Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Fresh Mex Tomatillo Cilantro Chicken Salad

Cuisine: Fusion
Servings: 6 servings
Turn your basic roast chicken from the grocery store into this fresh and light chicken salad!

When I find myself with extra chicken, I really enjoy preparing a big bowl of chicken salad. It makes for a quick meal when you don’t have the time to cook. The chicken salad I remember was very simple. My mom would shred a whole, cooked chicken and add mayonnaise, cooked diced carrots and peas. Then she would season with salt and pepper, serve over lettuce, and garnish with pickled jalapeño peppers. It was delicious!

If you're not up to cooking a whole chicken, a large roast chicken from the grocery store works for this recipe as well. For this chicken salad recipe, I blended fresh tomatillos with lots of cilantro and added a bit of heat with the jalapeños. Most often, cooked tomatillos are used to prepare salsa verde. I like to use them just like you would a fresh tomato, although they are much more tart than a red tomato. I chose to sauté the onions and garlic to give them a mild and sweet flavor in the chicken salad.


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  1. Shred chicken finely and add to a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for 6 to 8 minutes. In a blender, add all of the ingredients for the fresh tomatillo sauce, including the onion/garlic mix. Blend on high until smooth and taste for salt. Add 3 cups of the fresh tomatillo sauce to the chicken. Stir well to combine, taste for salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining cup of sauce.
  3. Now, this next step is up to you. You could add in the red bell pepper, pickled jalapeños and green onions to the chicken, or you can serve them as a garnish. This way everyone can add what they like. To plate, add some lettuce to a shallow bowl and top with chicken. Garnish as you like, dress the lettuce with the remaining fresh tomatillo cilantro sauce, and serve with chips or crackers.

Chef Notes

I like to remove the pulp from the tomatillos because they release a lot of water when used fresh. You could also replace the mayonnaise with 1 avocado, or add both. I was out of avocado, otherwise I would have used it. It makes the sauce extra creamy.

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