These Cemitas Poblanas are an easy way to use up leftover chicken or amp up a classic chicken sandwich. They’re full of flavor from mustard, chipotle mayo, and pickled jalapeños.
True story: Josh was TERRIBLE to date. Especially in the beginning. He’d do that thing where you text someone and they start to text back so you see the bubble show up and then it stays like that for a few minutes, so you wait, expecting a long, meaningful message. AND THEN, the bubble disappears and no text is sent. For days.
When I brought this up to him and told him that I had other people who would be better texters and who actually liked animals (that was a lie, I had no one), he told me he wanted to apologize over cemitas. Everything with Josh was an excuse to just eat something that has been on his list. So I agreed. Josh and I worked everything out obviously. But my takeaway was that cemitas are delicious.
History of Cemitas Poblanas:
Cemitas Poblanas are a type of torta (sandwich) from Puebla Mexico. They differ from the classic torta because of the specific type of bun they use.
What are Cemitas Poblanas?
If you’ve never had a cemita, you’re in for a treat. They’re a type of torta from Mexico that usually has a fried cutlet of meat, like pork or chicken milanesa. But I wanted to make it a bit easier, lighter and make-ahead-friendly.
How to Make Cemitas:
- Make the chicken chipotle salad. Boil the chicken and then toss it in a dressing with chipotle in adobo, yellow mustard, mayonnaise and lime juice. Think of it like a cold chicken salad sandwich—so good!
- Make the slaw. Just mix together the cabbage, pickled jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro and salt. It’s so refreshing and if I added arugula, I could simply just eat it as a salad itself.
- Wait to Assemble! I love serving sandwiches at parties and get-togethers. Even though they look their most stunning selves assembled, I urge you to avoid sogginess by simply adding all of the components to bowls or platters and letting people assemble them. This ensures crispy, fresh-tasting sandwiches and your guests can customize it to their tastes.
Tips and Tricks
- Make the chipotle chicken salad the day before and store it in the fridge. Just before serving, add a bit more mayo and seasoning.
- Slice up the cabbage the day before. If you make the slaw the day before, it’ll be less crunchy so simple slice up the cabbage and toss just before setting it out for guests.
That’s it! These are super easy cemita sandwiches that taste so good and are super simple to throw together.
- 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 7-ounce can pickled jalapeños medley, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Juice from 1 lime
Pulled Chicken Chipotle Salad:
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 chipotle in adobo, minced
- 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo brine, from the can
- 1 teaspoon French’s Classic Yellow Mustard
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4 Cemita bread or sesame bun or brioche bun
- 1/2 pound shredded Oaxacan cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 avocado, sliced
To Make the Chipotle Chicken Salad:
- To a pot of water, add the chicken breasts. Cover with water and bring to a boil, cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is firm to the touch. Transfer to a cutting board or plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Shred the chicken using two forks.
- Transfer shredded chicken to a bowl, along with the mayonnaise, lime juice, minced chipotle in adobo, brine, French’s Classic Yellow Mustard, salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper. Toss until combined. Give it a taste and adjust any of the seasonings to taste. I added a few more pinches of salt.
To Make the Cabbage Slaw:
- To a medium bowl, add the cabbage, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Toss together and give it a taste; add any needed salt to taste.
- To Assemble the Cemitas:
- If this is for a party, then add all of the components to bowls and platters to ensure that the sandwiches don’t get soggy.
- If serving to eat right away, slice the cemita buns in half. Add a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture to the bottom half of the cemita bread and then top it with a handful of Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese, a few slices of avocado and then lastly, a big spoonful of slaw. Add the other half of the bun and then serve.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!
Looking for more sandwich recipes? Here are some of my favorites: