Curried Chicken Salad (No Mayo!)

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This Curried Chicken Salad makes an easy packed lunch, and is the perfect way to use up any shredded chicken you might have on hand. It’s so flavorful!

curried chicken salad in lunch box

How to Make a Healthy Curried Chicken Salad

Most traditional chicken salad recipes call for mayo, which is mostly made up of oil, so I’ve opted for an alternative source of creaminess in this recipe– avocado!

curried chicken salad ingredients

You should know that I’m not the biggest fan of avocado on its own, unless it’s featured in guacamole or avocado pudding, so trust me when I say you can’t taste the avocado in this recipe.

Paired with lemon juice, curry powder, and a touch of pure maple syrup, the avocado provides a creamy texture to this sauce, which you can whip up in a blender or food processor. (I’ve mashed it together with a fork in a bowl, too, but it’s more difficult to get a smooth result that way.)

When you combine the creamy curry sauce with shredded chicken, freshly chopped celery, green onions, and cilantro, the flavor combination is addictive!

curried chicken salad in mixing bowl

Optional Add-Ins

It’s especially nice if you add in some raisins, for a contrast of sweetness and the extra chewy texture, but if you follow food combining to streamline your digestion, feel free to leave those out.

I think it would also be nice with some crunchy pecans or sliced almonds stirred in!

How to Serve

For a properly combined meal, serve this chicken salad over a bed of leafy greens, or wrapped in lettuce leaves for a high-protein wrap.

finished chicken salad in bowl

If food combining isn’t a concern, you can also serve this with your favorite crackers, sliced veggies, or fruit.

How Long Does Chicken Salad Keep in the Fridge?

According to the USDA, it’s safe to keep cooked chicken in your fridge for 3 to 4 days, so I don’t recommend storing this salad in your fridge any longer than that. You can safely freeze it for 2 to 6 months, but I haven’t tested that with this recipe yet, so let me know if you try that.

curried chicken salad in lunch box
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4.84 from 12 votes

Curried Chicken Salad (No Mayo!)

This healthy Curried Chicken Salad is an easy packed lunch, made with avocado, curry powder, and fresh veggies. I love how flavorful it is!
Course Main Course
Cuisine paleo
Keyword curried chicken salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 258kcal


  • 1 pound shredded chicken (about 2-3 cups of pre-cooked chicken)
  • 2 celery stalks , diced
  • 3 green onions , chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado (about 7-8 ounces in weight)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)


  • In a large glass bowl, combine the shredded chicken, celery, green onions, and cilantro.
  • To make the dressing, combine the avocado, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, salt, curry powder, and water. Blend until smooth, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water, if needed to thin out the sauce. Taste and add one more tablespoon of maple syrup if you want it a little sweeter.
  • Pour the dressing over the chicken salad ingredients, and stir well to coat everything evenly.
  • Add in raisins if desired, then transfer the salad to the fridge to chill for 2 hours and let the flavors meld and the raisins will plump. Serve chilled.
  • Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge in an airtight containerfor 3 to 4 days. (The avocado doesn't brown in that time, FYI!)



Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 692mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition info above is for 1/4 of this recipe, which is roughly 1 cup of prepared chicken salad.

Recipe Notes:

  • I have only tested this recipe with chicken, because I had so much leftover when perfecting my Instant Pot Shredded Chicken recipe. I imagine it would work well with other white meat, such as leftover turkey, too.
  • For a vegetarian version, it might be worth trying this sauce with jackfruit or mashing it with chickpeas, like in my Chickpea Tuna Salad. I’ll be sure to add vegetarian versions here on the website once I’ve tested them!

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to use up leftover chicken?

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I had leftover chicken to use up today, so I tried this for lunch. Yum! The raisins really take it up a notch, and I swapped the cilantro for parsley because that’s what I had. Will definitely be making this again!


Definitely going to give this a try with jackfruit this week! I’ll try to remember to come back and let you know how it is. 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, please do! Make sure you rinse the jackfruit off really well to remove as much of the brine as you can, and you’ll probably want to use a lot less salt than this chicken version. Maybe start with only 1/4 teaspoon and then add to taste!

Crystal K

this looks amazing! Will def try.

    Donna Young

    We love this recipe. My husband requests it!
    Mix the dressing with my immersion blender in deep bowl. Use less curry as the Penzy curry packs a lot of flavo. Have not waited 2 hours to eat- yummy

Emma Kilpatrick

I made this with 2 cans of mashed chickpeas, some yellow onion and some celery for a plant based version and its really good, but my sauce came out considerably more green than yours so it doesn’t look very appetizing and I’m not sure why!

In any case, it’s really nice over some toast with tomato slices!


Excellent flavor combination! My husband and teen boys loved it! Thank you, Megan, for another wonderful recipe!


I made this with canned jackfruit for a vegetarian version and it’s amazing! I also subbed a few things b/c I didn’t have them on hand (I used a white onion instead of green onions, honey instead of maple syrup), and added chopped pecans. I highly recommend using the jackfruit! It works like a charm. 🙂


OMG this is an amazing recipe and I made it as I had left over chicken from your chicken burger recipe. My husband loved it soo much he finished it all in one go. I just want to say thank you soo much for your website because it has been a life saver in these difficult times of isolation. P.S your banana bread is also amazing.


I made a vegan version of this with dry-fried finely julienned firm tofu. I used a mixture of cilantro and basil because that’s what I had on hand, and substituted applewood smoked maple syrup for the plain maple. I also included the raisins.

It was excellent! The raisins add a welcome pop of sweetness that balances out the the spice and creaminess.

I think it was better eaten by itself than on toast (tried it both ways) because the bread dulled the flavors too much. I also warmed some of the leftovers up and tossed in bite-size pieces of pan-fried tortilla for a chilaquiles-esque meal, which worked surprisingly well.

Donna Young

We love this recipe. My husband requests it!
Mix the dressing with my immersion blender in deep bowl. Use less curry as the Penzy curry packs a lot of flavo. Have not waited 2 hours to eat- yummy


Delicious but i definitely added more salt. Im going to try it with jalapenos next time!


Excellent, a nice option for chicken salad if one does not care for mayo.

Annie L.

I made this, and it’s totally delish! I omitted raisins and added a half a red bell pepper and some broken up pecans. It was so good. thank you!

Bob P.

I’ve made this 40-50 times (seriously!) in the past 1-1/2 years. We call it “Green Chicken” and it is a big favorite! I add raisins and walnuts. Served on a toasted whole grain sandwich round with slice of tomato and melted pepper jack cheese. Thanks, Megan!

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