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5 Sep

Curried Chicken Salad

Thanks to a generous forum member, curried chicken salad is now an official Primal recipe! And a delicious one, to boot. It’s the perfect combination of crunch and flavor, using nuts, celery, and a bit of chopped apple for slight sweetness. It’s also a great recipe for the traditional bun-substitute: wrapped in a giant, fresh lettuce leaf.

When I tried this recipe, I found homemade mayonnaise to be best, since even high-quality brands of mayo (even the kind that use Extra Virgin Olive Oil) often still include preservatives, thickeners, and other unpronounceable junk. Try the mayo recipe below or, if you have leftovers, the coconut chive mayo recipe from yesterday’s post would also work nicely. Mustard can also substitute, instead, if you prefer the spice, don’t have time to use the blender, or simply aren’t a fan of mayo.

Give this recipe a try this Labor Day weekend. You, your friends and family (whether Primal or not) won’t be disappointed.

Homemade Mayonnaise

(adapted from Marian Burros recipe from Pure and Simple)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard


Blend egg, mustard, pepper and 1/4 cup oil in blender until smooth. Add the rest of the oil and blend again until well mixed. After blending, take off lid and add lemon juice, mixing well with a spatula. Put lid back on and blend again until mixed. Pour into bowl or Mason jar and refrigerate.

The mixture will not be as thick as the chemically produced store-bought brand, but it will mix nicely with the chicken, and the meat will soak up some of the flavors.

Curried Chicken Salad


  • 1 pound organic, boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, sliced lengthwise then chopped
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3-4 tablespoons blender homemade Mayonnaise (more if needed)
  • Curry powder (lots!)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

Large fresh leaves of Bibb or other lettuce



Slice uncooked chicken breast into long, thin strips, then cut down into 1-inch cubes. Add to skillet with a little bit of water, and cook until just tender and white all the way through. When done, drain and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, curry powder, and salt and pepper, adding curry until it reaches your heat level of satisfaction.

In a separate bowl, toss chicken with nuts, celery and apple. Finally, add chicken to wet ingredients and stir it all together.  Spoon into lettuce leaves, wrap up, and enjoy.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. This sounds amazing! Totally having it this weekend.

    Gina wrote on September 5th, 2009
  2. A deli near where I live used to make a version of this that was so good, people would drive from miles around just to buy it. I called for slivered almonds instead of walnuts and halved green grapes instead of apples. Fantastic and totally primal! Thanks for the post!

    Paul wrote on September 5th, 2009
  3. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I just made this and it was delicious!
    I think it’ll taste even better after sitting in the fridge for a while, so I can’t wait to have a second portion tomorrow :).
    I felt it was missing a little something though, so I added some sweet chili sauce.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    Chris wrote on September 5th, 2009
  4. Found my lunch for the week

    Jeff wrote on September 5th, 2009
  5. may I suggest pulled chicken- ie shredded, like in pulled pork? for some reason, I’ve found this keeps the meat tender & helps aborb the flavors best. Curry powder is an excellent addition,

    marci wrote on September 5th, 2009
  6. i make this at work(i work in a deli) but use cashews, green and red onions and dried cherries instead of the respective ingredients. ive never had it but we sell A LOT

    jessica wrote on September 5th, 2009
  7. This sounds so great. I’d add green onions for a little extra snap and pop, but other than that, it looks delish!

    Griff wrote on September 5th, 2009
  8. Yay for this recipe! I had some delicious curried chicken from a deli up in the Bay Area while on vacation, but haven’t been able to find it any delis near me now that I’m back home. Can’t wait to try making it myself — and the dried cherries idea sounds divine!

    Doctor-to-Be wrote on September 6th, 2009
  9. I make a chicken salad like this, only I use chopped tomato and cucumber in it, and occasionally toss in nuts and halved red seedless grapes. I don’t like the flavor of mayo in my chicken salad, so I use sour cream instead. A couple tablespoons will blend five servings of chicken salad together nicely! :)

    Jamie wrote on September 8th, 2009
    • Thanks for the idea! I hate mayo too but love sr. cream! Always wondered if it could go with this.

      clare wrote on March 7th, 2012
  10. I’ve made this with yogurt and mayo and like it a little bit better

    John FitzGibbon wrote on September 8th, 2009
  11. Tried this today. It was a big hit.

    gt74 wrote on September 8th, 2009
  12. Wow, does this look delish! I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for sharing it!

    Kim Birch wrote on September 9th, 2009
  13. Made this with shrimpm – yum

    Angela wrote on September 11th, 2009
  14. Are you not supposed to cook eggs though?

    Matt wrote on September 13th, 2009
  15. I tried it. It was amazingly delicious. Used chopped almonds rather than walnuts.

    Sam wrote on September 16th, 2009
  16. I am eating it as I type. I do not have the time to make the mayo so using organic. Did not use enough curry first time so added A LOT more this time around. Very good for breakfast, lunch OR dinner.

    Jill wrote on September 17th, 2009
  17. Every time I run across a mayo recipe, I pipe up with what I think is one of the all-time coolest kitchen tricks, that I learned from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Add a tablespoon or two of active-culture whey (drained from active-culture yogurt) to the mayo recipe, then when finished, put it in your storage container and leave it on your countertop overnight. This converts it from a potential breeding ground for bad bacteria into a filled ecological niche for good bacteria. I make mayo in big batches and have had it in my fridge for two months with no problem…where usually they say only a week.

    Joel wrote on February 6th, 2010
  18. Oh, and another thing…use 3/4 olive oil and 1/4 coconut oil, and it’ll be as thick as the store-bought stuff. Also, the flavors balance each other nicely.

    Joel wrote on February 6th, 2010
  19. I made this but I didn’t have an apple to hand so I substituted a couple of dried apricots chopped up small. O M G – delicious. I might do that next time even if I have apples

    Nicola wrote on August 16th, 2010
  20. I make this but use a little sour cream in lieu of the mayo. Adding dried cranberries instead of raisins and I add a diced yellow apple. I use slivered almonds rather than pecans. We eat it all the time and I love serving it on lettuce leaves for brunch..

    Bonnie wrote on November 9th, 2010
  21. Does anyone know if it is safe to make this homemade mayo if the egg is not pasturized? I buy organic free range eggs but can’t find pasturized eggs and am worried about making mayo without them. Any advice?

    Cat wrote on February 1st, 2011
  22. Absolutely delicious and fun to make.

    Scott wrote on April 25th, 2011
  23. Made this with green apples and Macadamian nuts…yummm

    Danigrok wrote on July 11th, 2011
  24. I first had curried chicken salad when i was in Switzerland, roughly 10 years ago. I had always liked chicken salad, but ever since, I have had to add curry to it! Happy to see someone else loves it like i do!! (I’m making some as i type…)

    Kelly wrote on February 21st, 2012
  25. Great healthy and tasty recipe! I love curried food.

    Adam Acne wrote on June 24th, 2012

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