I’ve got a major beef to pick with whomever gave “chicken salad” it’s misnomer. Chicken caesar salad? Chinese chicken salad? Buffalo chicken salad? Those are all salads. With chicken. Hence, “chicken salad.” But chopped chicken with various spices mixed with mayo? Where the heck does the salad part come in?
This lovely food, which is perfect for summer lunches, should go by some other name. Chicken sandwich spread? Unappetizing. Chunky chicken delight? Worse. Mayonnaise chicken surprise? Oh, the horror.
Alright. I give. Chicken salad is a pretty decent name. It’s not glamorous or perfectly descriptive, but it works. I’m calling this variety chipotle chicken salad because it uses chipotle mayo instead of regular, lending it a smoky, subtle spice. It’s crunchy, fresh, and it only gets better as it sits in the refrigerator.
Ready? Grab some chicken pieces that have been cooked and cooled. You can roast your own or go with a grocery store rotisserie chicken. You’ll also need celery, green onions, and chipotle mayo. I’ve seen a few varieties on grocery store shelves, but I prefer to make my own.
Lop off the roots and very bright green parts of the green onions…
…and give ‘em a quick dice.
Do the same with the celery—the ends tend to taste bitter.
Run your knife down the length of each stalk three times to create four long, skinny pieces.
Dice the lengths into about 1/4″ chunks.
Cut up your cooked, cooled chicken. I like about a 1/2″ dice, but whatever you prefer is fine.
Toss your prepared ingredients into a large bowl.
Stir in the chipotle mayo and mix until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This “salad” (and I say that begrudgingly) is delicious on top of greens, made into a sandwich, or grilled on a panini with a little provolone. I like it on top of these mini bagels because they’re cute and tasty.
If you come up for a better name for this dish, let me know. Until then, I’ll be wallowing with my head in my poorly-named, but extremely delicious, chipotle chicken salad.
Chipotle Chicken Salad
Feel free to get creative with the vegetables and add-ins. Nuts, peppers, and dried fruit all go great in chicken salad.
- 4 pieces cooked, cooled chicken (breasts and thighs work best)
- 3 stalks celery, washed and trimmed
- 3 green onions (scallions), trimmed of stems and very bright green parts
- 3/4 cup chipotle mayo (store bought or homemade)
- salt and pepper
Dice the chicken into 1/2″ pieces. Make 3 vertical slices down each stalk of celery and then dice into 1/4″ pieces. Dice green onion finely. Mix together chicken, celery and green onions in a large bowl. Stir in chipotle mayo until the mixture is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.