Sunday, June 12, 2022

Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken, romaine, black beans, corn, tomatoes, pepitas and cotija cheese make this main dish salad a Southwest flavor bomb!

Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

We love a good salad in the summer and I often turn them in to entrees by adding protein to the dish.  Since it's summer we're all about grilling now so adding grilled chicken is a no brainer for us.  This salad is all about southerwestern flavors.  Chicken flavored with taco seasoning and then grilled is a great topper for a romaine salad packed with black beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and a few other surprises that really make this salad stand out.

Top it with your choice of dressings.  A ranch mixed with salasa would be a great touch.  This is perfect for weeknight meals as it comes together quickly.  You could even use leftover grilled chicken and save even more time.  Summer is the time for eating light and this healthy salad is right at the top in my book.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • Chicken breasts - boneless skinless
  • Taco seasoning - store bought or use my homemade recipe
  • Limes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Red Cabbage
  • Cucumber - I used Persian cucumbers
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Jalapeno
  • Cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Black beans
  • Corn - fresh or frozen
  • Pepitas
  • Cotija cheese
  • Avocado

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use green or red leaf lettuce instead
  • Pinto beans would be just as delicious as black beans
  • Don't like cilantro?  Replace it with fresh parsley
  • Mexi-corn would be a good alternative
  • Leave out the jalapeno if you don't like heat.  
  • Add whatever veggies you like, zucchini would be great.
  • Substitute cotija cheese with feta or leave it out.
  • Leave out the seeds if you like but they provide a nice crunch.  Sunflower seeds would be great as well.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Grill your chicken first and allow it to cool if you would like it room temperature chicken on the salad.  Otherwise leftover chicken works well too.
  • All of the vegetables can be prepped a day ahead if you like.  Leave the avocado and cheese for the last minute.

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Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

serves 4


4 thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp taco seasoning
Juice from ½ lime
2 tsp olive oil


1/2 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 head red cabbage, chopped or sliced
3-4 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced 
1 handful cilantro, finely chopped 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup pepitas
⅓ cup crumbled cotija cheese
1 avocado, sliced 
1/2 lime

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high, or use an indoor grill pan.  Pat the chicken breast with a papertowel and sprinkle them with the taco seasoning.  Squeeze 1/2 lime over the chicken and drizzle with olive oil.  Grill for 4 minutes each side or until they reach 165 degrees. Set aside to rest.

In a large bowl, mix together romaine lettuce, red cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, black beans, corn, and pepitas.  Add cotija cheese and avocado and toss gently.  Squeeze 1/2 lime and sprinkle the juice over the top.

Slice or cube the chicken and place it on top of the salad.  Serve in individual bowls and all each person to dress their own salad.  

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