Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

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!

Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

This recipe 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. It was our first "ladies lunch," and I think we all ordered the same thing, except Pemberley of course.

Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

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 go 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.

Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

That 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!

Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

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.

Yield: 5 cups      Prep Time: 30 minutes        Chill Time:  1 hour

To poach the chicken:  (or use 4 cups diced chicken)
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt

To make the roasted nuts: (or use 3/4 cups chopped roasted, salted nuts)
½ cup chopped raw cashews
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
pinch black pepper

For the salad:
1 large shallot, minced
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
season with salt and pepper to taste

-If poaching the chicken breasts, place in a medium sauce pan with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and allow the thighs to simmer for approximately 15 or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain and allow the thighs to cool. Once cool, cut the chicken into small 1" pieces.

-Meanwhile, if roasting your own nuts, place them in a small skillet with the oil, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes, making sure to watch them carefully so they do not burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

-In a large bowl, stir together the cooked chicken, roasted nuts, shallot, celery, tarragon, orange zest and juice, mayonnaise, honey, and Dijon mustard. If needed, season with additional salt and pepper.

-Cover and allow to chill in the fridge at least 1 hour for the flavors to develop and marry.

-Serve as a sandwich or with your favorite salad. Perfect for ladies luncheons, showers or anytime you're looking to wow your taste buds with something amazing!

Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

Orange Cashew Chicken Salad

I think the recipe for Orange Cashew Chicken Salad coordinates perfectly with this hand towel that I painted and that is available in my shop. The towel was a special order design request, but I love how it turned out so much when it was finished that I've added it as a regular item.

Orange Marmalade and Toast Painted Tea Towel

If there is ever anything I can paint for you, from fabrics such as tea towels to aprons, to painted glassware items, please don't hesitate to contact me or visit my shop on Etsy. Custom orders are always welcome, and I'll happy design and work from any photo or description you send my way.

Kudos Kitchen by Renee ~ Where food, art, and fun collide on a regular basis!

Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!

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