My Recipe Box

Seven-Layer Grilled Southwestern Chicken Salad


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Grilled Chicken
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 65

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

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.

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

Photo: Scott Phillips

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

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!

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.

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.

very easy- great summer salad..

This is very easy to make and great for a light summer dinner. We like our chicken a bit more spicy, so we add a bit of cayenne along with the chili powder. Finely chopped jalapenos work well too.

This salad is fantastic! I love it! I have made it numerous times.

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