I don’t know how it works in your house, but in my house, weekend eating is a thing. It’s definitely, obviously, joyously different from mid-week eating. You might be asking, “Then why is there lettuce in these photos?” and I get that. Lettuce is rarely a part of my weekend program.
The reason is that I am often plagued by midweek cravings for weekend eats. Chicken Salad is one of those cravings, and while I would always prefer to make it with mayonnaise and buttery rotisserie chicken and eat it on French bread with a glass of wine, I am capable of lightening things up from time to time. I’m pleased to report that this healthier version of chicken salad is actually quite delicious despite its base of poached chicken breast and nonfat Greek yogurt. Bright, tangy Opal apples (a new favorite fruit for me) play well with the warm curry spices, and salty cashews add creaminess and crunch. It is pictured here in lettuce cups, but you could certainly opt for a wrap or crackers should you want a more substantial base— or French bread and Sancerre should you be needing a midweek treat!
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 shallot
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled, chopped and smashed
- 3 tablespoons curry powder, divided
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 Opal apple (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith work fine too)
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- ½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- drizzle of honey
- ½ cup chopped roasted cashews, plus more for garnish
- fresh cilantro, for garnish
- freshly ground black pepper
- sliced bread or butter lettuce, for serving
Place the chicken in a medium pot or sauce pan. Generously season with salt. Cut the shallot in half, lengthwise. Set one piece aside. Cut the second one in half again and add it to the pot. Add the garlic, ginger and two tablespoons of curry powder. Add water until the chicken is completely covered, about four cups. Cover, and bring to a bare simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and cook the chicken through, about ten minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Finely chop the remaining shallot and combine it with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Chop half of the apple, and add it to the bowl. Set aside the other, uncut half. Add the celery, yogurt, cayenne pepper and honey. Stir to combine.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the poaching liquid and let rest for five minutes. Use this time to prepare your serving vessel— toast, crackers, lettuce cups— you do you. Thinly slice the rest of the apple. Tear some cilantro for garnish.
When the chicken has cooled, use two forks to shred it. Add it to the dressing with the cashews and mix until everything is well coated. Serve the chicken salad on your chosen vessel. Garnish with sliced apples, torn cilantro and extra cashews. Serve immediately.
Do ahead: Chicken salad can be made a day in advance. Just wait to add the cashews so they don’t get soggy, and prepare your garnish just before serving.