There are a few things that I miss in the summer time since starting an 85-90% Paleo lifestyle—one is chicken salad sandwiches. There is a local deli about 1-mile from my parent’s house, Willow Tree Poultry Farm that makes the most unreal chicken salad! They use a TON of mayo and the chicken is finely shredded—but what makes their salad so good is their use of brown sugar as a sweetener. I used to eat it on their delicious finger rolls—they are egg-based so they are a beautiful shade of yellow and chewy. When they are hot, which if you get there at 11 a.m. on Saturdays, they melt in your mouth.
Fit Moms & Full Plates: Turmeric Chicken Salad
I could certainly make my own Willow Tree chicken salad with one of the copycat recipes out there, however I wanted to try my hand at an alternative that could stand up on its own in bowl or be sturdy enough to be wrapped in lettuce leaves since my days of eating Willow Tree fluffy egg rolls and mayo made with canola and soybean oils are no more. One flavor that I think pairs well with sweetness is turmeric. There is something that is so satisfying about that combination and after reading the health benefits of turmeric , I wanted to use it in my recipe. I’ve been making a version of this recipe for a few years now but have modified it recently to incorporate some recent changes—including the use of our homemade mayo .
In our house we use this recipe for a week’s worth of lunches for me and The Hubs—it’s quick and easy to throw together on Sunday. It’s even easier if you buy a rotisserie chicken from the market! While it doesn’t come close to imitating Willow Tree’s chicken salad, it is tasty in its own right and satisfies my craving for a summer chicken salad without resorting to cheating on the fluffy egg rolls or the vast amounts of mayo used that contains canola and soybean oils.
Turmeric Chicken Salad
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon raw honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cups red grapes halved, lengthwise
2 apples, cubed
1 medium leek, sliced in half length wise then chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast cooked and chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cooked and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as per your desire. Add grapes, apples, and leek. Note—if you are unfamiliar with working with leeks here are some tips that I find helpful:
Cut off the root and also the dark green tops—the most flavorful and tender portion of the leek is the white and light green section. Save the dark green top for stocks and broths.
Slice the leek lengthwise so you have two long halves, then chop each half so that you now have half-moons.
Soak your chopped leeks in an ice water bath for about 5-minutes, swirling the leeks in the water. Leeks have a tendency to hold on to dirt between the layers and this will help to settle the dirt to the bottom. I use a slotted spoon to strain the now washed leeks off the top of the water.
Stir in the chopped chicken (I like to use a combination of white and dark meat—but feel free to use one or the other) and the fresh herbs. Salt and pepper to taste. I like to add my pecans last so that they don’t hold on to a lot of the mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate.
Serve on its own in a dish or in lettuce wraps. This will make enough for 10-servings.