Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe with Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, and Basil (Low-Carb)

I love every ingredient in this Spicy Chicken Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, and Basil, but it's the spicy peanut butter dressing that really makes this good!

Spicy Chicken Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, and Basil found on

When I taught school I had a Friday-night routine of stopping at Costco, where I'd pick up rotisserie chicken for dinner and then over the weekend I'd use the leftover chicken in a variety of dishes.  Even now that I'm working at home, I still love those rotisserie chickens, and since I've indulged in this rotisserie chicken fondness so many times, I've tried many variations of things to make from the leftover chicken. This Spicy Chicken Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, and Basil is one of my favorites, partly because I love the spicy peanut butter dressing!  This salad is so good, whenever I make it I wish I had more leftover chicken so I could make it again right away.  I love this with regular fresh basil, but if you have Thai Basil on hand, that's even better.  I guess it's time to pick up another chicken from Costco!

(Spicy Chicken Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, and Basil was updated with improved photos and step-by-step instructions, June 2013.) 

The spicy dressing with peanut butter is what makes this salad so good.  Combine the peanut oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener of your choice, sesame oil, ginger puree, and Sriracha (or you can use Thai curry paste for a slightly different flavor.)

You'll need about 1 cup of chopped leftover chicken for each salad.

Combine the chicken with 1-2 T of the dressing and let it hang out while you chop the veggies.

For each salad you'll need some chopped cucumber, sliced fresh basil, slivers of red bell pepper, and sliced sugar snap peas.

Use 1 cup of chopped Romaine lettuce for each salad.

When everything is ready, combine the chicken that's been marinating in the dressing with the other ingredients and toss.

Then add as much additional dressing as you'd like, depending on how wet you prefer your salads.  Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Salad
And here's the original photo of this salad from back in 2007; pretty bad!  I always enjoy updating these old favorites with new photos but it's especially satisfying when the original photo is this ghastly.

Leftover Chicken Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumbers, Red Bell Pepper, and Basil
(Makes enough dressing 3-4 salads, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from many chicken salad recipes.)

Ingredients for each salad:
1 cup leftover chicken, shredded or chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, each sliced diagonally into 3-4 pieces
1/4 cup slivered red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil (or you could also use cilantro, mint, or Thai basil)
1 T chopped peanuts (optional; I originally used the peanuts but when I updated the recipe I omitted and just had a little more dressing!)
salt to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 T rice vinegar (not seasoned rice vinegar, which contains sugar)
2 T soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
1 tsp. Splenda, Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, Agave nectar, or sugar (Use Splenda, Stevia, or Agave for South Beach Diet)
1/2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground ginger or ginger puree (can also use finely grated fresh ginger)
1/4 cup peanut butter (use natural peanut butter without added sugar for South Beach Diet)
1/2 tsp. Sriracha Rooster Sauce or Thai red curry paste (or use your favorite hot sauce)

Combine peanut oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener of your choice, sesame oil, ginger puree, and Sriracha or Thai Red Curry Paste in food processor or mini-processor and mix until well combined. Taste to see if you want to add more sweetness or hotness.

Chop as much chicken as you need for the number of salads you're making; then  combine 1 cup chicken with 1-2 tablespoon dressing and let chicken soak in the dressing while you chop other ingredients.

Chop lettuce and cucumber and slice the sugar snap peas, red pepper and basil.   Toss the vegetables and basil together with the chicken that's been marinating in the dressing.  Then add additional dressing to taste, depending on how wet you like your salads.  Serve topped with chopped peanuts and additional basil if desired.

This dressing is also great tossed with cooked whole wheat spaghetti and all the salad ingredients except the lettuce for a slightly different combination.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
Made with Splenda, Stevia, or Agave nectar, this is perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet and approved for most other low-carb eating plans. (Agave nectar does contain fructose, the same sweetener in fruit, but since the dressing only contains one teaspoon, I don't think it's significant.)  Remember the limit on nuts when you're eating this, and if you are eating it for Phase One I'd skip the optional peanuts sprinkled on at the end.  The variation with whole wheat spaghetti is great for Phase 2.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Salads with Leftover Chicken:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Chicken Salad ~ Simply Recipes

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Quinoa with Leftover Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, and Balsamic Vinaigrette ~ Amateur Gourmet

Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad with Cafe Rio Style Cream Tomatillo Dressing ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Mexican Chicken Salad ~ Confections of a Foodie Bride

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. This look delicious. Visit my blog. I am from Brasil.

    See you...

  2. That does sound delicious! We have little store fronts that do rotisserie chicken on Saturday's... I may have to pick one up next week!

  3. I think my favorite dish to see on your site is a do some amazing things here and I have quite a list of salads I want to try...I think this one is going to be topping that list...very yum!

  4. The spicy dressing for this sounds delicious, especially with the Thai basil in the salad. My Thai basil is abundant in the herb garden right now, so this will be a good recipe to try. (and you are sooooo right about the Costco chickens!)

  5. Kalyn, that looks wonderful! I was just thinking today about things to do with leftover roast chickent. I am definitely adding this to my list! It has all the flavors I love.

  6. I always come away from Costco with too much stuff!!!Their rotisserie chicken is excellent in a pinch when you don't feel like cooking or it is too hot.

  7. I love your site. I found you through google (south beach diet). I've added you to my google reader!!!!

  8. I really love your blog, I just came across it today for the first time. Thanks for all of your clever tips & tasty recipes!

  9. I've been trying to get some of the garden produce under control today, making tomato sauce and using some of my huge abundance of green peppers. I'm so glad people think this salad looks good, I truly loved it!

  10. I love seeing the many ideas foodies come up with for the famous Costco roast chicken- this one looks delicious. Just what I need- another excuse to go to Costco!

  11. Having leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge is always good. The dressing sounds tasty. I will have to see if I can find some Thai basil to try.

  12. What a fabulous idea. I will have to remember this next time I am coming home from work and stuck for a quick dinner idea.

  13. Kslyn--there is a blogger copying your entire blog posts, photos and all, claiming they are hers (or his--the name is Chris.) I cannot find your email to send you a link to the offending blog, but I really want you to know about it.

    Please email me at

  14. Barbara, thank you so much. I heard about it from a few other people and I've reported them to Wordpress as well as leaving comments asking them to remove my stuff.

  15. I found your blog recently via Epicurious - the recipes look great. :-) But reading your site really keeps making me wish I were back home in the States again as you make me miss Costco! It's not the sort of place you find here in Eastern Europe.

  16. Colleen, sorry to set off some serious Costco envy! Living in Europe for a while sounds very fun to me, but yes, I might miss Costco a lot.

  17. I made this over the weekend and it is excellent! JD :-)

  18. JD, thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it!

  19. Hot summer days call out for light delicious salads..... This looks so delicious and unique.

  20. That peanut dressing looks just perfect; I love everything in it, and all of those ingredients are always in my pantry.

  21. Kim, glad you like it!

    Lydia, me too. I love it when I can come up with a great combo from things I always have around.

  22. Hi, Kalyn. This looks delicious. But I need a little clarification. Your recipe calls for "1/4 peanut butter." I assume this means 1/4 cup, but then the printer friendly recipe lists "2 T peanut butter." Could you please clear this up? Thanks.

  23. Hi KatesMom. Thank You for catching that. I did increase the peanut butter from 2 T to 1/4 cup when I updated the recipe and then apparently forgot to update the printer friendly version (duh.) You can start with the 2 T if you want and see if you want to increase it, but I liked it with more peanut butter. Hope you enjoy!

  24. Thanks, Kalyn. Sorry I didn't think to ask this with my first question, but is the dressing amount for 1 salad or more?

  25. This makes enough dressing for 3-4 salads. And I thought I made that clear, so I will edit and make sure it is. The dressing will keep well in the fridge at least a week.


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