creamy chipotle chicken penne salad

★★★★★ 3
a recipe by
Bobbi Jo Woods
Saint Paul, MN

Not long ago, I had never cooked using chipotle peppers, let alone much ate things with them. The chipotle (pronounced chee-POTE-lay) is a smoked jalepeño pepper, usually sold dried in whole pieces, or canned in a vinegary red adobo sauce. I accidentally acquired a can of these smoky, zesty goodies, and put them in the pantry for later, not knowing what to do with them. I heard they paired well with eggs, were in things like barbecue sauces and salsas, but didn't know much else about 'em. After being invited to a group picnic this summer, I got nervous because I was short on time (and food in my pantry). I had some dry pasta, leftover rotisserie chicken, and not much else. A light bulb went off in my head, and this recipe is a result of my quick thinking and creativity. It was a huge hit at the picnic; people practically fought to take some home with them and even begged for the recipe. The chipotle is your friend! I'm glad I became familiar with the little buggers and came to love them. Hope you enjoy!

★★★★★ 3
serves a crowd
prep time 10 Min
cook time 15 Min

Ingredients For creamy chipotle chicken penne salad

  • 1 8oz pkg
    penne pasta
  • 1 lb
    chicken, cooked
  • 1 sm
  • 1/2 pt
    cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 c
  • 4 tsp
    chipotles in adobo
  • 3 Tbsp
    ranch dressing

How To Make creamy chipotle chicken penne salad

  • 1
    Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • 2
    While pasta is cooking, dice or shred chicken (however you like it, and remove the skin, if desired) peel and dice onion coarsely, rinse and quarter cherry tomatoes.
  • 3
    Drain pasta and rinse in cold water, set aside.
  • 4
    Open can of chipotles in adobo sauce (found in Mexican aisle of grocery store) and with a spoon, remove a couple of the peppers (2-4 should do) and some of the sauce, set aside. Store remainder in a tightly sealed jar (will keep for months in the refrigerator).
  • 5
    In a food chopper/processor, pulse the pepper and sauce a few times until you have a slight chunky puree (the desired consistency is when the peppers break down into small flakes).
  • 6
    In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ranch dressing and chopped peppers in sauce with a spoon. Add just a little of the peppers at a time, tasting the dressing as you go to ensure it's not too spicy for your taste. If it's just a bit spicy and salty, that's perfect - the dressing will absorb into the pasta salad while chilling and won't be too bland or too rich.
  • 7
    In a large bowl, toss pasta with chopped cooked chicken, diced onion and quartered tomatoes.
  • 8
    Fold the dressing mixture into the pasta and veggies. Chill for at least one hour and serve. Tastes even better the next day or two!

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