Remember that guy who owns the gym who forced me to do an 8 week meal plan that I hated a few years ago? He took my potato chips away from me? I called him an asshole. That guy.

I take it back

He’s a nice guy, that guy.

Mainly because along with the recipes I hated with all my heart, he also introduced me to a few that I love in equal but opposite proportions. The No Cook Hippie Cookie is one such recipe.   And this Curried Chicken Salad is another.

Skip right to the recipe.

The first time I made it, I dreamed about it for the next 3 days. The same way I dream about french fries and having a big toe that isn’t plagued with a bunion.

I actually keep grilled chicken cooked and ready to go in the freezer just so I can make this whenever the mood strikes me.

This recipe came to me at the exact right time because up until a few years ago I wasn’t a huge fan of curry.  Now I’m older, wiser and have also discovered Thai curry which is mellower and sweeter than regular curry.

I still prefer a hint of curry as opposed to a full swing, hit me in the face with a shovelful of it.  A hint.  If you’re a smash me in the face with curry kind of person, then you can triple the amount of curry in this recipe.  Even quadruple it if you like.

I serve the chicken salad cold on a leaf of romaine lettuce like a leafy pita.

I got into this habit after the asshole nice guy from the gym, decided limiting carbs was a great idea.  Because of how blindly I follow instructions for someone with a 6 pack, I don’t ever eat this salad on bread. Only lettuce.     If I have it for dinner, I eat it with a side of some grilled red peppers and asparagus.  Whatever vegetables you have on hand will do.  (Just in case you were too stupid or drunk or feeble minded to figure that bit out.)

Gather your ingredients Martha Stewart-style. Get everything ready to go.  You’re going to be working with apples, celery, grilled chicken, and lots of other good stuff.  The full printable recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Curried chicken salad

The Best Curried Chicken Salad You'll Ever Eat

Quick and easy super-delicious chicken salad with a twist!
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1 grilled chicken breast chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • ½ a red apple diced small
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise to start
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  • Add additional mayonnaise to taste.

Now before you go squinching your nose up at the fact that I wrap the chicken salad in a lettuce leaf as opposed to a pita or bread, I have to say, in the lettuce’s defence, that the crunch it has makes up for the lack of carbs. I honestly prefer it this way now.

Honestly.  The crispness of the lettuce against the creaminess of the mayonnaise is wonderfully delicious.  The flavours of the salad are all very distinct.  The slight hints of curry and cayenne pepper are met with the odd sweet burst of apple and raisin.  Add in the freshness of the celery and the crunch of the toasted pecans and you have the perfect Curried Chicken Salad.

Sweet dreams.


  1. amy says:

    I don’t quite believe you yet, but your writing is so good, I think I might have to try the lettuce wrap 🙂

  2. rachel says:

    i’m not trying to incite an argument or anything…i really am just curious about your answer. i absolutely love your blog and your attitude and your humor and your art of doing stuff. so here’s my question…do you wrestle with having chickens as pets, as well as eating chickens? i mean, i know you’re not eating your own chickens, but i’m just curious what you think about this. full disclosure…i am a happy vegetarian, but i don’t care what people around me choose to eat. i just love the discussion.

    • Karen says:

      Rachel – My neighbours just asked me this very question today. And yes. It does make me ponder. However, I don’t believe in the argument that some use which is, if you’re going to eat it, you should be able to kill it. No thanks. I drive a car but certainly don’t have what it takes to build one. These chickens are exactly what you said. Pets. I have saved more animals than I can count. I raise butterflies from egg, spent 3 months and many dollars saving my pond fish and love every animal that walks the earth. But for now, I still eat them and am happy to do so. Once you make friends with animals like chipmunks and chickens though, it does give you an appreciation for the fact that all animals, even something as tiny as a chipmunk has a personality. So in answer to your question, there’s a slight wrestle, but I’m still a full fledged meat eater and don’t see that changing in the immediate future. Immediately. I don’t think. 🙂 ~ karen

    • Ann says:

      I am in the same spot as Karen….a chicken owner/lover and I also eat chicken. I raise my hens for eggs, not meat. But if this were a different world, I could raise them and process for meat. Because to me it is more important that what I eat lives a good full proper life before becoming my food. Whether I raise the animal or another person does, I want to know that it was happy, healthy, ate what it was meant to eat, got to raise at least a baby or two….just like was intended for that animal. Otherwise if one can not come to grips with the fact that someone does have to process any animal you eat, then maybe you should actually be a vegetarian.

  3. “The crispness of the lettuce against the creaminess of the mayonnaise is wonderfully delicious. The flavours of the salad are all very distinct. The slight hints of curry and cayenne pepper are met with the odd sweet burst of apple and raisin. Add in the freshness of the celery and the crunch of the toasted pecans and you have the perfect Curried Chicken Salad.”

    You could write for a food magazine, and this looks delicious! I would totally make it with lettuce too, you know, to justify my extra mayo which I’m sure to add, but would you still love me if I left out the raisins? Or could I use dried cranberries? Would that disrupt the entire physics of the universe and this salad recipe if I were to substitute them cause I really like cranberries. A lot.

    And this recipe.


    • Karen says:

      Kate – It never occurred to me to use dried cranberries. Probably because I was being led down a path of good eating, which has, in all probability caused my brain to shrink. YES add cranberries!! Good thinkin’. ~ karen

    • Alissa says:

      BRILLIANT, Kate! I do not like raisins and was wondering if I could leave them out without disrupting the delicate balance of “the best curried chicken salad you’ll ever eat”. The subbing in cranberries idea is – to reiterate – brilliant. 🙂

    • Alexandra says:

      YES! I was totally going to leave out the raisins (nothing against them, I just don’t like their taste and texture! :D) and either put nothing else in or cranberries. Now that I think of it, I might even replace them with dried sour cherries! 😀

  4. SK Farm Girl says:

    I covet, covet, covet your $2.00, found-on-fishing-trip-bowl! I know it’s a sin to covet thy neighbour’s bowl, but if that’s the only sin I commit, I’m doing pretty good – eh? Can’t wait to try your delish-sounding salad! Give the chickens a “peck” for me 🙂

    • Karen says:

      SK Farm Girl – Thanks! Oh .. and one of my chickens is turning into a real peckerhead. Must have tried to randomly bite my arm 10 times last night. And not in a cute way! ~ karen

  5. Julie shinnick says:

    omg I love love love that bowl!

    Will try this one when the weather warms up! Glad you have archives!

  6. I love how you did the bowls all Martha Stewart-ish. I wouldn’t have the patience – but it did look pretty. And I’m trying this recipe at the weekend. Food from a gym guy that’s healthy and tasty? It must be a miracle!

  7. Jen says:

    This looks delicious. Minus the raisins. Raisins alone? Yummy. Raisins jumping in on food and baked goods?!? EW!

    I’m def gonna make this….minus the raisins.

    • Karen says:

      Jen – Try what Centsational Girl is going to do … dried cranberries. If you want, that is. 🙂 ~ karen

  8. Holly says:

    What is weird is that I woke up thinking about making a curry sauce for a vegetable mixture, and then I find that you wrote this(I don’t always wake up thinking of food). I will have to try this! I’m always looking for a good chicken salad! And I love lettuce wraps!

  9. Sharon says:

    This looks delicious! Just curious how many servings this would make? Just so I’m not tempted to eat the whole bowl when I do make it!

    Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Sharon – Think of this as one serving with a bit left over. Basically count on a little less than one chicken breast per person. 3 chicken breasts would probably serve 4 people, but to be safe use the one piece of chicken per person rule. Any leftovers can be used for lunch! ~ karen

  10. susan says:

    I’m going to try that recipe…sounds delicious..I get my burger on lettuce instead of a bun at In N Out burger….protein burger they call it…don’t miss the bun a bit!

  11. You make it sound so good! But I must admit, I’m still suspicious of the lettuce leaf. Plus, knowing me, I’ll buy an entire lettuce just to use one leaf, then it will end up going brown and slimy in the refrigerator. Any tips for stopping that?

  12. Elise says:

    I found a recipe similar to this one, and it’s soooo yummy! I am not really a fan of mayo so I used a recipe that called for Greek yogurt instead. OMG Delish!

  13. I ususlly buy this at my local Whole Foods, but it is EXPENSIVE – like 18 bucks for a small container. I have tried making it on my own, but it never tastes as good. I am going to try yours. Thanks

    My best- Diane

  14. Lydia says:

    I love that the bowl is even the signature Martha “robins egg blue” color! You are so Martha 🙂
    My aunt had a working dairy farm with chickens, and we had to collect the eggs. I got pecked in the forearm so many times I still have scars, and once chased out by an ornery rooster. So I eat chicken with GUSTO 🙂

  15. Megan says:

    Will definitely try this — and have been making a similar version with ripe nectarines. Last night I was out of those, so I improvised with some apples and threw in some bacon. (Why not?) I love bread but am a grain-free eater — and can honestly say I prefer it on lettuce or over mixed greens. Unbelievably good.

  16. susan w says:

    Lovely salad lovely bowl lovely prose.
    I use mayo and yogurt in equal parts and add a bit of chutney to the dressing. Hmmm I haven’t made chicken salad in a long time…

    Off to look for chicken to grill(or one sitting in the store rotisserie…)
    Thanks for the inspiration as always

  17. sandra says:

    I made a huge bowl of Chicked Salad two nights ago that is very similar to yours except … I made my own olive oil mayo, added two kinds of apples (grannies and gala), chopped red and green onions, and a whole bunch of red grapes. I serve with cashews sprinkled on top. Perfect meal for those of us with celiac or other dietary issues. Who needs bread?

  18. Liz S. says:

    I am imagining this in a half of a red pepper instead of a lettuce leaf. YUM!

  19. B.J.M says:

    Yum. This looks great.
    I was going to say how much I loved the bowl and here you go and mention it anyway. Aint that somethin’?

  20. Cheryl says:

    At one of my recent “sans forks” dinner parties, one of my good friends brought an appetizer dip which consisted of goat cheese and onion and roasted red peppers – I forget all the ingredients but it was blissful, and she paired it with little tiny frilly lettuce leaves instead of crackers. It was one of the first things to be completely consumed by the guests. Yum yum yum.

    • Karen says:

      Cheryl – I do an dinner salad (main meal) similar to that. Maybe up put the recipe up next week. It’s GREAT. So long as you love goat’s cheese and roasted red peppers, that is. ~ karen

  21. Tracey says:

    I must go and grill chicken so we can have this today!

    I am a fan of the lettuce wrap–once you go green you never go back.

  22. Laurie says:

    wait… seriously you can freeze already cooked chicken? Mind Blown.

  23. Mindy says:

    I’m a fan of lettuce wraps. Well, depending on what’s inside, but this sounds tasty and I’m adding it my to-do list. (I shall consume a loaf of bread on the side in your honor)

  24. Taylor says:

    I love chicken salad. All this talk of cranberries made me think of my favorite one, which is the Trader Joe’s Wine Country Chicken Salad, so I just googled around to see if I could find a recipe and guess what!

    That page also includes the apricot chicken salad, which is pretty good too. Looks like I have some serious chicken salad testing to do 🙂

  25. Diane says:

    Gee, coulda used THAT for the ‘ex’ party !

  26. jen says:

    I’m a HUGE fan of curry chicken salad! This looks delish. This may not be everyones cup of tea but I do the same with tuna sometimes. Add walnuts and granny smith apples or Tuscan peppers and almonds. I hate a bland tuna.

  27. Shauna says:

    quite simply, this sounds delicious. Going into the recipe repertoire.

  28. Evalyn says:

    I make a chicken curry salad very close to this receipe. Sometimes I add grapes – dried cranberries work well – the tiniest bit of chopped onion is good – I sometimes add cooked rice for a full-meal-deal. I never, however, used it in a sandwich, but I will be trying the lettuce leaf version very soon.

  29. Donna O. says:

    I’m running home to make this on this 95 degree day. I just happen to have some chicken leftover from last night. My family recently fell in love with lettuce wraps with ground turkey, cilantro, peanuts & a few other choice ingredients. I think they’ll be swoonin’ over this one too.

    • Karen says:

      Donna – It’s a 95 degree day here too! Perhaps you’re around Toronto. Anyhow … with all the people talking about making this tonight I wanna make it too! Even though we just had it Monday. 🙁 ~ karen

  30. You may not add raisins to my cherry pie, capiche?


    • Karen says:

      Well, since you said “capiche”, clearly you’re a long standing member of some sort of organized crime unit. I will therefore heed your “advice” and not add raisins to your cherry pie recipe. Yours in servitude – Karen

  31. Charissa says:

    I love the idea of adding curry to chicken salad…sounds absolutely divine. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Btw, I love your mantra on the side…if you don’t know it, you’ll find a way to figure it out. So cute!

  32. Lauren says:

    I have a recipe identical to this with one small addition. It calls for green/red grapes. Delicious. The grapes, like the apples, makes this a very refreshing meal. Great for a hot day.

  33. marilyn says:

    i am totally making this salad sans the apples and with the cranberries yummy!

    • Karen says:

      Marilyn – The fella says either you make it with apples or you don’t make it at all. Um. I’m O.K. with however you want to make it. I just won’t tell him. ~ karen

  34. Meg says:

    <3 Curried Chicken Salad!! You should try it with golden raisins, that's how my mom always made it and it's delicious!!! Also, I adore your prep plates. They look perfect for scooping things in to bowls 🙂

  35. Stephanie says:

    I do grapes instead of raisins and add sliced green onions. One of my all time favorite things to eat!!


  36. Nicole says:

    Awesome. I am so making it this weekend.

  37. amy walters, aDESIGNdock says:

    LOVE curry…esp. curried chicken. I must try this 😉

  38. sarah says:

    made this for dinner last night—totally awesome!! I’m going to be making it all summer 🙂

  39. Rebecca says:

    Holy Crap, that is good stuff!!!

    • Karen says:

      Rebecca – I take it you made the recipe. It takes all the control I have not to make it every single day. 🙂 ~ karen

  40. Chancy says:

    Made this salad this weekend. Ohmygod is it the best curried chicken salad ever! You weren’t kidding.

    • Karen says:

      I know! (I try to only post no-fail, this is FANTASTIC recipes I’ve either found or developed) The Sweet Potato fries are probably the most complicated! ~ karen

  41. Caseyj says:

    Wow, gonna make this. Do you think there is a good subsitute for the pecans? My house is on a strict no-pecans-walnuts-or-cashews menu plan. Would almonds work?
    Also, I think you should check out Hungry Girl’s Greek Chicken Salad recipe. It uses mainly yogurt plus a tad of mayo for the creamy-ness (but you don’t have to), then adds chicken, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, olives, feta or goat cheese and some seasoning. It’s divine.

    • Karen says:

      Caseyj – I think you could use any nut you like. Personally if I couldn’t use pecans, I’d go with walnuts. But you can’t. After that I’d go with toasted pine nuts. When in doubt, always go with toasted pine nuts. Almonds are a good choice too. Either chop them up yourself or buy the sliced ones. Now I’m off to look at Hungry Girl’s chicken recipe! One can never have enough chicken recipes. ~ karen!

  42. Stella says:

    Looks amazing! I love eating with a lettuce wrap! So tasty!

  43. fuff says:

    okay so i’m “that” person with the weird allergy. i sense that the apples are integral for this recipe and i’m really really really wanting to make it BUT…i’m deathly allergic to raw apples (insert sad face here). i might try it without but i’m trying to brainstorm a suitable alternative in the meantime. any brilliant ideas?

    • Karen says:

      Fuff – It’s really the crispness and crunch of the apple that’s integral. Plus the bit of colour is nice. If you’re looking to substitute I’d probably try pear. Otherwise, just leave the apple out and add a bit more celery. 🙂 ~ karen

  44. Kristy says:

    Omgsh! This looks amazing! We will be having this at our house this weekend! And I love the lettuce as an alternative to bread! :9

    • Karen says:

      Kristy – The lettuce makes it wayyyyy better for a hot, summer night. Like tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or the next 90 nights or so. ~ karen

  45. cred says:

    Okay! I tried it… I love it!

    I had to change a bit (not b/c I don’t trust you but b/c I made this when it popped up as “you might also like” under today’s post and I didn’t have everything I needed):

    My kid ate the last apple so mine was sans apple (but I know the crunch & sweetness would be perfect).
    I was going to sub cranberries b/c I only eat raisins in waldorf-ish salads so I didn’t have any on hand. But apparently I’m out of crans, too. At this point, I was going to give up but recalled some raisins I dried 3 wks ago from some Ontario concord grapes- not as plump & chewy as Cali raisins but oh so grapey.
    I only had some mesclun mix from the garden so I put the chick salad over the loose greens & it was delicious.
    Time to get my butt to the orchard as I’ve been intending for the last month- need to try this with apples.

  46. beth stockwell says:

    Loved this BUT the cayenne totally ruined it! I can’t believe how much the cayenne overpowered it. I would 100% suggest to LEAVE OUT THE CAYENNE. And I also added more curry powder and some turmeric.

    • Karen says:

      Beth – I have to disagree. I really don’t think the cayenne ruins the salad. In fact I think it adds to it. That’s why I’ve included it as an ingredient, LOL. I had to go back and look at the recipe to make sure it was correct and it is … 1/4 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper really isn’t very much. BUT if you don’t like cayenne, or can’t handle the cayenne then by all means leave out the cayenne! ~ karen

  47. Abra says:

    I love curried chicken salad and this recipe didn’t disappoint! The only addition I made was some chopped onion and I omitted the celery and cayenne because I was out. So delicious! Thanks for a yummy meal inspiration…my six year old loved it too and even asked to try curry powder on its own. He’s my adventurous eater like his mama! 🙂

  48. Seul says:

    My daughter requested this for her birthday dinner. She ate seconds, and packed some for lunch the next day– thanks for sharing the recipe, this one’s going in the book. *grins* Do I put it under Karen’s curry chicken salad, or That asshole’s chicken salad?

    • Karen says:

      Hahahah! Omg that made me laugh. Ahem … well … I *did* make a few changes to it, but it is in truth the Asshole’s recipe. How ’bout Asshole Karen’s Curry Chicken Salad? ~ k!

  49. GL says:

    Where did you get those fantastic white rectangular servers? They look amazing!

    • Karen says:

      GL – Thanks! Yeah, they’re fun. Great for putting out a few olives and cheese. Sadly, I can’t remember where I got them. Homesense (Homegoods) I think. They’re “Tannex”. I just looked it up and they appear to be like a restaurant/wholesale online store. And WOW do they have some great stuff! ~ karen

  50. Janel says:

    How many servings does this make I could eat the whole bowl!

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