Summer Sides: Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

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Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

There’s this little salad place down the road from us that makes the most amazing curried chicken salad. Consequently, it’s my BFF and I’s go to spot on a girl’s day out for a gluten free meal that’s not steamed vegetables and tasteless chicken breast. Even my husband who has never been salad’s #1 fan, loves their curried chicken salad. All that to say, I love when creative people take a tired classic like chicken salad and add a twist that makes it so much fresher and tastier.

But, as much as I love curried chicken salad, I also hate mayo and need to avoid dairy as much as possible. The origins of my hatred of mayo are foggy. My mom swears I came out of the womb hating it. Something about the colorlessness and gloppy texture immediately set off my gag reflex. However, I really wanted to be able to make curried chicken salad at home sans mayo.

Most mayo free recipes online will sub in Greek yogurt, which is what I believe my fav salad place does. That’s all well and good as a rare treat for me. I know I’ll end up paying later with an upset tummy and breakout that would rival any teenager. Needless to say, I’d rather avoid that fate, so after some experimentation I’ve come up with the recipe below that is not only mayo free, but dairy free.

The secret ingredient? Coconut milk. Since I went dairy free about 6 years ago, I’ve found coconut milk to be the gold standard of dairy substitutes. The full fat version is uber creamy and the flavor mild. As a matter of fact, I use it in everything from curry to homemade ice cream and coconut milk has yet to let me down. It pairs particularly well with curry spice mix, which is why I think the recipe below is so successful. Hope you enjoy!

Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

Serves 10-12 as a side dish and 4-6 as a meal


For the chicken:

2 chicken breasts, fat removed

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2-1 tsp salt

For the salad:

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

1 bunch of grapes, washed and cut in half

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup roasted, salted almonds

2 green onions, washed and thinly sliced

1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and stems removed

For the dressing:

1 cup full fat coconut milk

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt


Bunch of arugula or baby kale for plating


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Then, line medium sized baking dish with parchment paper or foil.
  • Next, mix together curry, garlic and salt and rub on both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in pan. Place chicken breasts in the heated pan and brown on each side for about 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat depending on the size of your chicken.

Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

  • Remove chicken from pan and place in baking dish. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes depending again on the size of your chicken. My chicken breasts were fairly large so it took the full 15 minutes.
  • Once done, remove chicken from oven and set aside to cool.
  • While the chicken is baking, mix together all salad ingredients into a large bowl.

Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

  • Then, whisk together dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Refrigerate salad and dressing until ready to assemble.
  • Once chicken is cool enough to handle. Slice into thin strips and then dice into bite sized pieces.
  • Mix chicken into salad and then add dressing, insuring everything is thoroughly coated.

Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

  • Finally, line plates with arugula and place the curried chicken salad on top.
  • Now enjoy!

Mayo Free, Dairy Free Curried Chicken Salad

Please comment below with your experience!

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