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Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

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Serves four.

  • by Susie Middleton from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

Looking for a quick dinner that's heavy on the veggies and light on the meat?  The spicy salsa makes this salad so filling, you won’t even notice the smaller portion of chicken. In this mix, it's just right.

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast half (6 to 7 oz.), trimmed
  • 1/2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the grill
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Green Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 oz. small cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small heads Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 9 cups)
  • 1 medium firm-ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or pepitas

Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.

Trim and then butterfly the chicken breast by slicing it horizontally almost but not entirely in half so you can open it like a book.

Combine the chili powder, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Rub some of the spice mix over both sides of the butterflied chicken breast (you won’t need it all) and let sit while the grill heats.

Clean and oil the grill grate. Grill the breast until the edges of the top side are white, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until just done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl or a glass jar with a tight lid, combine the olive oil, lime juice, 1?Tbs. of the cilantro, the honey, 1/2 tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a few shakes of green Tabasco (if using). Whisk or shake well to combine.

Combine the black beans, tomatoes, scallion, the remaining 2 tsp. cilantro, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Add 2 Tbs. of the dressing and toss gently.

Put the lettuce in a bowl, season with a little salt, and toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. (Reserve a little to drizzle on the chicken.) Arrange the lettuce on a platter or four dinner plates. Slice the chicken breast very thinly. Pit and slice the avocado. Arrange the chicken, avocado, and salsa on the lettuce. Drizzle a little of the remaining dressing over the chicken and avocado. Garnish with the pine nuts or pepitas and the cilantro leaves.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with sweet, toasty Grilled Corn on the Cob.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 470; Fat (g): 33; Fat Calories (kcal): 290; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 18; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 21; Carbohydrates (g): 28; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): 510; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My favorite salad recipe for grilled chicken! The dressing is delicious and confirms the fact that homemade & easy is always better than bottled. I have also made with grilled salmon. Yum!

its a great thing

Great summer salad, I grilled some corn whole on the cob and added that to this salad. Really great flavours, super fresh. I might blend the dressing to make a smoother, prettier finish.

Oh my! This is delicious! What a fabulous summer salad! Truly a keeper.

delicious salad. I used leftover chicken so didn't do the rub before cooking, but added cumin and coriander to the dressing and it was great. I added red and yellow peppers for more color and marinated them, the chicken, and beans in the dressing overnight. The next day I added the tomatoes, green onion and avocado. Will make this again.

I don't usually give 5 stars to anything but this salad was great! I first had it at a friend's house and she made it exactly to the recipe (used pine nuts) and it was great. I made it at home tonight, thought I had black beans but I was wrong! So I made it with red beans and it was just as good. I also used pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and that little change gave it a little different taste, still yummy. And healthy, to boot. We had a rosemary and olive oil artisan bread to go with it. Awesome!

This was delicious! I skipped the pepitas and added southwestern tortilla strips for crunch (salad toppers, in produce section). Good light dinner

EXCELLENT salad! substituted leaf lettuce and added chopped dates. you could also sustitute cooked corn for the tomatoes. This than becomes my fav salad at one of our fav restaurants! great to be able to make it at home for a fraction of the restaurant charge!

The photos and description of the recipe caught my eye. The taste stole my heart. Delicious. I used Argula instead of bib. Very tasty.

Couldn't resist trying this eye catching dish. Saw it on the cover and I just had to make it! Serves 4, but my Husband and I finished it all!! Granted that was the entire meal, no side dishes. I would recomend this to anyone looking for a light and refreshing dish on a hot summer day. Yum!

This is the most delicious dinner salad recipe my husband and I have ever made. We've made it twice, now -- the second time for guests who also loved it. It's really gorgeous to look at, too. We served a wedge of lime on the side for each guest. An extra squeeze at the end seemed to work well.

This dish was fun to prepare and delicious to eat. the cilantro gives it a nice fresh taste. i loved EVERYTHING about it! And it's healthy! yay!

I give this recipe five stars! It is wonderful for dinner with a nice chilled glass of pinot grigio.

Excellent!!! Definitely use the green tabasco. I also added fresh corn to the salad and topped with dollops of sour cream. This is also a great salad to make without the chicken for a side salad for BBQ or Beer Can Chicken.

Amazing! My husband is usually a reluctant fan about entree salads, but he said this is one of his favorite things that he's eaten recently. Great for make ahead steps, or easily pulled together. Nice for casual entertaining or for an easy weeknight meal. To reduce the fat, I used only the 2 Tbl of dressing on the tomato salsa. That was plenty--- dish was phenomenal with 2 Tbl of dressing vs 6+. Will make again and again.

LOVED this recipe! I had everything in my pantry/'fridge and it was super easy to make. My husband and I both thought it was every bit as good as any entree salad we've had out. The dressing was exceptionally delicious. I will make this again and again

Excellent and easy. Instead of butterflying the chicken, I pounded it thin for fast cooking, and used a grill pan on the cooktop - didn't have time to preheat the BBQ. Will definitely make this again. Lots of flavor, easy, and filling. Served with cornbread.

We loved it!

What's not to like here? Seasoning on the chicken was perfect. Recipe a tad unclear about whether to cook the butterflied chicken in the full butterfly, or folded back over; given the cook times, I chose the former, and it worked fine. We substituted a combo of butter lettuce and arugula, and it was really nice. Quick, easy and yummy, a great weeknight or casual entertaining recipe.

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