Grilled Southwestern Chicken Salad– I could eat a salad every single day and never grow tired of them! In fact, most days we do enjoy a salad in some form for lunch or dinner. This is one of our absolute favorite “make at home” dinner salads. If you don’t have an outdoor grill, an indoor grill pan on your stove top will work as well and many times on cool or rainy days that’s exactly how I grill the chicken for this salad.
I think every dining establishment has their take on a Santa Fe, grilled Mexican chicken or Southwestern chicken salad on the menu. I admit, it’s often what I go to first for consideration when ordering my meal. I decided it really wasn’t that hard a meal to put together and certainly didn’t match the price tag on most menus, so, I started years ago making it myself to our liking. We now enjoy this salad so much, it makes it far more difficult to order one like it in a restaurant, now. It’s filling and good for you and no taco shell required.
Grilled Southwestern Chicken Salad
Author: Melissa Sperka
Serves: 4 Dinner Salads
- For the chicken and the rub:
- 4 [6 oz] boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 Tbsp taco seasoning [I used McCormick's]
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- salt and black pepper to taste
- For the roasted corn you'll need:
- 2 cups roasted Mexican corn seasoned with garlic salt
- Toppings & Salad Greens:
- Spring mix salad greens [desired amount for 4 salads]
- 2 cups pico de gallo
- 1 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed
- 8 oz light sour cream or buttermilk ranch dressing
- Additional toppings: tortilla strips/crushed taco chips, fresh guacamole, shredded cheese, black beans, black olive slices, pickled jalapeno slices
- Mix together the taco paste for the chicken breasts. For four pieces, you'll need 3 tablespoons of prepared taco seasoning, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Mix well and rub on all sides of the chicken breasts. Chill for 1-4 hours prior to grilling, or overnight, if possible. Prepare the pico de gallo and chill.
- To prepare the chicken: Grill the chicken breasts until the juices run clear. Oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.
- Cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the chicken breast pieces.
- After grilling, remove to a platter to allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing
- To prepare the corn: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spritz with cooking spray. Drain canned Mexican corn well and pat dry with a paper towel. If using frozen Mexican corn, steam per the package directions, slightly under cooking. Or, even better, make it fresh. Spread onto a baking sheet and season lightly with garlic salt, black pepper and spritz with cooking spray.
- Place into the oven and roast for 15-18 minutes, until the corn begins to caramelize. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.
- To assemble: Toss the salad greens with the red pepper slices, tortilla strips, roasted corn, black beans and arrange the sliced chicken on top.
- Serve with a side of pico de gallo, a dollop of sour cream and your favorite toppings.