This Southwestern grilled chicken salad is a tasty mix of chicken, black beans, corn, red pepper and poblano pepper, topped off with a creamy Avocado-Lime dressing. It makes a tasty dinner or a great dish for a summer barbecue. Serve on lettuce, with tortilla chips or in a wrap. This quick dinner will be ready in about 30 minutes.
Summer is the time for fresh and tasty salads using lot of delicious veggies. This southwestern chicken salad is all about fresh, summery taste that you can make on your grill, without using the oven and heating up the house.
I love all kinds of foods made on the grill – like burgers, ribs or pork kabobs. But sometimes I want a summer barbecue meal that is light and fresh, like this grilled chicken salad. You can make this ahead of time and take it to a barbecue or picnic for a healthy dish.
When I think of chicken salad I usually think of creamy and mayonnaise covered chicken with some fruit or nuts. This recipe is much different than that! Healthy grilled chicken, peppers and corn are the star of this recipe, and the creaminess comes from avocado, not mayonnaise.
Grilling the Ingredients for the Chicken Salad
All the ingredients for this southwestern chicken salad are cooked on the grill. So you don’t have to fire up the oven and heat up your house – which is always a plus on a hot summer day.
In addition, all the ingredients can be cooked at the same time on the grill. You can cook them all in about 15 minutes, making this a quick and easy meal. The ingredients do need different cooking times, so you have to watch them and turn them on the grill as they cook.
Grilling the Chicken
The chicken has the longest grilling time of all the ingredients. I used a chicken breast, which I seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and chile powder. Then I grilled it until it was cooked through, turning it once, until it had reached 160 degrees F.
Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.
You could also use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. This is also a great recipe for using up leftover chicken that you grilled earlier in the week!
Grilling the Peppers
This grilled chicken salad includes two kinds of peppers, a red pepper and a poblano pepper. Both these peppers are roasted on the grill to blacken them and deepen the flavor. Charring the skin off the peppers takes some of the moisture out, which makes them even sweeter.
To blacken the peppers just place them directly on the grill and turn them every few minutes to blacken each side. Grilling the peppers will take 10-15 minutes.
Grilling the Corn
To grill the corn simply husk it and put it right on the grill. There is no need soak it! Just stick it directly on the grill and turn it every few minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to cook the corn
Making the Avocado Lime Dressing
Once the chicken, peppers and corn are done put them aside and let them cool while you make the dressing. The grilled chicken salad dressing is nice and creamy because of the avocado that is mixed in.
I recommend juicing fresh limes for this dressing. Fresh lime juice is just so much better than anything you buy in a bottle! It takes only a few minutes to juice a couple of limes, and citrus juicers are small, inexpensive and easy to store.
After the limes are juiced the dressing is made by combining the lime juice with half an avocado, cilantro, cumin, chile powder and olive oil. Whir it all together in a blender or food processor and this easy dressing is complete.
Assembling the Southwestern Chicken Salad
The final step in making the grilled chicken salad is to chop up the ingredients and mix it all together. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Then use a knife to cut the corn off the cob.
Once the peppers have cooled slightly the blackened skin should peel right off. You can make peeling them even easier by putting them in a paper bag or covering them with plastic wrap. The skin should come right off when you rub the pepper. And don’t worry if some of the skin stays on, it will taste fine. Once you peel the skin off, chop both peppers into small pieces.
Then mix the chopped chicken, corn and peppers in a large bowl, and add a can of drained black beans. Pour the dressing over the entire salad and mix it well.
How to Serve Grilled Chicken Salad
You can serve this salad warm or cold. I like to add extra avocado slices and stir in a little extra cilantro when I serve it. I also think it tastes a little better if you put it in the refrigerator and let the flavors meld for 30 minutes or so.
This salad is very versatile, so there are many different things you can serve it with. Here are some ideas:
- Pile it on some lettuce or salad greens for a tasty low carb dinner.
- Put it in a wrap for a portable lunch.
- Make it into a southwestern sandwich by putting it on roll.
- Make it on Sunday and eat it all week long as an easy meal prep lunch or dinner.
- Double the recipe and take it along on your next picnic or barbecue.
- Break out a bag of tortilla chips and scoop it up.
However you decide to serve this southwestern chicken salad it is delicious! The grilled flavor from the juicy chicken and corn combines beautifully with the roasted peppers and avocado dressing. It is a light and fresh meal that is perfect for summer.
Grilled Chicken Salad
- 1 chicken breast
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 ears corn
- 1 red pepper
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, drained
Avocado Lime Dressing
- 2 limes
- 4 Tablespoons cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Pre-heat a grill on medium high heat.
- Sprinkle the chicken breast with the cumin, chile powder and salt.
- Put the chicken, corn, red pepper and poblano pepper on the grill. They will all cook simultaneously, but need different grilling times.
- Grill the corn until it is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn it frequently so all sides are browned and cooked.
- Grill the two peppers for about 15 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so until the skin is slightly blackened.
- Grill the chicken for about 15 minutes, turning once, until it reaches 160 F internal temperature.
- As each ingredient finished cooking take it off the grill and set it aside to cool slightly.
- To make the Avocado Lime dressing first juice the two limes.
- Then combine the lime juice, cilantro, chile powder, cumin, avocado and olive oil in a blender or food processor and mix well.
- Once the chicken, peppers and corn are cool enough to handle chop the chicken into small pieces. Then chop the peppers, peeling off the blackened skin if desired. Cut the kernels off the corn cobs.
- Put the chicken, peppers and corn in a large bowl. Add the drained black beans and stir to mix.
- Pour the dressing over the grilled chicken salad and stir.
- Serve garnished with more cilantro and the other half of the avocado.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 487mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 8gSugar: 6gProtein: 17g
Nutrition facts are estimates.