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Chopped Salad with Lemon-Chipotle Dressing

This big salad, made with cooked chicken, is perfect for a hot night when you don’t want to cook. Bold chipotle chilies perk up the lemon-basil dressing. Serve it with crusty bread and finish with cooling slices of fresh melon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 roast chicken, about 2 lb.
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard 
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 6 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, with sauce
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Persian or Asian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 to 2 romaine hearts, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large avocado, firm but ripe, pitted, peeled and diced

Directions:

Pull the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large salad bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard and lemon juice and whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Mix in the basil, shallot and chipotle chilies with their sauce. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Stir 1/4 cup of the dressing into the chicken and let marinate while preparing the remaining ingredients.

Stir the cucumbers, tomatoes and bell pepper into the chicken, then stir in the lettuce. Add enough dressing to lightly coat the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the avocado and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Quick Tips: Purchase a rotisserie chicken from your local market—it takes only minutes to pull the meat from the bones and cut it into bite-size pieces. The dressing can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated; stir in the vegetables just before serving. For a meatless version, replace the chicken pieces with 2 cans (each 15 oz.) chickpeas. Simmer the chickpeas with 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup of the dressing for 5 minutes; cool before using.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).