A very healthy, easy, Southwestern Chicken Salad recipe with Cilantro Lime Dressing, it’s gluten free and low carb too!
I’m kind of fussy when it comes to salad. I think perhaps some of that stems from having to order safe gluten free food on the rare occasions that I eat out and usually the default gluten free option in most restaurants is always salad, usually an enormous bowl of uninspiring romaine lettuce, tomatoes and not much else.
I prefer a salad with lots of flavor, plenty of meat or fish, and a little bit of crunch. My Southwest Chicken salad checks all these boxes and is better than most of the restaurant salads I’ve had so far (not hard , I know). I got the dressing recipe from my friend Amanda who based it on one from a local Jackson restaurant. It’s really tasty and almost creamy, but it’s totally dairy free. I used an indoor grill to cook the chicken but you could easily cook it in a non stick or a cast iron skillet, or outdoor grill. The last time I made it I actually cooked about 2lbs of chicken tenders on a sheet pan in the oven as it was much easier than cooking then bit by bit in a skillet.
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- 1lb chicken breast tenders, skinless
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 tsp paprika (optional)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp cumin poder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 4 cups Mixed salad leaves
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup corn, frozen
- ½ cup black beans, (canned) rinsed and dried on paper towels
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp lime zest, grated
- 1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ tsp honey
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, no stems
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛th tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- This recipe is not a precise one, if you want more beans, corn and chicken just add them in! You may need more dressing to compensate.
- Marinade the chicken tenders in the olive oil, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano and salt, I find it easier to do it in a plastic baggie and then put it in the fridge. let marinade for 1 hr or up to overnight.
- Make up your dressing in a blender, if you don't have a blender you can chop the cilantro leaves very finely instead.
- Add the olive oil, cider vinegar, lime juice and zest, honey, cilantro leaves, cumin, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper. Blend until the leaves are chopped up.
- Cook your chicken tenders in either a non stick or cast iron skillet with a little more oil added to it
- It will take between 6-10 minutes in a skillet (remember to turn it) depending on the thickness of your chicken.
- Alternatively, you could also cook the chicken pieces on a sheet pan in a 375F oven for about 20 -25 minutes, watch they don't dry out.
- In your serving bowl add in salad leaves, corn, beans, tomatoes and then top with the sliced cooked chicken, drizzle on your dressing and mix. How much dressing you add is really up to you and how much you think it needs.