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When temperatures are running high, and you are running hungry, what sounds more refreshing and healthy than cold chicken salad?

Unfortunately, just because a dish has the words chicken and salad in it, doesn’t mean it’s light or healthy.

Before I started paying attention to what I was feeding my friends and family, I’d sometimes use the Paula Deen recipe for curried chicken salad…not realizing that the one whole cup of mayonnaise it called for was adding 1500 calories and 160 grams of fat!!!

Other times, I’d use the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which includes one and a half cups of mayo (2250 calories and 240 grams of fat), as well as one cup of cashews…which adds another 788 calories and another 64 grams of fat!

With no disrespect to Paula or Ina, if my family kept eating their versions of chicken salad, there was slim chance anyone in our house was going to get skinny.  But I wasn’t ready to totally toss the salad, I just had to find a better way.

In this new recipe, I’ve removed all of the heart stopping mayonnaise and, instead, use fat free yogurt and fat free whipped cream for the creamy richness.  I’ve also added 4 times the amount of chopped fruit and vegetables for extra fiber, sweetness and crunch.


And what makes Skinny Chick salad really special, is that the amount of chicken is cut from 6 cups (1500 calories), to just 2 cups (500 calories)–with cauliflower roasted in Indian spices pretending to be the rest of the bird.

Honestly, my family and friends now prefer this new version….not only because of its low calorie count, but for its better taste and crunchy texture.

So make a date with your favorite Ladies Who Lunch, and tell them you’re inviting a new friend…one that’s a Real Skinny Chick!


2 cups chopped Indian Grilled Chicken

4 cups chopped Indian Spice Roasted Cauliflower (recipe below)

2 cups red seedless grapes, sliced in half

2 cups apples, small dice, skin on

2 cups celery, small dice

1 bunch green onion, chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

3/4 cup Cool Whip Free

2 T white balsamic vinegar

1 T Dijon mustard

1 t curry powder

salt to taste

Mix ingredients together and set aside.


Preheat oven to 425, roughly chop 1 head of cauliflower and toss on a lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with:

2 t Old Bay Seasoning

2 t curry powder

1 t ground coriander

1 t garlic salt

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t cinnamon

Roast for 25 minutes. When cool, chop into pieces that are the same size as the chopped chicken. (You want it to blend together so that it’s hard to know which is which.)


Toss together the chicken, cauliflower, grapes, apple, celery, green onion and walnuts.

Add the dressing and taste for seasonings…but be gentle if adding more, the seasonings on the cauliflower and chicken will meld with the dressing as it sits and the flavors will intensify.

Let the salad rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Better the next day.

For the skinniest meal, serve on a plate of greens… adding a squeeze of lime to add a cool crisp note.

If you’ve met your weight loss goal, or are hosting a lunch for friends, try serving it on  toasted flourless, low-glycemic Ezekiel raisin bread.  It’s crunchy, pretty, and doesn’t have the sugar content of regular raisin bread… which would be much too sweet for this already sweet salad.

And, as a skinny snack, try it with a few corn chips… or a couple of slices of Wasa bread for a cold and curried Skinny Crostini!

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
This entry was posted in Fit For Kids, Low Meat Mains, Skinny Salads, Skinny Sides and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Andre-Ann says:

    Today for lunch I didn’t know what to make, so I looked up this recipe and I almost had everything to make it. I didn’t have the Old bay seasoning, which I don’t think they sell in Canada. But, however I found a recipe online to make some! There’s also a lot of fat-free product that are not sold in Canada, like the Cool Whip Free, however we have the 95% less fat version, which is what I used.
    I’ve cut down the recipe to 1/4 and substituted the chicken for a can of chunk tuna.
    It was pretty good, but I’m sure it taste a whole lot better with that spiced chicken.
    So, I’ll have to try that some other time.
    Thanks for the great recipes!

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Oh, Andre-Ann, I now feel so guilty for not posting the Skinny Tuna Salad recipe! I promise, after I post this back-log of recipes I have waiting to edit, I will post it just for you! Just so you know, the key, AGAIN, is to make sure that you remember to Eat More Things That Grow and Fewer Things That Walk (or, in this case, swim!) By making sure 80 percent of the recipe is vegetable..which for tuna salad means lots of celery, pickles, sweet peppers, green onions and fresh dill…you still get all the protein you need and tons of taste, texture and tummy filling fiber. But I am super proud of you for doing what I want everyone to do..which is PLAY WITH THEIR FOOD! xolmc 🙂

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