a word of caution for allergy sufferers: Since the birds are cooked in the same oven, contamination from wheat and soy is still possible.)

So grab your cooked chicken, paleo mayo, and the rest of the ingredients and let's get it done!

Ingredients for chicken salad

  • Cooked chicken breast or thighs: See above for my recommendations on cooked chicken.
  • Paleo mayonnaise: The main ingredient for the creamy dressing is mayonnaise, so use a tasty one! If you don't feel like making it yourself, you can buy a paleo-like one Primary cuisine mayonnaise. If you hate mayonnaise and tolerate dairy, you can replace the Greek yogurt with extra protein.
  • Madras Indian Curry Powder: Since the two main ingredients for salad dressing are mayonnaise and curry powder, your choice of curry mix makes a difference. I like to use Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder the best because the spice blend is perfect, in my humble opinion.
  • Small apple: I like to use Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp apples (peeled, cored, and diced) to add a touch of sweetness to chicken salad. If you prefer, you can also substitute grapes or golden raisins. If you want to leave out the fruit you can add some celery to make it crunchy.
  • Lime juice: Fresh lime juice adds a touch of acidity to the curried chicken salad. Feel free to substitute fresh lemon juice.
  • Fresh coriander (or fresh coriander): Yes, I know some of you hate the taste of cilantro. In that case, you can use Italian parsley or leave it out.
  • Green onions
  • Toasted almond flakes: For crunchiness and nuttiness! Feel free to substitute walnuts or cashews if you prefer.
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to make curry chicken salad

First prepare the curry mayonnaise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Madras curry, salt and pepper to taste.

A bowl of curry mayonnaise for a curry chicken salad recipe.A bowl of curry mayonnaise for a curry chicken salad recipe.

Yes, folks, whenever possible, it's important to taste your food so you can adjust the seasoning as needed.

Someone blends the curry mayonnaise.Someone blends the curry mayonnaise.

In a separate bowl, toss the apple pieces with the lime juice. This will ensure that your apples don't oxidize into brown, spotty cubes, and the acid also adds a nice kick to the salad. Shred the chicken by hand and toss it into the bowl with the acidified apples.

Someone adds chopped cooked chicken to a bowl with diced apples.Someone adds chopped cooked chicken to a bowl with diced apples.

Add the coriander, shallot…

Cilantro and scallions are added to a bowl of chicken and apples.Cilantro and scallions are added to a bowl of chicken and apples.

…and curry mayonnaise.

Someone mixes together the ingredients for the curried chicken salad.Someone mixes together the ingredients for the curried chicken salad.

Mix well.

The ingredients for the chicken curry salad are mixed in a bowl.The ingredients for the chicken curry salad are mixed in a bowl.

Put it on your plate! (I like to put it on a bed of lettuce leaves because I like it that way.)

Someone puts a spoonful of curried chicken salad in a bowl with butter lettuce leaves.Someone puts a spoonful of curried chicken salad in a bowl with butter lettuce leaves.

Complete with toasted almond flakes.

Someone sprinkles toasted almonds on a bowl of Madras chicken curry salad.Someone sprinkles toasted almonds on a bowl of Madras chicken curry salad.

Done! How easy was it? If desired, you can serve with lime wedges for an added twist!

Someone holding a bowl of Madras chicken curry salad.Someone holding a bowl of Madras chicken curry salad.

How do you serve chicken salad?

You can eat the curried chicken salad as is on a bed of lettuce leaves or sandwiched in lettuce wraps. Not trying to eat paleo? Serve the chicken salad with crackers or as a sandwich, tucked into a croissant.

How do you save leftovers?

Leftover curried chicken salad can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed airtight container for up to four days. Don't freeze the salad because the dressing will be too watery when thawed.

More chicken salad recipes


Looking for more recipe ideas? Go to my recipe index. You'll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017) and Nom Nom Paleo: Let's Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


EASY TO PRINT RECIPE CARD

  • First prepare the curry mayonnaise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste. Yes, folks, whenever possible, it's important to taste your food so you can adjust the seasoning as needed.

  • In a separate bowl, toss the apple pieces with the lime juice. This will ensure that your apples don't oxidize into brown, spotty cubes, and the acid also adds a nice kick to the salad.

  • Shred the chicken by hand and toss it into the bowl with the acidified apples. Add the coriander, shallots and mayonnaise to the curry and mix well.

  • Top with toasted almond flakes and serve. The salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Leftover curried chicken salad can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed airtight container for up to four days. Don't freeze the salad because the dressing will be too watery when thawed.

Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 9G | Protein: 37G | Fat: 28G | Fiber: 2G

Nutrition information is calculated automatically, so should only be used as an approximation.

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