Make a healthy and satisfying choice for dinner with a huge serving of this delicious Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad recipe. This is one of my favorite salads and one of the few salads that truly makes an exceptional entrée. This recipe is full of the best southwest inspired ingredients and all kinds of tips to coax the best flavor out of this remarkably sumptuous bed of greens.
A Big Salad with Southwestern Flair
There are few things in this world as satisfying as a big grilled chicken salad. It’s hearty and healthy. It fills you up, but it doesn’t weigh you down. Salads are great because you can toss them together so easily.
A big salad makes meal preparation as easy as it could possibly get. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave it at that. You also can enhance your salad to do more and be more, especially in the flavor department.
A salad is not just lettuce, carrots, or tomatoes. When you toss together all the components to build a salad big enough to call a meal, you’ve got to include some bigger items like proteins. Southwestern style salads impart some of the most robust flavor and diverse textures to create zesty, spicy, sweet and savory, fully loaded meals with an explosion in every bite.
Preparing the Chicken for the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
Although it’s a long way off from complicated, the southwest grilled chicken salad is a bit more involved than other salad recipes. Rather than have you dump ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with dressing, this salad requires slightly more finesse. The biggest area that requires a considerable amount of attention is the chicken.
First, you need to combine the seasonings and olive oil to make the ultimate grilled chicken flavor pack. Toss the chicken into the mix and coat thoroughly before you put the chicken in the frying pan. For authentic grilled chicken, use a grill pan. Once the chicken is cooked through, place it on a cutting board to rest and then slice or dice to the desired size.
Make sure the chicken is fully cooked and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165° F.
You should always rinse the salad ingredients before combining them together, but this salad requires some additional draining. Don’t just toss in the cans of corn and beans. Dump them separately in a colander or strainer to drain, and make sure to rinse the beans before setting them aside with the other prepped ingredients.
How to Dice Avocado
Avocado is an easy fruit to deal with once you know the proper technique. To remove the avocado, use a sharp chef’s knife to puncture the skin at the top of the avocado. Cut through to the pit and rock your blade around it making a full circle from top to bottom and back around to the top. You should have one solid line separating the whole avocado into two halves.
Take hold of both halves and twist 90 degrees, then pull them apart. It’s very easy to do. If there is any resistance, make sure you have cut all the way through to all sides of the pit. One half of the avocado will contain the pit, just use your chef’s knife to cleave into the pit. With the knife gripping the pit, twist again to separate the pit from the meat.
Take a spoon and dig in along the edge of the meat to separate the skin. Fully encircle the avocado halves until the meat is completely separated. Finally, cut vertical slices along the avocado about 1/2 inch apart, then cut horizontally to make a grid. Use your available hand to help hold the avocado together from above the blade.
Another way is to slice the meat of the avocado while still in the skin, after the seed has been removed. Take a knife and make the desired vertical slices then slice in the opposite direction. Use a spoon and scoop out the avocado and then, if needed, slice into desired bite-size chunks.
Why Roast the Corn?
You can simply add corn to the salad without roasting it, but roasting corn is easy and it enhances the overall quality of the salad. Roasted corn is sweeter and crunchier, plus you get some kernels with that fabulous char that brings even more complexity to this incredibly flavorful salad.
If you really want to add to the complexity of the salad, you can squeeze some fresh lime juice and sprinkle on some chili powder as you toss the corn in the pan.
How to Dress the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
This salad recipe doesn’t have a dressing assigned to it. There is no one particular choice that necessarily beats out any other. The salad speaks for itself in terms of Southwestern flavor. While you wouldn’t add Caesar to it, or probably Italian, you can certainly go with your gut and pick any dressing that works for you.
The best choices for dressing are either a barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing, or some combination of the two. If you use barbecue sauce alone, I recommend a thinner sauce such as Memphis style.
You could choose more vinegar forward North Carolina style sauce, or mustard imbued South Carolina sauce. Although Texas is the most obvious Southwestern choice, it is very thick and best used only as an added component to another dressing such as ranch.
You can also use chipotle ranch or a creamy cilantro lime salad dressing which is almost too obvious to mention, but omitting the option here seemed just as silly. As an alternative to dressing, you can even serve this salad up with a side of some salsa and sour cream.
Ingredients to Make Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
- Chicken breasts, sliced in thin strips
- Slap Ya Mama
- Garlic salt
- Olive oil
- Southwest corn, drain and roasted
- Black beans, drained and rinsed
- Grape tomatoes
- Tortilla strips
- Romaine lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce
- Lefty green lettuce
(Actual measurements in recipe card below.)
How to Make Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
- In a large bowl, add sliced chicken strips, seasonings, and olive oil. Stir to combine.
- Add seasoned chicken to a large frying pan and cook thoroughly. Set aside.
- Wash and cut lettuce to desired size. Set aside.
- Rinse canned corn and add to a small frying pan. Roast corn over medium high heat.
- Drain and rinse black beans.
- Dice avocado into bite size pieces and slice tomatoes in half.
- Add lettuce, seasoned chicken, roasted corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocados, and tortilla strips. Top with desired dressing.
Try This Delicious Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
Here are a few more delicious recipes that can be found on the blog:
- BBQ Bacon Broccoli Avocado Salad
- BBQ Chicken Avocado Salad with Avocado Dressing
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Chicken Curry Pasta Salad
- romaine, iceberg, and leafy greens, desired amount, chopped
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced in thin strips
- 2 tsp Slap Ya Mama®
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 avocados, diced
- 11 oz can southwest corn, drained, roasted
- 15 oz black beans drained, rinsed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup tortilla strips
In a large bowl, add chicken, seasonings, and olive oil. Stir to combine.
Add seasoned chicken to a large frying pan and cook thoroughly. Set aside.
Wash and cut lettuce to desired size, set aside.
Rinse canned corn and add to a small frying pan. Roast corn over medium heat.
Drain and rinse black beans.
Dice avocado into bite size pieces and tomatoes in half.
Add lettuce, seasoned chicken, roasted corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes and tortilla strips to a bowl. Top with desired dressing.
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.
Copyright © Great Grub, Delicious Treats. All content and images are copyright protected. Do not use any images without prior permission.
If you want to republish this recipe, make sure to re-write the recipe in your own words and only list ingredients making sure to link back to this post for the original recipe and directions.