Here it is Chelsea. The salad you never thought you would love. My daughter asked me to make this salad and add it to the blog. Then she told me she remembered herself and her brother dreading this salad when they would come home from school and saw that I was making it for dinner. “When I was little, I never thought it would be one of my favourites today, but it is.” she added.
I am not sure I would have ever added black beans to a salad myself, but we were on tropical vacation and I ordered a grilled chicken salad and to my surprise it came with black beans on it. To be honest, I didn’t think I would like it myself, but I loved it.
I immediately came home and made up my version of the salad, I tried. With my own health conscious twists, like a lighter dressing, I came up with this. You could add cream, mayo or yogurt to the dressing if you like, but I like the simplicity of the dressing as I find it brings out the flavours of all the ingredients. Sometimes I add grilled corn to the salad if I have it or I’m not too lazy to grill it 😉 If you do, you will need to start grilling it the same time as the chicken as you will want it to cool a bit before removing from the cob. I don’t add cheese to this salad but some shredded tex-mex cheese would be delicious on top I am sure.
SouthWest Grilled Chicken with Zesty Lime Dressing
Yields: 2 large servings
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2-3 Tbsp Cajun style spice of your choice
- 1/2 tsp each – sea salt & pepper
- 1.5 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 3-4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
- 1 tomato
- 1 avocado
- 2 stems green onion
- 1.5 cups black beans
- 2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro
- 1.5 Tbsp honey
- Juice of 2 medium limes
- Zest of 1/2 lime
- 3 Tbsp olive oil or oil of your choosing
- pinch or more – Chili peppers
Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously on all sides with the spice. Place in a hot grilling pan over medium high heat to sear. Of course, if your BBQ is ready, get grilling. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until done.After 8-12 minutes depending on your pan and stove, chicken should be done. You will need to make sure the juices run clear and if you see pink color keep cooking. If you have a meat thermometer cook until 170° F for tender and juicy chicken. If I am in a hurry, or the chicken breasts are really big, I sear both sides of the chicken, cut through the breast to make two thin breasts and sear until cooked. This cuts the cooking time in half. Take care not to overcook as chicken breast can quickly turn dry and stringy. Once cooked remove the chicken from the pan and cover with tin foil for a few minutes before cutting. This allows the juices to spread back into all the chicken breast.I usually always have brown rice pre-cooked in the refrigerator, if not make a small batch measure 1.5 cups into a bowlAdd the salsa to the rice
Stir to combine, if you are using cold rice heat to “warm” in a sauce pan, or in the microwave.Chop the romaine lettuce into bite size pieces Just like this 🙂Vine ripened tomatoesRoughly chopSlice up the green onionRinse the syrup from the canned black beansAvocado is ripe when you are able to press it and it feels firm yet you can feel the avocado give slightly under the skin. If there is no give then it will take another day or two on the counter to ripen.Cut in half and remove the pit. Slice lengthwise in strips with a small knife and scoop out with a spoon for slices like these. Cubes work just as well too.
Grab a small handful of cilantro and finely chopAdd to a small bowl and add the honeyAdd the lime zest and squeeze the lime juice into the bowl
Drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine
Add some heat!Whisk again before adding to the salad.Time to plate! Add the RomaineThen the tomatoes
The green onionsLots of avocado
Don’t you dare leave out the black beans.. Trust me you will like them.. I never thought I would like them in a salad either.. But I do!!
Add the warmed rice and salsaSlice the grilled chicken and spread on the salad.
Top with 2-3 Tbsp of the dressingNow Enjoy every last bite!
Southwest Chicken Salad with Zesty Lime Dressing