This past summer we had been to Portland, Maine for a short family vacation. All the travel websites had described Portland as one of the top cities for food lovers and we indeed found that to be true! The restaurant scene was amazing with a wide variety of cuisines including several restaurants offering a healthy, natural whole foods theme! I was impressed!
One of the days we decided to go hiking in the morning to a state park and thought of packing some food with us to eat at the park. So my husband and I went into a natural foods market and they had an array of freshly made sandwiches and wraps including gluten free and dairy free options like sushi bowls and lettuce wraps etc. Since I cannot do some nuts like almonds, my options were limited. So I ultimately picked a curried chicken wrap since the filling looked enticing – chicken dressed in a cashew coconut curry sauce with shredded cabbage, carrots and other veggies. I did not have much hope for it being that tasty. But boy was I wrong! That chicken and veggie stuffing with the curry dressing was the most delicious salad I had eaten in a while! That curry dressing was just perfect – tangy and sweet with notes of turmeric and ginger. So Yum! I decided then that once back home, I would try to recreate that dressing!
Fortunately two weeks ago, I finally got the chance to create something similar and I was so pleased with the results! This is one amazing salad and one that will also do great with leftover turkey from your thanksgiving feast! In fact I am looking forward to the leftovers now 🙂
What are the ingredients for the salad?
Cooked Chicken / Turkey – This salad is great when you have leftover roast chicken or turkey. However, if the meat is a bit dry, then you can rehydrate it by placing it in a bowl and sprinkling some hot water over it and letting it sit covered for a few minutes.
To cook the chicken or turkey from scratch, you can also use the Instant Pot by cooking the meat with some spices and some water. You can then shred the chicken or turkey for the salad and use the resulting leftover stock for soups.
Crunchy raw veggies: The following vegetables are great in this salad. I like to use vegetables which have a crunch like those included in coleslaw – cabbage, carrots etc. Shredding them thinly makes them easier to chew and digest. I like to include purple cabbage (as it gives the salad an additional burst of color), carrots, lettuce or baby spinach or mixed salad greens. Green apples and celery also go well in this salad. You can any variety of colorful and crunchy vegetables that work for you. Make sure to shred them finely though for the best tasting salads.
What are the ingredients in the curry dressing?
Coconut Milk – Coconut Milk is the base for the dressing to give it a creamy and sweet rich taste. It is also a perfect vehicle for turmeric. I prefer an additive free brand like Native Forest Simple or homemade coconut milk.
Cashew nuts – Cashew nuts provide an additional richness to the dressing however you can totally make this dressing without them too if you are in AIP elimination phase and it will still be delicious! If you have been able to reintroduce cashew nuts successfully, then I highly recommend you add these for the additional richness!
Fresh ginger root – Fresh ginger root gives that spicy yet refreshing kick to this dressing. You can sub with dried ginger or ground ginger if you don’t have fresh ginger but I really recommend using fresh ginger.
Ground Turmeric – Turmeric complements ginger and lemon very well and gives the dressing that bright pop of color!
Lemon Juice and apple cider vinegar – These provide the right balance of acidity yet not making it too sour.
Honey – Honey imparts the sweetness which balances the sourness as well as the spices. Honey due to its natural thickness also adds body to the dressing making it creamy. You can sub with maple syrup but I highly recommend using honey in this recipe!
Sea salt – Sea salt helps to balance all the flavors together.
Alright, let’s get to the recipe!
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp of grated fresh ginger (or use ¼ tsp of ground ginger)
- 5 cashew nuts soaked in hot water for 15 mins or more (OMIT for AIP)
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted) or avocado oil
- 1 tbsp runny raw honey
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey (see notes on cooking methods)
- 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 1 celery stalk, chopped fine
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ of a green apple, sliced thinly (optional)
- handful of raisins (optional)
- Add all dressing ingredients to a small food processor jar and blend till smooth and creamy. transfer to a small jar and keep aside.
- Place all the shredded vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Place the shredded chicken / turkey over the vegetables. Add the raisins (if adding). Pour the dressing over the chicken and the vegetables just before serving!
To cook the chicken or turkey from scratch, you can also use the Instant Pot by cooking the meat with some spices and some water. You can use the leftover stock for soups.
Other recipes for turkey – Turkey Congee Soup (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)