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Curried Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Peanuts

I loved this Curried Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Peanuts.

When I spotted a recipe for Curried Chicken Salad with Peanuts in The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook, there were two things that intrigued me about the recipe.  The first was the technique of adding a generous tablespoon of lemon juice to the pan when you browned the chicken breasts; something I’d never done before.  I’m a lemon fan, so I loved the way this added just a bit more lemon flavor.  The second thing that drew me to the recipe was the dressing made with mostly fat-free Greek yogurt, with just a touch of mayo.  I love mayo-based chicken salads but in this recipe I really enjoyed the tang of the yogurt.

The original recipe called for snow peas trimmed into small pieces and blanched, but I had leftover Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette in the fridge, and it made a great addition to the salad.  I also chose not to chop the peanuts so they’d show up a bit more.  

Whisk together Greek yogurt, mayo, curry powder, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, salt, and lemon juice to make the dressing.

Saute the chicken breasts in olive oil and a generous tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.

You’ll need thinly sliced celery and green onion.

I used about 12 ounces of cooked asparagus, cut into pieces about 1 inch long.  I like to cut them on the diagonal for looks.  If you don’t have leftover asparagus, I’d cut the asparagus, blanch about 2-3 minutes in boiling salted water, and drain well.  (You could also use blanched snow peas, broccoli, or green beans in this salad.)

Let the chicken cool a few minutes, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Toss together the diced chicken, cut asparagus, celery and green onions and toss with enough dressing so all the salad is moistened.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and garnish with a sprinkling of peanuts on top of each serving.

Curried Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Peanuts
(Makes 4 generous servings, recipe adapted from The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook.)

1/2 cup fat-free Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup mayo (I used full-fat mayo, but low-fat would work)
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (zest the lemon first, then squeeze the juice)
1 T curry powder (I used Penzeys Sweet Curry Powder)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. boneless-skinless chicken breasts (about 3 trimmed chicken breasts)
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon zest (zest the lemon first, then squeeze the juice)
10-12 oz. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 inch strips and blanched (or use leftover cooked asparagus)
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/3 cup peanuts for garnish (or use other nuts of your choice)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Zest the lemon and then squeeze the lemon juice.  (You need 2 tablespoons of juice, one for the dressing and one for cooking the chicken.)  Whisk together dressing ingredients and let the dressing stand while you prepare other ingredients.

Trim any visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts.  Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, add chicken breasts and 1 T lemon juice, and saute chicken until it’s cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side.  Let chicken cool, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

While chicken cooks, cut asparagus into pieces about 1 inch long and blanch for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, then drain well.  I like to cut the asparagus on a diagonal for looks.  (You can also use leftover cooked asparagus.  Other leftover cooked veggies like broccoli, snow peas, or green beans would also work.)  Slice celery and green onions. 
In a large bowl gently combine the diced chicken, cut asparagus, sliced celery, and sliced green onion.  Add dressing and stir until all salad ingredients are coated with dressing.  Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
Divide the salad among four serving plates and sprinkle a few peanuts over each serving.
I found that this did not keep in the fridge as well as chicken salad with all-mayo dressing.  (It seemed that the yogurt dressing kind of soaked into the chicken)  If you don’t want four servings, I would only put dressing on the amount you’re going to eat, save the rest of the salad ingredients and dressing separately, and add dressing right before you eat it.

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South Beach Suggestions: 
This salad is full of  low-glycemic ingredients and would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  Even if you use full fat mayo, the 1 tablespoon of mayo per servings still fits within South Beach guidelines.

More Tasty Variations of Chicken Salad: 
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Shredded Chicken Salad with Green Olives, Celery, and Green Onions from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken Pesto Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Peas from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Kalyn and Mimi’s Chicken Salad with Mustard and Cashews from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Peas from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Best Vietnamese Chicken Salad from White on Rice Couple
Martha’s Chinese Chicken Salad from Simply Recipes
Go Gai (Vietnamese Chicken Salad) from Wandering Chopsticks
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Dill from The Paupered Chef
Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Cilantro Dressing from Whipped
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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24 comments on “Curried Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Peanuts”

  1. I love curried chicken salad, and often add raisins and cashews to give that real traditional curry taste. I'm definitely going to try adding lemon juice to the pan when I'm sauteing chicken breasts for salads.

  2. This recipe will be perfect for a leftover chicken from my house. I, too, could definitely try doing the lemon juice while sauteing the meat, and the salad will be packed for lunch or after a few routines at the gym. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lydia, I found that so interesting and really liked the results.

    Jenn, glad you like the recipe.

  4. What an interesting combination! Love the peanuts with the curry sauce.

  5. This looks great – I will definitely be trying this recipe out soon since I love curry and think it would be a great substitute!

  6. This sounds great, Kalyn! I use A LOT of lemon juice and often squirt some on chicken or pork as it is sauteeing – I grew up watching my Mom doing it, I guess it's in my genes 🙂

    everything about this salad makes me want to grab a fork and eat a bowl right now!

  7. Cara and Chloe, glad you like it!

    Sally your mom must have been a good cook!

  8. This is beautiful! And sounds like it would be so much better than a typical chicken salad… And much more nutritious, too 🙂

    I'm sorry we didn't get to meet up with you this weekend, too! We saw your panel a couple years ago at the BlogHer tour in Burlington, MA (feels like so long ago!) and have been following you since 🙂


  9. Sues, we must make sure we meet each other next time! I've been following your blog for a long time as well. Glad you like the salad.

  10. Kalyn, do you eat this chicken salad warm then? Thanks!

  11. I ate it room temperature (the chicken had cooled down and the other ingredients were all cold.) I think you could refrigerate it for a few hours, but when I refrigerated it overnight I thought a lot of the dressing was absorbed into the chicken.

  12. What a crazy combo! I am so intrigued by the mix of curries with peanuts. Sounds like something I would love!

  13. Joanne, thanks. I couldn't stop eating it the day I made the salad!

  14. delicious!!!!

  15. This is PERFECT!!! I have been craving something curry the past week and I can't think of anything better right now!!! Thanks for the inspiration- and a healthy one 🙂

  16. Jennie, so glad you like it. The extra lemon juice really bumped up the flavor.

  17. You always have amazing recipes! Thanks for sharing them on the M&T Spotlight 🙂

  18. Marie, my pleasure. Love the format of your site.

  19. Great way to enjoy the seasonal asparagus! I can always go for for some more curried dishes!

  20. Kevin, thanks! Anything with the flavors of curry is always a hit with me.

  21. Great recipe! I switched out the chicken for grilled tofu (gf is vegi) and the mayo for veganise (just don't like mayo much), and added in cashews and dried cranberries. It was awesome! Looking forward to more of your dishes.

  22. Eric, fun hearing how you adapted it; sounds good!

  23. This is crazy tasty. I was a lemon short but I "made up for it" with some extra curry . . because how could that be a bad idea. Hah! It was a little hot so I used the whole six oz container of yogurt. Yum!

  24. Nikki, so glad you enjoyed it and I love the way you adapted the recipe to use what you have. That's what good cooking is all about!

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