This dish was inspired by all the satisfying salads I’ve had out at restaurants. This is a few steps but nothing difficult and so worth it. The chicken is spiked with TACO seasoning, including chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and dried oregano AND ofc SALT.
The salsa is brought together by the cotija cheese. If you’re not familiar with it, it resembles feta cheese in appearance but harder in texture, and the taste is similar to parmesan cheese. LOVE the stuff.
This guacamole recipe is from Chipotle – I found it on their twitter account one day and have used it ever since. Just be careful to not over mash the avocados into a puree. I LOVE avocado chunks in my guac.
The last key element of this salad, that ties everything together, is this Cilantro Lime Dressing. Cilantro is an acquired herb taste for some but this dressing is absolutely delicious and refreshing. Don’t skip it.
Southwestern Chicken Salad
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- olive oil
- taco seasoning + salt
- 1 large beefsteak tomato fine dice
- 1 cup frozen corn warmed
- 1 15 oz can black beans rinsed + dried
- 1/3 cup cotija cheese crumbled
- 4 avocados peeled + pitted
- 1/2 red onion fine dice
- 1 jalapeno fine dice
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 tbs fresh cilantro chopped
- garlic powder + salt to taste
- 2 heads romaine lettuce torn into pieces
Cilantro Lime Dressing:
- 2 cups fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tbs maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Trim your thighs of most fat. Pat dry. Drizzle your chicken thighs with olive oil all over. Season both sides liberally with salt and taco seasoning.
- Drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. When hot, add the chicken and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side or until you reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow to rest 5 minutes prior to slicing into bite sized pieces.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt to taste.
- Roughly mash the avocados – do not puree, you want some avocado chunks. Add in the rest of ingredients and then fold in. Taste and season with salt as necessary.
- In a small food processor, puree everything except the oil.
- Slowly add the oil while the motor is running or just whisk it in manually like I did.