I received free samples of Wonderful Pistachios mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
February is American Heart Month so I decided to test out a few recipes that could be considered heart healthy. If you know me, you likely already know that I’ll never claim a “superfood” has the ability to prevent disease. The big picture of our diet as a whole is far more important. But there are always ways to boost the nutrition in a recipe. My favorite way to do that? Add something in, don’t take something out!
This twist on the classic chicken salad does exactly that. Instead of seasoning foods with lots of added salt (increasing the sodium in one’s diet) I like to turn to spices and herbs for seasoning. Bold flavors can make for a more interesting eating experience, which helps us stay mindful to enjoy our food and savor the flavors. I also wanted to boost the fiber (added bonus: gut health and regularity!) so you’ll see whole grain bread and this recipe’s featured ingredient, Wonderful Pistachios.
Pistachios bring a lot to the table because of their nutrition profile – they are one of the highest protein and fiber snack nuts, so it’s no surprise they’re sometimes called The Fit Nut™. They’re also known as The Colorful Nut™ because they’re one option to snack more colorfully. Pistachios get their green, red, and purple hues from antioxidants that carry health benefits.
Pistachios add a satisfying crunch to meals and snacks, which is why I enjoy incorporating them into recipes like this one. You’ll also catch me adding them to salads, mixing them into grain-based side dishes, or crushing them up so I can mix them into my oatmeal or a smoothie. I enjoy them as a stand alone snack too (pistachios are also called The Happy Nut™ because they help you snack happy!). I really enjoyed the shelled version I received from Wonderful Pistachios – I was able to enjoy pistachios much more easily on the go because I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to discard the empty shells!
I like to cut corners in the kitchen when I can, plus I like ingredients that serve dual purposes. That’s why I opted to use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. It saved me a lot of time cooking the chicken breasts (which I could have easily done, but didn’t really want to). I then had other dark meat that I used in a taco dish for a simple dinner PLUS I was able to use the bones for some homemade chicken stock. Even though this was a more expensive purchase, it really paid off with the convenience and the stock I made for next to nothing is going to get me through a lot of future meals.
I played around with the seasonings quite a bit with this too and decided I wanted a little more heat and curry flavor. You can always adjust the seasonings to more closely match your personal tastes – that’s part of the fun of cooking!
Not feeling the sandwich vibes? This mixture would work well in a wrap (either a traditional sandwich wrap or lettuce/greens) or served up on a salad with even more of the leafy green stuff. I layered some extra shredded carrots on my sandwich too, so there’s room to really pump up the veggie content. Finally, I added a few extra pistachios before topping my sandwich to get even more of that satisfying crunch.
Check out the full recipe here:
Curried Pistachio Chicken Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 cups chopped or shredded white meat chicken (cooked)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup Wonderful Pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 cup spring mix or baby spinach
8 slices whole grain sandwich bread
In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken, carrots, pistachios, apricots, and sliced green onions. Stir together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder, lemon zest, and red chili flakes. Combine well, then spoon over the chicken mixture in the larger bowl. Gently fold together until all ingredients are evenly coated and well distributed.
Layer 1/4 of the leafy greens on top of one slice of whole grain sandwich bread. Spoon 1/4 of the chicken salad mixture on top, then place a second slice of sandwich bread on top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to build four sandwiches. Slice in half and serve immediately, or wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days.
If cooking chicken breasts, allow additional time to fully cook the chicken and allow it to cool before shredding.
If not eating immediately, consider storing the chicken salad mixture separately from the sandwich bread to avoid a soggy sandwich.
And if you like the concept of some kind of salad on a sandwich, check out this version that uses smashed chickpeas and hummus!
Be sure to check out the other ways The Recipe ReDux bloggers #GetCrackin’! The Recipe ReDux is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, so you can count on a combo of great taste and nutrition no matter what the theme is!