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Seven-Layer Grilled Southwestern Chicken Salad

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Seven layers not enough? For an even tastier grilled salad, you can also add a layer of cooked fresh corn kernels or a layer of chopped black olives.



  • 1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1-1/2 tsp. plus a pinch of hot chile powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. plus 2-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups (6 to 7 oz.) coarsely chopped crisp lettuce (like iceberg or romaine)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 ripe, medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 generous cup (6 to 7 oz.) grape tomatoes, quartered, or 1 small ripe tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. (about 1/2 cup) crumbled fresh goat cheese, chilled
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or pepitas
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

Nutritional Information

      Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
      Calories (kcal) : 420
      Fat Calories (kcal): 260
      Fat (g): 29
      Saturated Fat (g): 6
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
      Cholesterol (mg): 70
      Sodium (mg): 1070
      Carbohydrates (g): 11
      Fiber (g): 5
      Protein (g): 31


  • Heat a gas grill to medium high. Toss the tenderloins with 1-1/2 tsp. chile powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. olive oil to coat thoroughly. Put the tenderloins on the grill and cook, covered, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until firm and cooked through (they should still be a bit flexible), another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Arrange the lettuce over the bottom of a wide (preferably glass) salad bowl. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the lettuce. Add the diced avocado and sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt over it. In successive layers, add the chopped chicken, diced tomato, scallions, goat cheese, and nuts.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice with the remaining 2-1/2 Tbs. olive oil with a large pinch of salt and a large pinch of chile powder. Drizzle the mixture over the whole salad. At the table, gently toss all the layers together and serve.


Rate or Review


  • TheEarlofGrey | 07/03/2015

    Delicious and easy! The goat cheese is a great touch. We added bell pepper and corn - very nice summer salad.

  • Krispie | 07/02/2015

    This is a really nice salad meal. I made it without the cheese this time and it was still delicious. The cheese does make it more decadent, which is nice for a salad. Enjoy!

  • emargolis | 06/20/2013

    This is amazing- I wasn't sure about the goat cheese at first- but the creaminess blends with the dressing and coats each leaf of lettuce. I also added a corn cob. I was already marinating chicken breast tenderloins in a balsamic marinade- the favors were fine with the rest of the salad. I will definitely be making this again.

  • User avater
    mowgli | 08/17/2009

    LOVE this salad! Agree with other reviewers - easy and delicious. Used Cayenne powder rather than chili powder and it had a great kick. I loved the goat cheese, but as it's not a favorite of my husband's, may try cheddar cheese next time..A keeper.

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