The southwestern chicken salad has been a popular dish in the United States since the mid-1980s. It gained popularity when many restaurants and diners began serving it as an alternative to the more traditional greens-based salads. The dish typically combines fresh and grilled vegetables, chicken, and a creamy dressing to create a flavorful meal.
Today, we’re going to show you how to make an upscale twist on the southwestern chicken salad at home. This recipe is easy to make, and can be enjoyed as a lunch or dinner.
Southwestern Salad Key Ingredients:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 bell peppers (red and yellow)
- 1 small red onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups of romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup of corn
- 1/4 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of shredded cheese
- 1/4 cup of crushed tortilla chips
Kitchen Equipment Needed:
- Grill or grill pan
- Large bowl
- Small bowl
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon
- Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
- Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
- While the chicken is grilling, prepare the vegetables. Slice the bell peppers and red onion into thin strips. Dice the jalapeño pepper and mince the cilantro.
- In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, let it cool for a few minutes before slicing into thin strips.
- Add the chicken strips to the large bowl with the vegetables. Pour the lime juice mixture over the top and mix together.
- Serve the salad in individual bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips. Or, if you’re feeling fancy you can slice up some old corn tortillas into strips and fry them in oil.
Other Garnishes to Consider:
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced jalapeño pepper
- Sliced red onion
- Sliced radishes
- Sliced cherry tomatoes
- Lime wedges
Optional Way to Add Spice To Your Salad:
If you’d like to add some extra spice to your southwestern chicken salad, try adding a few spoonfuls of your favorite hot sauce. It will add a nice kick of flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients. Another great option is to add some diced Jalapeños. Enjoy!
Need sandwich ideas for pairing with your salad? Find some great sandwich recipes you can easily make at home.