I love chicken salad for so many reasons. One, it’s a great way to use chicken breast, which I otherwise find to be the most boring part of a chicken. Two, it’s a super flexible and very hard to mess up — you can take a chicken salad recipe in nearly any culinary direction your heart fancies. Three, it keeps well in the fridge for advanced meal prep that doesn’t have to be reheated. Four, it can be served on any number of different vehicles including bread, salad, bell peppers, or avocado. Four, it leaves room for creativity in the kitchen and isn’t dependent upon measurements of basically any kind. You just keep adding until you like the way it looks, tastes, and feels. That’s my kind of recipe!
I’ve written a few posts about the benefits of bone broth and how to make it, one of which touts the amazing acne-curing effect I experienced after drinking it every day for 2 weeks. I mostly use chicken (or poultry) bones in my broth, and the secret to success for my newly zit-free face is to always have bone broth on hand, which means making it in bulk and freezing it. Bulk bone broth (say that three times fast!) requires collecting the bones of the chickens my husband and I eat, buying organic turkey necks and chicken backs at the butcher (super cheap!), and almost always throwing a whole raw chicken into the pot.
The trick is to get two uses from the whole chicken, and that’s where this chicken salad comes in!
While I try to keep the broth cooking on the stove top for at least 12 hours, I aim to remove the meat from the whole chicken after 6 to 8 hours (before it gets boiled to death) so that I can use it for chicken salad or some other delicious purpose. I’ve also been known to purchase a roasted chicken from the grocery store, serve the legs and wings for dinner, and make a batch of chicken salad with the roasted breasts. One thing to note when saving the carcass of a roasted chicken: lots of the gelatin ends up on the bottom of the little plastic tray. You want all that, so scrape that into your freezer bag with your bones.
Now onto this awesome chicken salad recipe!
Heart Healthy Nutty Turmeric Chicken Salad
You might be asking what makes this particular chicken salad recipe ‘heart healthy.’ Well I’ll tell you! First, I cut the store-bought mayo which typically contains factory eggs and industrial oils (both of which are inflammatory foods and not great for heart health) and replaced it with high-protein Greek yogurt or a homemade mayo. Then I add in celery, parsley, turmeric, and cherries, all of which are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods that are great for maintaining healthy cardiovascular function. (This can also be said of garlic and onions — I use dried powders here so that effect is minimal, but you can use fresh if you have the time to chop them up!) Next there’s the array of nuts and seeds, which also reduces inflammation in addition to containing healthy fats, fiber, and a nice satisfying crunch. Pair this awesome recipe with a big salad, a bell pepper, or a healthy whole grain or paleo bread and you’ve got yourself one heart-healthy powerhouse!
- 4 cooked chicken breasts
- 3 tbs Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tbs Greek yogurt (or homemade mayo)
- 2 tbs dried cherries or currants
- 2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 7-10 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 tbs almond slivers
- 2 tbs pecan pieces
- 2 tbs sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp kelp powder/granules/flakes
- 1 tsp seasoned salt or REAL salt
- 1/2-1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Using two forks, start shredding the chicken breasts lightly
- Add in the wet ingredients (mustard and yogurt) and all seasonings (9-14) and begin to incorporate as you continue to shred
- Add all other ingredients and incorporate
As I said before, the beauty of this recipe is in its flexibility. I provided measurements for you as a guide, but this is the type of thing you can eyeball and adjust according to your own preferences. Do you like a drier chicken salad (I do, as this recipe reflects), or do you prefer it to be a little more creamy? If you like it creamy, add more mustard and yogurt. You can also take it in a new direction entirely by changing the mustard from something spicy to something sweet, by, replacing the turmeric with curry, by swapping the garlic and onion powders for other dried spices like tarragon and fennel seed. The possibilities are endless! Don’t be shy, make this recipe your own!
And then come back here and tell me about how it went!