Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

Summer is definitely the season for salads, whether at home or at restaurants. And while I love a good salad, for some reason or another, I rarely order entrée salads when I go out to eat. I tend to veer more towards the hearty fare (hello, pasta) or something more exotic than your average restaurant salad. (Salads with fancy/funky ingredients are another story. They capture my interest big time – as do most things with fancy/funky ingredients.)

I think the main reason I tend to avoid entrée salads at restaurants is because I often feel they are something I could make at home. Problem is, I never actually make them. When planning my weekly menus, it almost never crosses my mind to include a main dish salad. While we do eat salad all the time, it’s never the star of the show.

The other day, however, I came across this recipe for Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette. It got me to thinking. First thought? This looks good! Second thought? I already have almost all of these ingredients. Third thought? It is ridiculously hot outside, and it would be nice to make a dinner that won’t get the house hot. All that thinking ended up with us having salad on the dinner menu this week.

What can I tell you? I may be a dinner salad convert. This salad was a winner. I tweaked the original recipe bit, and the result was refreshing, flavorful, and – important for a salad dinner – filling. Spicy grilled chicken, smoky grilled corn, creamy black beans, fresh cheese, and rich avocado dress up romaine lettuce and make it shine. This is one dinner salad I will be making all summer long.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette
Adapted from Perrys’ Plate

For the Marinade/Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 chipotle pepper, minced (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. honey

For the Salad:
2 large chicken breasts, butterflied or pounded thin
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
3 romaine lettuce hearts, or 1 large head of romaine, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup pico de gallo or tomato salsa
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup cotija or feta cheese, crumbled

In a bowl, combine all of the marinade/dressing ingredients. Whisk until well blended and thickened.

Pour half of the marinade into a large zip-top bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight. Refrigerate the remaining dressing until ready to use.

Heat a grill pan (or large skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring frequently, until brown spots appear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the corn from the pan and set aside to cool.

Wipe out the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. (You can also do the grilling on an outdoor grill.)

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool. When cool, thinly slice the chicken breasts.

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce and remaining dressing. Divide the lettuce evenly among 4 plates or bowl.

Top the lettuce with the grilled corn, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, avocado, and cheese.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.


  1. I may have to add this to my menu next time. I've been on the hunt for a good salad and this sounds much more up our alley than the last recipe we tried (not delicious....). Plus, I recently learned that Carter LOVES adobo sauce when I made fish tacos this week! I'll let you know how it turns out.

  2. PS - just noticed that the recipe didn't call for the adobo sauce... just the pepper. But I might throw a little in there anyway given his new-found love :) Either way, this looks really good!

  3. I made it and my husband and I both thought it was yummy! Will definately make it again.

  4. Christina - I'm so glad you guys liked it!

  5. How many calories does a portion has?



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