Southwest Chicken Salad

My great friend and contributing editor, Ellen and I had this salad at lunch this past week to celebrate her birthday. We have been ordering this salad for years and I just had to recreate it! There are several options when making this salad. First off leftover chicken can be used instead of grilling. Second, use canned corn insted of fresh cooked corn shaved from the cob. Finally add a diced avocado which is an option at the restaurant where we have this salad. Because this is a chopped salad, make sure to chop the lettuce using the chiffonade technique. Ingredient amounts will serve one for a healthy appetite or two for a light appetite. Adjust amounts to accommodate the number of people serving. See Chatty Advice on how to make a great salad at home.

Ingredients

Chicken
1/4 lb. of chicken (breast or tenderloins)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Salad
2 cups iceberg lettuce chopped – see chiffonade technique
2 cups of Romaine lettuce chopped – see chiffonade technique
2 tablespoons of green onions thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of cilantro minced, stems removed
1/4 cup of tomatoes diced
1 ear of corn cooked and shaved from the cob or 1/4 cup of corn drained
1/4 cup of black beans rinsed and drained
1/4 cup of cheese – Cheddar (mild or sharp) and Monterey Jack
Dressing
1/4 cup of Hidden Valley brand Ranch dressing
1 1/2 tablespoons of KC Masterpiece brand BBQ Sauce – Original flavor
Toppings
Baked Tortilla Strips or crumble corn chips
Lime quartered

Technique

Make Baked Tortilla Strips per recipe instructions and set aside. If using fresh corn, cook corn and when cool enough to handle shave from the cob and set aside. Preheat a grill and grill chicken until done. Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and the type of grill you are using. There should be no pink in the inside. Set aside to cool. Once it has cooled, cut into bite sized pieces. Make dressing by whisking the two ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Rinse and drain salad greens and pat dry. Prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. In a large bowl add all the salad ingredients and chicken and pour dressing over salad and toss until evenly coated. Plate and top with Baked Tortilla Strips and serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze on the salad.

Suggested Beverage

For lunch, try an ice tea as we did or for dinner a margarita – try my Classic Margarita.  Another great option is a Corona with a wedge of lime.

Chatty Advice

Quite a few people have asked “Why do salads always taste better in a restaurant vs. making them at home?” There are a couple of things to making a great salad at home. First off, chill the bowl or plate you will be using to plate the salad. Second, take the time to chop or dice the ingredients and use the chiffonade technique for cutting the salad greens when appropriate. Third, toss the salad with the dressing so the salad is evenly coated. Finally enjoy your restaurant style salad you created!

One response to “Southwest Chicken Salad”

  1. Christine says:

    Looks wonderful! Love it.

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