This week is my monthly trip up to VT and it couldn't have come on a better day. It was 75 degrees, sunny, no wind and absolutely perfect. Everything that I love about summer in Vermont.
I even had lunch with my little brother, which was so great. We hadn't caught up in a while, so it was nice to just sit with him and relax. We chatted about life, girls, school, friends, you name it, just seeing him made me miss living in Vermont.
But life in NYC is treating me very well and I have absolutely no complaints. Well except for the few small ones I'm about to make. Just bear with me.
Besides being near my little bro, one of the things I miss most about VT is my coops/natural food stores. Granted, we do have a Whole Foods near us in New York, but it's not the same as strolling through the asiles of my grocery stores up there and being surrounded by tons of local Vermont products. Apples, pears, veggies, honey and maple syrup are among the staples that I always pick up when I'm back for a visit.
Which gets me to this recipe for curry chicken salad. City Market, our go-to store in Burlington, has the most delicious curry chicken salad. They serve in their sandwich bar (along with gluten-free bread, yahoo!), but you can also buy it in the deli section to take home for sandwiches throughout the week. It was a staple for us and something I miss greatly.
And naturally I always get a container when I'm in town.
But what happens when I'm craving that scrumptious curry chicken salad and I'm hundreds of miles away from Vermont? Create it in my own fashion (with quinoa) and try to make it just a little healthier.
Traditional chicken salad, although it may seem healthy, can be loaded with calories. It's usually smothered in mayonaise, which can be super high in fat and heavy on the calories. To make this curry chicken salad healthy, I swapped the mayo for coconut cream. Granted, coconut cream is a bit high in fat, but it's the good kind of fat and when eaten in moderation (like with this recipe) it's actually quite good for you.
This curry chicken salad is creamy and luscious, and super healthy. I added quinoa to give it a little added protein and carbs, which make it great as a topping for salad. The sunflower seeds give this salad a nice little crunch and the raisins bring just a hint of sweetness, that helps round out the curry flavor.
Serve atop a salad, on a sandwich, in lettuce wraps, with crackers. Mr. Matt even took this for lunch on a toasted bagel the next day and was raving about it. Any which way you choose to enjoy this tasty salad, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
Healthy Curry Chicken Salad with Quinoa
- 1 cup cooked chicken I used leftover grilled chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup coconut cream I also think plain green yogurt or low-fat sour cream would work
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sriracha / other hot sauce optional, but so tasty
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons raisins optional
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped (cilantro would also be delicious)
- In a medium mixing bowl, add chicken and quinoa, and toss to combine.
- Whisk together the coconut cream and seasonings (including the hot sauce if you're using it) in a small bowl and add to the chicken-quinoa mixture. Stir until everything is coated and creamy.
- Mix in sunflower seeds, raisins and chopped parsley.
19 comments on “Healthy Curry Chicken Salad with Quinoa”
Sounds great! I’ve never tried it with quinoa, awesome ingredient addition. For my personal consumption, I’d also add finely cubed apples and celery, like my mom used to do : )
Love those additions. Let me know how it turns out! I’ll definitely be trying your idea soon 🙂
This sounds delicious, I don’t eat red meat or chicken can it be done with fish or beans. Thanks
To be honest, I’m not sure about using it with fish or beans, but I imagine it would work! I think it would be super tasty with both. Let me know if you try it 🙂
Please explain to me what is coconut cream?
Hi Rin – sorry, I realize now I should have included that in the notes section of the recipe. Coconut cream is the thick, creamy stuff that solidifies at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk once is it chilled. You can get coconut cream simply by placing a can of full-fat coconut milk into the fridge and letting it sit overnight (for a minimum of 4 – 5 hours). Then simply scoop out the thicken coconut cream that is at the top!
What kind of ‘coconut cream’ are you using?
I use Trader Joe’s brand, but you could use any brand of full-fat coconut milk (the kind that comes in the can, not the carton). All you have to do is put the can in the fridge overnight and then when you open it up, you’ll see the thick coconut cream on the top. Simply scoop it out and add it to the recipe. You can also make whipped cream from it, but I haven’t done much experimenting. Enjoy!
Yummm that looks delicious. And very easy too. I will be making that one regularly I am sure 🙂
Thanks!! Let me know how you like it 🙂
I certainly will 🙂
This looks amazing. I love the idea of using coconut cream. I have to try this!
I made this tonight with plain Greek yogurt and the curry flavor was quite strong even though I used a bit less than a tablespoon. Putting the salad into a tortilla to create a wrap helped a bit but I am wondering if the coconut cream just adds that dimension of flavor which a traditional coconut curry dish would making it amazing. I am going to have to try it again with coconut cream as I just love a good curry dish. 🙂 Any other thoughts??
I used sour cream, not having or knowing what coconut cream is, and the curry was overwhelming. In an attempt to tone it down I started scooping more and more sour cream into the salad. Perhaps 1 tsp would be a better start, at least when using something other than coconut cream? Is easier to add more curry to taste. . .
I made this tonight and was a little bit afraid the coconut flavor would come on too strong (I love coconut but I thought it might taste weird in this recipe), but I could not even taste it! I adds just the perfect amount of creaminess. I missed eating chicken salad since I found out I have a sensitivity to eggs, and this definitely did the trick. I actually thought it tasted BETTER than the chicken salad I used to eat. Totally yum!!! For everyone saying the curry taste was too strong, I only used a 1/2 TBSP and it was perfect. Which was a good thing because that’s all I had left ha ha ha! Great job I give this recipe 5 stars and two thumbs up!!!
Awesome!!! I have to admit I was a little skeptical myself, but I agree that it’s sensational. Love it!
Made this last night and really enjoyed it! I used greek yogurt instead of coconut cream because I had it on hand, I think it worked well. Will try the coconut cream next time and see how it compares!
I think the greek yogurt would be so, so good! I have yet to find a good non-dairy greek yogurt. All the ones I’ve tried are so sweet! I think I’ll have to work on making my own instead 😉
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