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.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

32 thoughts on “Curried Chicken Salad”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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,

  4. 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

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the idea! I hate mayo too but love sr. cream! Always wondered if it could go with this.

  8. I’ve made this with yogurt and mayo and like it a little bit better

  9. I tried it. It was amazingly delicious. Used chopped almonds rather than walnuts.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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..

  15. 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?

  16. 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…)