Creamy Crunchy Orange Cashew Chicken Salad uses poached chicken thighs, roasted cashews, and pecans, along with a touch of orange zest and juice. It’s simply the best chicken salad, ever!
My recipe for Orange Cashew Chicken Salad was inspired by a cashew chicken salad I’d had recently while out to lunch with my mom, sister, sister-in-law, niece, and my baby grandniece, Pemberley. Believe it or not, it was our first “ladies lunch,” and I think we all ordered the same thing, except Pemberley of course.
Sometimes there is nothing better than taking the afternoon off to be with friends and family doing girly things, like a ladies lunch. Since I work from home, I find that I occasionally have to force myself to leave the house to do things other than going to the grocery store.
We spent this particular afternoon going to a pottery store, a flea market/craft show, and lunch. It was a wonderful way to reconnect and feed my soul, as well as my tummy. And as a much-needed reminder that there’s a whole world outside of my own four walls, and beyond the window of my computer screen.
It doesn’t mean however that once I’m out and about that, I don’t think about, talk about, and dream about food. I always do, and I probably always will. The inspiration for new recipes is everywhere, and to me, that’s extremely exciting!
To make my Orange Cashew Chicken Salad as flavorful as possible, I decided that I’d use nothing but the most tender and flavorful part of the chicken (in my opinion), the thighs. If you’ve never poached chicken, please don’t be intimidated by doing so. If you can boil water, you can poach chicken! Trust me!
I also chose to pan roast raw cashews and pecans, because that’s what I had in my freezer. But all that said if you choose to make this Orange Cashew Chicken Salad using all white meat chicken breasts, or rotisserie chicken, or store-bought and roasted salted cashews and pecans…GO FOR IT!
I’m not here to say that you have to follow my recipe to the letter. I’m just giving you an outline of a flavor profile that will knock your socks off. On a side note, if using store-bought salted and roasted nuts, I highly suggest you cut back on the amount of salt used when seasoning the chicken salad itself. Always taste before adding additional salt.
(February 2018 update) NOTE – I’ve updated this recipe for Orange Cashew Chicken Salad since I first posted it back in 2015. The video below is the updated version and includes dried cranberries and omits the pecans which you’ll see in the photos. I’m including both recipe versions for you to enjoy. They’re both delicious options, and I know you’ll love either one!
- 4 - 5 cups cut up chicken rotisserie chicken works well
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- ½ cup chopped cashews plus additional for garnish (if desired)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons minced tarragon
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons honey
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until well combined.
- Cover and chill for at least 60 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with additional chopped cashews if desired.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe for Orange Cashew Chicken Salad as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. Should you have any questions regarding this recipe or anything else you see on my site, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly, or leave me a comment in the comment section below. It is always my distinct pleasure to get back to you with a reply just as soon as I possibly can!
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Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!