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Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

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

Nutritional Information

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


  • 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.

Serve with sweet, toasty Grilled Corn on the Cob.


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Reviews (21 reviews)

  • user-6140397 | 02/27/2017

    Yep, GREAT salad recipe. Really yummy. I used try-color cherry tomatoes which offered a festive appearance. Definitely needs a grind or 2 of salt and pepper when served to enhance its flavors. Definitely a recipe to make over and over.

  • cbquinn | 04/27/2015

    Excellent flavor and easy to make.

  • bellaginger | 02/04/2014

    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!

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