This recipe is one of our favorite uses of leftover chicken, especially for lunch. It doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be as good as it is (nor does it photograph particularly well), but it’s a tangy and creative twist on the typical mayo-based chicken salad. And it has a chipotle pepper in it, which adds a nice smoky / spicy flavor. In addition to being delicious, it is really easy to make with just a few ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix up the ingredients for the dressing first — barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, and a chopped up chipotle pepper. You can find chipotles in the Mexican food section of the grocery store. They typically come in a small can labeled “chipotle in adobo sauce.” Fun facts — a chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeno and adobo is a type of hot sauce. And it is definitely hot. The recipe calls for one chipotle, which we found to be plenty spicy enough for our taste.
Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. One of the great things about this recipe is that it gives roasted or baked chicken a whole new flavor profile.
Add the dressing to the chicken. The original recipe called for adding the chicken to the dressing, but we ended up having way more dressing than we needed. So we recommend mixing small spoonfuls of the dressing with the chicken until all the chicken pieces are covered with dressing, but the mixture isn’t too soupy.
Add the other salad ingredients — chopped red onion, red bell pepper and cilantro — and a little more dressing if you need it. Salt and pepper to taste (mostly salt.)
We served the salad with an Asian slaw (the slaw was good, but not great and took a long time and a lot of chopping to prepare.) We made this chicken salad another time and had it for lunches — it’s delicious on its own, served with crackers, or in a sandwich.
Finally, did you notice the new pretty pink mixing bowl in the salad photos above? For my birthday this year, my dear friends gave me a gift card from Williams-Sonoma (one of the greatest foodie shopping venues ever.) Among other things, I got these awesome mixing bowls. I love the pastel colors and the fact that each bowl has a handy little spout shape on the end, in case you need to pour the contents out. Thanks Paula and Lindsay!