Do you remember that strange chicken salad that has raisins and almonds, all dressed in curried mayonnaise?
Well, if you don’t remember it, you must not be from the Midwest. The recipe for it must have been in the same issue of Good Housekeeping or Better Homes & Gardens as the recipe for Waldorf Salad in the ’60s because I remember some version of these two salads being served by my mother or some other family matriarch at various ladies’ gatherings.
A little Google research reveals a version of this curry salad, called Coronation Chicken, was served at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 so maybe it’s less “Midwest” and more “suburban” as I can imagine American women’s magazines popularizing this dish for their readers.
This old-timey salad was the inspiration for a healthier version I created to use my fresh raisins (check out that experiment here). Instead of mayonnaise, I channeled a green goddess and substituted plain yogurt and avocado. The result was exotic and fresh tasting — the basil leaves were an inspired addition (thanks, garden, for being a constant source of creativity).
Curried Chicken & Fresh Raisin Salad
with Creamy Green Curry Dressing
- 2 tablespoons plain, fat-free yogurt
- 1/4 avocado, mashed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper (taste it — more salt might be necessary to balance the tang of the yogurt and sweetness of the honey)
- 1 4-6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
- Sprinkling of curry powder, paprika, salt and pepper
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/2 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 15-20 small basil leaves (baby leaves the size of your fingernail)
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh raisins (or regular raisins if you must)
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted if you like
- Combine dressing ingredients, stirring until smooth.
- Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with curry powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and saute with cooking spray in a saute pan over low to medium heat until no longer pink in the middle.
- Assemble the remaining salad ingredients on a plate. Drizzle with dressing. Slice chicken and arrange on top of salad. Enjoy immediately. Serves 1; multiply ingredients for additional salads.
By the way, this salad would qualify as lunch in the “Omni Diet,” a little bit outlandish and laborious eating plan I’ve been attempting to follow for the past week. If you’re lactose intolerant, use a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk instead of plain yogurt. I’ll save you the trouble of calculating the calories: 456. This salad is worth the effort.