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Inspired by Trader Joe.

Choose a bold curry blend; we like maharajah. Golden raisins are also key for just a hint of sweetness.

Choose a bold curry blend; we like maharajah. Golden raisins are also key for just a hint of sweetness.

  • 2 whole chickens; brined, smoked, cooled, and chopped -OR- 2.5 pounds of trimmed chicken meat
  • 1-1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (start with less, add more if you need it)
  • 1 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2.5 Tbs. maharajah curry (we like the blend from The Spice House in Chicago); add more to taste
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Mix everything together and chill. Serve on chopped lettuce as a salad or in romaine hearts. Don’t forget to make stock from the chicken bones.

This is a cool apple salad with chicken, cashews and just the slightest bit of heat.

This salad alone will justify a mandoline purchase.

  • 2 large granny smith apples
  • 1 large pink lady apple
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 12.5-oz. can of chunk chicken, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew pieces
  • 1/3 cup hot-chili-infused olive oil (or regular)
  • 1 Tbs. crushed red pepper (or 2 if you use regular oil)

Slice the apples into matchsticks on a mandoline. To prevent oxidation, immediately put the apples into a large bowl with the lemon/lime juice.

Under the broiler, quickly toast the coconut and minced garlic. Add to the apples, along with the red onion, chicken, cilantro and cashews. Drizzle on the oil and add the crushed red pepper.

The apples will soften and absorb the citrus juice and oil after about six hours, so it’s best to mix and serve this soon after preparing it. Also, the amount of juice you get from the lemon and limes will vary depending on the size of your fruit;  if you have larger lemons or limes, start with less. Add more if you think the salad is too dry, but you don’t want a pool of liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

I love almost any fruit and meat combination, so the grapes in this chicken salad are a must (although the poppy seeds are optional). The dressing is perfectly simple — not too sweet, not too oily. It can easily be made and stored a day ahead of time without losing any flavor or texture.

The best chicken salad around.

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp. honey
  • 1 tbs. poppy seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

When the chicken is cold, dice into bite-size chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in grapes, celery and dressing. Stir in walnuts just before serving.

Adapted from Whole Foods

It’s the easiest dressing ever, too.

Mustard with whole and cracked seeds adds some texture to the dressing.

  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs. mustard of your choice

Put it all in a small container with a lid, shake it, and pour it over your greens along with chopped veggies, ham, bacon, cheese, eggs, avocados, mushrooms… whatever you like in your salad. Try different varieties of olive oil (garlic infused, etc.) and mustards (dijon, spicy, etc.). I really like stone-ground mustard, with some of the seeds left intact. Check your labels, though; some have added sugar and artificial flavorings.