Yep, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve transformed a typically “less healthy” dish into a delicious, refreshing, so-healthy-for-you-you-could-eat-it-every-day treat. Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples to the rescue!
Let’s be real for a minute. Chicken or tuna salad in any way, shape or form, used to be my nemesis. You see, I once had a not-so-healthy relationship with food and thought anything with any amount of fat was the devil, even avocado! (Annndddd I can’t believe I just admitted that.) The good news is, I eventually found my way back to balance and now feel more armed with information on what’s good for me (including healthy fats!) and what’s not, and of course I want to share it all with you J
But, backing up for a minute, I have a serious question to ask you. I’ve touched on it here and there, but you may have picked up by now that part of the reason I am so passionate about balanced living (and eating!) is because of certain personal struggles I’ve had in the past with eating, working out excessively, etc. that I’ve learned to overcome over a very long period of time. Since I started CaliGirl Cooking, I’ve been a bit remiss to write about them, partly due to shyness (the Internet is a big, scary world!), partly due to trying to find my voice in the blogging community, and partly because (as any of my IRL friends would tell you) I just hate putting my fears, problems and struggles on others. I’m such a giver and a fixer that I never want to burden anyone with my troubles or worries.
The thing is, as I continue this blogging journey and my mission to share balanced-living recipes with you all, I want you to understand that I’ve been there too, and it has most DEFINITELY not been an easy (or quick) road for me to get to the mindset, about eating in particular, that I have today. So, tell me, are you interested in hearing my story? If so, I’ll be more than happy to share. I’m here for YOU, and if I can help just one person find their way to a balanced lifestyle a little more quickly than I did, I’ll consider that a success.
The reason I decided to bring this up now is because of this tasty Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples I’m sharing with you and my friends at The Fit Blog today. This reminds me of how far I’ve come in my eating struggles for a couple of reasons. One, I first came across a version of curried chicken salad when I lived in Hawaii, but it was at the height of my struggles with food so I never let myself get it and enjoy it to the fullest. I always looked at it longingly in the deli case and then proceeded to grab fresh mango and a couple of apples as my “snack.” No wonder I was always hungry. Two, I did something about it, and created my own healthy version that gave me all of the same great taste without all of the calories that I was so fearful of (read “tons of mayo”.)
Today, I’m not nearly as fearful of a little fat or mayo as I was back then, but I’ll still welcome a healthy substitute if it tastes just as good as the non-healthy version. Enter this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples. So how did I do it? First off, I subbed in nonfat plain Greek yogurt for the mayo. This is the “savior swap” for me for any salads, dips, etc. that are typically mayonnaise based. It’s thick and creamy, just like the mayo, without all of the fats and other sketchy stuff. The one major difference is that it tends to taste a bit tarter than mayo, so I usually try to balance that out with some other ingredient, in this case, tahini. Other yummy-tasting additions to the Greek yogurt substitute might be miso paste or even just a dash of garlic powder or salt.
That’s really the only major swap we need to make to take the Curried Chicken Salad from indulgent to “healthified.” I do use chicken breasts (as opposed to the dark meat chicken that many of these types of recipes call for), but that’s more of a personal preference as opposed to a health-centered one. Some would argue that breast meat is healthier than thigh meat, but chicken is such a good-for-you, lean protein that you’ll really be fine whichever direction you tend to lean in your day-to-day life.
What I love even more about this recipe is that, once you take out the mayonnaise, all of the other ingredients are already nutritional powerhouses. Curry powder has TONS of health benefits, and the celery and apples give us lots of filling fiber. Not to mention all of the protein from the Greek yogurt, the cashews AND the chicken! Is this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad making you shout “Hallelujah!” yet or what?
Okay, if it’s not, let me give you one more little tip. You can tell that this dish is already great as is for lunches, a light dinner, picnics, snacking, etc. But, the little secret I haven’t let you in on yet is how absolutely, freaking amazing, delicious Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples is when served in a scooped out half of a papaya. Seriously, just give it a shot. If it doesn’t give your taste buds the perfect sweet and spicy balance, it will at least take you to a tropical deserted island somewhere. And that’s all we can ask for on a Wednesday, right?
And please, please, please give me your feedback on whether you’d be interested in a more in-depth post about my struggles in the past and how I’ve come to have the mindset around balanced living that I do today. The longer I do this blogging thing, the more I feel that you all are my “tribe.” I want to be real and honest with you, and at the same time be resource for those of you who may currently be struggling with that balance. As always, I’m here for you @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my other latest contribution to The Fit Blog, Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts.
Hand me a mai tai and I’m set!