Ginger Basil Chicken Salad
This Ginger Basil Chicken salad is an absolute flavor bomb. With fresh herbs like basil and rosemary, a hint of curry spice, and an intoxicating gingery kick, this is the opposite of blah and boring chicken salad. Walnuts and bits of carrot and celery add plenty of crunch, while a topping of red grapes adds just enough juicy sweetness to help those heady flavors POP.
This recipe happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-carb. It's also Paleo aside from the crystallized ginger (see Chef's Notes for substitutions).
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This recipe was created by my husband, Noah, who is a great cook. Noah and I both love to cook, and we love to cook together. He is the master of big, bold flavors and I always go to him for advice on things like marinades and dry rubs, and any kind of meat or grilling project.
Noah was the mastermind behind these Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms and Bacon, as well as this Ginger Basil Chicken Salad, which he came up with when we were in college... back at the end of the last century (yikes). One of Noah's favorite flavors is ginger, which is the shining star in this delicious chicken salad.
The only reason I haven't posted this recipe sooner is that it uses a small amount of crystallized (a.k.a. candied) ginger. I try to avoid the use of ingredients that use refined sugar here on Hypothyroid Chef, but in this case, I decided to leave in the crystallized ginger.
This recipe uses such a small amount, and after unsuccessfully tinkering with alternatives, I realized that crystallized ginger is key to the overall flavor profile. I reduced the amount as much as possible, and this recipe still falls into the low-carb category. If you are currently avoiding refined sugar in any amount, you could try a substitution like chopped golden raisins.
- Chicken is a very good source of selenium, which helps to regulate the production of thyroid hormone, convert T4 to T3, and protect the thyroid from stress. A 3-ounce serving of chicken also provides 84% RDI of the essential amino acid Tyrosine, which the thyroid gland combines with iodine to produce thyroid hormone.
- Ginger aids in relieving both the inflammation and the sensitivity to cold sometimes caused by thyroid disease.
- Walnuts are higher than any other nut in antioxidants and significantly higher in anti-inflammatory Omega-3's. Studies have shown that walnuts also contribute to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and the lowering of cholesterol. Walnuts also happen to be on the long list of goitrogenic foods, which most experts consider safe (and beneficial) to eat in reasonable amounts, and cooked when possible. If you are avoiding all goitrogens, you can substitute macadamia nuts in this recipe.