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This “fiesta” chicken salad is so simple that the party will start in about 30 minutes…

This "fiesta" chicken salad is so simple that the party will start in about 30 minutes... Follow Me on Pinterest Let’s hear it for leftover bits of cooked chicken! Don’t you love planned leftovers? When I find whole hens on sale I snag two and head right home to brine and roast them. Two good sized hens provide a generous eight meals.

For a salad like this, breast meat is my preference. The white of the meat against all the color is bright and appealing. The cube-cut adds a nice architectural element. The white meat also absorbs the dressing more readily than the dark meat. Since the sauce is critical to pulling all the flavors together, the spongy white meat is prime for this salad.

With the chicken already cooked, your very tasty salad goes together in less than 30 minutes. The big thing is planning. Check in advance to ensure you have all the ingredients on hand and you will have an almost-instant dinner for four.

When it comes to adding fresh hot pepper, it’s important to know your pepper. Always test it before deciding just how much to add to your recipe. The recipe below calls for one jalapeño. My family would be happy with two. Your family may want a half of one.

The way I usually check for heat in a pepper is to cut off the stem end with a slice of the pepper still clinging to the stem. I just touch that slice of pepper to my tongue for a few seconds. Then I KNOW! So will you.

Have I mentioned “delicious”? I almost forgot to say that this dish will have you wanting to lick your plate at the end. Yes, I know you wouldn’t do that but you will think about it. It is flavor on parade!

Good for company? Absolutely! Or just treat yourself.

Fiesta Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken (preferable white meat)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

Dressing Ingredients

This "fiesta" chicken salad is so simple that the party will start in about 30 minutes... Follow Me on Pinterest

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon tequila (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Fiesta Chicken Salad Steps

  1. Combine all the salad ingredients except the orange in a medium bowl. Gently toss to combine the ingredients and coat the chicken with oil.
  2. Set the chicken mix aside to let the flavors blend while you peel and slice the orange and prepare the dressing.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a cup. Set aside.
  4. Lay the orange slices out divided among four plates.
  5. Stir the chicken mixture to blend the flavors and then divide the chicken between the four plates. Pile the chicken on top of the orange slices.
  6. Divide the dressing between the salads, drizzling as you go.
  7. Garnish the salads with sprigs of cilantro or parsley.

Serve with pride. (No one needs to know how totally quick and simple this is.)