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May 24, 2012

Recipe for curried chicken pasta salad with apricots and cashews

Curried-chicken-pasta-salad-with-apricots-and-cashews-detail

Old-fashioned curried chicken salad, the kind you find in the supermarket deli case, seldom floats my boat. Too much curry powder makes it bitter; too much celery overpowers the curry. Too much mayonnaise drowns it all. If that sounds familiar, then this curried chicken pasta salad with apricots and cashews just might restore your faith. Start with big chunks of chicken, add your favorite small pasta (I love the mini penne and mini bow ties), some crunchy Granny Smith apple, plump dried apricots, and cashews. Use mango-studded Major Grey's chutney in the dressing. Make all of the components ahead, and combine at the last minute for a very fresh, fruity, un-gloppy chicken salad.

Curried-chicken-pasta-salad-with-apricots-and-cashews

Curried chicken pasta salad with apricots and cashews

From the pantry, you'll need: mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder, powdered ginger, fresh black pepper, chicken breasts, pasta.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

For the dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp chutney (I use Major Grey's mango chutney)
1/2 tsp sweet or hot curry powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
Pinch of fresh black pepper

For the salad:
4 oz mini penne, rotini or other short pasta
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (defrosted, if frozen)
A sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped roasted, unsalted cashews
1 Granny Smith apple, diced (do not peel)

Directions

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use (can be made one day ahead).

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a pot on the stove top. Cook the pasta until al dente (1 minute less than the recommended cooking time on the package). Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool slightly. (Can be made ahead.)

Dry the chicken breasts, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on a grill, a stove top grill pan, or under the broiler, for approximately 4 minutes per side, or until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink and the pieces are firm to the touch. When cool enough to handle, dice into 1/2-inch pieces. (Can be made ahead.)

Place the cooked pasta, diced chicken breast, apricots, cashews and diced apple in a large mixing bowl. Stir in as much of the dressing as you need (you might not need all of it). Taste, and season with black pepper, if needed.

Serve at room temperature or cold. If you're going to serve the salad cold, chill, covered, until ready to serve. Taste again, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chicken salad with mustard sauce and lovage
Spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad
Wild rice salad
Curried chicken salad with bell pepper, peanuts and raisins
Cucumber and chicken salad with sesame ginger dressing

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Lemon chicken pasta salad, from Food for My Family
Chicken BLT (or bacon, spinach and tomato) pasta salad, from Cookin' Canuck
Mango chicken curry, from Simply Recipes
Curried chicken pasta salad, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Bowtie chicken pasta salad, from Real Mom Kitchen

Comments

I love a good curried chicken salad!

I think you have restored my faith in this type of chicken salad. I love the addition of nuts. yum!

Pam, so do I, and the operative word is good. There is so much soggy curried chicken salad out there. This one is crunchy and not over-seasoned.

Ben, I hope so. The cashews and apple really make this salad pop.

I "un-gloppy" is the key thing here! I often find in a chunky style salad like this the dressing gets all separated and not distributed evenly - this sounds like a solution to that!! thanks! (and yum!)

I love the phrase 'ungloppy'! It describes what I like exactly. Have bookmarked this for future use. Thank you.

Carol, Pat: I think the secret is to use only as much dressing as you need, and not necessarily all of it. Sometimes I reserve extra dressing and add it later. Also, there's a small amount of pasta here, and I think that helps. Hope you both give this a try.

What a nice twist on chicken pasta salad Lydia. I'm not a "gloppy" pasta person either.

Whew! I had some left over apricots from a Lamb and apricot tagine and was wondering what I would do with them now I know'
Thanks

You know, Lydia, every time I come here I stare at the photo of delicious looking food and read through a totally accessible recipe and think to myself "Now, why don't I ever cook food like this?" Absolutely obvious and simple but WOW so creative and delicious! You have restored faith in the normally plain chicken salad!

Jeanette, it's so nice to be able to make the components ahead, and toss them with the dressing at the last moment. No gloppy-ness whatsoever, and it's easier on the cook, too.

Kim, perfect! I have some apricots left from making this salad, and I'm going to use them to update one of my chutney recipes from the archives. I love apricots.

Jamie, thank you so much. I think my simple cooking comes from two things: first, keep a good pantry and use it; and second, I'm basically a lazy cook who doesn't have the patience for very involved recipes anymore. I used to, when I was younger, but now I prefer to throw some basic ingredients together and keep it simple. I love visiting your blog to see the glorious food you create!

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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