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Mom’s Curried Chicken and Rice Salad (gf, df)

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Curried Chicken and Rice Salad – One of my favorites from my mom. It makes a great addition to picnics, potlucks, and it’s a GREAT way not to heat up your kitchen on a hot afternoon.

Curried Chicken and Rice Salad // One Lovely Life

There have been very few cravings in my pregnancy so strong I actually needed to do something about them. That isn’t to say I haven’t had loads of cravings, I just usually know I can’t do much about them (i.e. that sun-dried tomato Caprese wrap I had in the airport that one time, my favorite bbq chicken sandwich from a restaurant that doesn’t exist in this state, etc.).

The first few weeks, all I wanted was vegetables (especially freshly-cooked spinach) and toast. Then, green vegetables were ABSOLUTELY out, and fruits, noodles, and potatoes took over. I’m a little more balanced now–the only things I really have a hard time with are lots of cumin, the smell of anything slow-cooking, and sometimes red meat (sight, smell, cooked, uncooked).

Curried Chicken and Rice Salad // One Lovely Life

So, it was really funny to me when out of the blue, I got a craving for one of my mom’s favorite salads to bring to a party. I could NOT stop thinking about it and HAD to make it right away. It’s light, cool, fresh-tasting, and perfectly fits the bill for spring or summer.

That is not to say it doesn’t work fabulously for the fall. Especially when you are pregnant. And it was in the 90s last week. Not that I know from experience or anything. *Cough*

It’s really simple to throw together. You can cook the rice and chicken the night before you want to put the salad together for even speedier day-of assembly. The dressing does continue to be absorbed into the salad, so if it seems a little heavy on the dressing immediately after combining the ingredients, don’t worry. Also, we usually keep the salted cashews separate from the salad while it’s chilling then toss them on right before it’s served to keep them from getting soggy.

**ALSO: this recipe does call for curry powder, but it’s VERY light and does NOT come across as an overwhelming flavor. Still, if you’re nervous, my aunt serves it without the curry and it’s just fine that way too.

Curried Chicken and Rice Salad // One Lovely Life
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Mom’s Curried Chicken and Rice Salad

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  • 34c cooked rice (I use about 3.5 cups)
  • 2c cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2c mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo)*
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp curry powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp pepper
  • 1/2c frozen peas, or more to taste
  • 1c+ salted cashews, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, combine rice, chicken, celery, and green onion.
  2. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry, salt, and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Toss dressing with rice mixture until well-coated. Fold in peas.
  3. Just before serving, top with salted cashews.


*Gluten free/Dairy free notes: not all brands of mayo are gluten/dairy free, but many are. I like Kraft brand olive oil mayo. Best Foods, Earth Balance, and Hellman’s all make gluten and dairy free versions as well.


  1. This is my favorite Summer salad. I love it ‘plain’ and I love it with the curry. Sadly, I’m guessing the lack of ‘comments’ comes from the fact that most of the inhabitants of this country are NOT sweltering in 90 + degree temperatures, and therefore can not imagine eating a ‘summer salad’ at the moment. But people, this is a recipe that you will want to remember when the weather where you live does warm up. The textures and flavors will cool and comfort your taste buds and your heart. It’s yummy!

  2. Daryl gave me this recipe many years ago and it’s one of my absolute, addictive favorites as well!

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