Poblano Chicken Salad

Poblano Chicken Salad

I was never one to go for chicken salad. I thought it too mushy, too mayonnaise-y and bland. This was my stance on the ubiquitous cafeteria fare until I got to college, where there was a sandwich place on campus that was only open for lunch. They made all kinds of sandwiches to order and the line was generally out the door. Bored of turkey and tuna, I bravely ordered the chicken salad after much urging from my friends. That sandwich was a revelation. Yes, it was chicken salad, but it was made with pieces of real chicken and studded with slightly crunchy celery and red onions. Sure it was covered in mayonnaise, but it was delicious with some salt and vinegar chips and a Diet Coke. This lunch sustained me for 4 years in Boston and fueled many afternoon shifts at the Student Services counter.

Poblano Chicken Salad

Fast forward an undisclosed number of years and I still don’t really like chicken salad all that much. Unless it’s made right, I don’t want it at all. Though I loved my college lunch, this poblano chicken salad has nothing to do with the standard cafeteria fare. It all starts with real chicken. Chicken thighs, to be exact. I rub them in olive oil and chili powder and roast them alongside whole poblano peppers. The chicken emerges from the oven juicy and flavorful, poblanos soft and smoky. The peppers’ skin is removed, seeds discarded and the flesh is blended with just a little bit of mayonnaise and lime juice. This spicy, creamy and tangy sauce is mixed with red onions (for crunch) and the shredded chicken into the most wonderful salad.

Squashed between two slices of whole wheat bread, it’s lunch nirvana, something to sustain me through long afternoon meetings.

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15 Comments

  1. What a great idea!! I recently discovered poblanos and i am in love. I def will be making this. Thanks for a great post..

  2. I’ve got a boat load of poblanos that I can’t wait to use with this recipe. It sounds fantastic!

  3. this sounds so good! i love the idea of poblano mayo instead of the now-ubiquitous chipotle mayo.

  4. man oh man oh man! does that look delicious!

  5. My mind is a little blown! I really usually dislike chicken salad for the same reason! Too much mayo. Bleck! But I love that you used just a little bit, but added so much flavor from the peppers, lime, and seasonings. I can’t wait to try this. I might use soft tofu instead of mayo, since I find it gives a similar texture and absorbs flavors well. :) Thanks for the idea!

  6. This recipe inspired me this morning to go out and get chicken, rather than have pasta again tonight.
    I am really looking forward to dinner now ! :)

  7. Oh my goodness! I like chicken salad, but for some reason rarely make it. I sometimes add lemon juice to the mix, to thin out the mayo. This sounds fabulous, though; it never would’ve occurred to me to add poblano peppers (which I puffy heart absolutely love.) Thanks for the idea.

  8. So true! I love this interesting option! I will have to try it!

  9. THAnk you! I have 3 poblano plants that have about 30 peppers in all, so I really, really needed something (different) to do with them besides stuff them and bake them! I cannot wait to try this chicken salad.

  10. Thanks everyone! Julie – Let me know how it turns out with the soft tofu. Sounds like a really great option for more protein :)

  11. I just made this recipe yesterday and it’s delish! The poblano mayo is awesome. The only thing I did differently is add extra lime because I love the extra citrus tangy-ness. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  12. I just came across your blog by way of http://www.thekitchn.com and I love it! You’ve given me a long list of dishes to try! Thanks!!

  13. Hi there – I never comment, but I do visit your site often. (I found it by accident with your awesome domain name haha)

    Soooo I made this today and felt compelled write my first comment to tell you THANK YOU. This is really really yummy and not sure I can go back to regular old chicken salad again. :)

    Great recipe, I’m stashing it for future uses. :)

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