Southwestern Chicken Salad

Jump to Recipe

Hello. It’s only been three years and one pandemic since we last met. Welcome to Remember March, when we were winning lockdown – bread baking, family games, Zoom cocktail parties and then we weren’t. One day, amid world chaos and cooking apathy, I found a morsel of renewal on my bookshelves. Why not make something from one cookbook each day. And to further restrict my time, let’s pick books in their shelf order. I can give you a thousand reasons why this was a bad idea, but here I am. Counting days, counting cookbooks. Some people like shoes. I like cookbooks – 200 of them, which will take me until Christmas. After being a month into this confinement, I’ve fallen back in love with a few books, definitely tossed out others (Betty Crocker and her “oriental” ingredients for one) and come across some recipes worth sharing and recording. I’m no influencer. This little website is a place for my favorite recipes that I return to often and so does bff Elizabeth which is good enough for me. With that, I will on occasion post of few of my cookbook finds. Today, is from The Very Best of Recipes for Health from Martha Rose Shulman, a cookbook that chronicles the best of her New York Times contributions.

southwestern chicken salad

4 servings

Preptime: 30 min.

Southwestern chicken salad is loaded with complex flavors, earned from lime and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and yet light. The latter is an easy find in the grocer’s Latin food section.

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. buttermilk (substitution here)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground (can use ground cumin, but taste as you add)
  1. Mix together the oil, buttermilk, 2 T of chicken broth, and the remainder of ingredients. If you like a thinner dressing, add more chicken broth.

For the salad:

  • 3 cups poached, shredded chicken breasts (can use store-bought rotisserie chicken, leftover or poaching recipe below)
  • S&P to taster
  • 6 large radishes – 4 diced, 2 sliced
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and cut into thin strips – these are spicy, I only used 2.
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves, sliced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small avocado, sliced
  1. Place chicken in large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss with diced radishes, cilantro, chipotle chiles and all but about 2 Tbsp of dressing. Taste as you go because you may not want that much dressing in the chicken. 
  3. Toss the lettuce with the remaining dressing, arrange in bowl or platter.
  4. Top with chicken, sliced radishes, tomatoes and avocado.

Poached chicken (it’s good if you have time and makes it’s own stock):

  • 1 small onion quartered
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 gloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme or oregano
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Combine 2 quarts water, onion, garlic in large pot and bring to simmer.
  2. Add chicken, bring to simmer and skim off any foam and then add herbs
  3. Partially cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add salt, allow chicken to cool in stock.
  5. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. 


  • Omit or add any vegetables you have on hand. 
  • I stock jar of minced garlic, boxed chicken broth
  • Purchase poached, roasted and shredded chicken

recipe slightly modified from Best Recipes for Health and provided by your friends at


  1. mary klauzer says Aug 3rd 2020 9:41 am

    LOVED seeing you in my in-box! The recipe looks fab…I’ve already printed—yeap, I still print 🙂 Since Nancy is the only other human I see maybe I’ll make it to share with her?!? Hope to see you soon… mk

  2. Elizabeth says Aug 16th 2020 3:11 pm

    Will definitely make this. Perfect for hot summer.Def buying the rotisserie chicken; poaching scares me. Can’t even do it with eggs.

Leave a Reply