This is a wonderful dish for the summer. Chicken breasts are cooked on the barbeque to give them a lovely smoky aroma and flavor, and then they are plated with other salad ingredients to make a southwestern inspired dish which is perfect for a hot day. This salad is rich in flavor as well as vitamins and nutrients, and we like to serve it while the chicken is still warm, although if you want to cook the chicken in advance and have it cold that is also fine. You can prepare the other ingredients ahead, and then simply combine the salad ingredients and chicken just before serving, offering our delicious southwestern inspired dressing on the side so people can dress their own salads with this tasty concoction. What a tasty meal!
Southwestern cuisine is made up largely of what was perhaps eaten by cowboys, colonial Spanish settlers, Mexicans, and Native Americans during the post-Columbian age. There is a lot of diversity in this cuisine, and it is popular all over the Southwest as well as in other states like California, Washington, Illinois, Oregon, and Oklahoma. This cuisine is similar in some ways to Mexican food but includes bigger cuts of meat. Chilies and other spices are used a lot, along with beans, cheese, vegetables, and more. We are taking those influences to create this delicious salad, and the chicken works perfectly with the other ingredients to offer plenty of contrasting flavors and textures.
Adding Your Own Touches
Some people enjoy using chicken breast but others will nearly always switch it for a meatier, juicier cut, such as thighs, drumsticks or even a whole chicken leg quarter. You can cook any kind of chicken on the barbeque (even a whole one, believe it or not!) so if you prefer dark meat, use thighs or drumsticks. Anything goes. Perhaps you wish to use another kind of cheese, or swap the tomato for cherry tomatoes. Do you prefer corn kernels over black beans? Then you can use those instead. Feel free to make this recipe your own and use the ingredients you happen to like best. To make this salad the best ever, use ingredients you love and the flavors will come together just right. The same applies to the dressing. Although we feel that a few drops of Tabasco give it a fantastic zing, you can leave it out if you want a mild flavor instead of a spicy one. The garlic is also optional, as is the sugar.
Perhaps you are looking for a full-flavored salad offering an incredible southwestern taste sensation, in which case choose this recipe, and be prepared to love the resulting salad. You can toss the ingredients with the dressing if you want, arrange the ingredients differently around the plate, or even make a tortilla bowl (by baking a nonstick spray-coated tortilla draped over a bowl to shape it) and serve our southwestern barbeque chicken salad in there for a really creative presentation.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 14 oz drained, canned black beans
- 2 diced avocados
- 3 oz grated pepper jack cheese
- 2 chopped fresh tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Tabasco sauce, to taste
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- White sugar or sweetener, to taste (optional)
- ½ - 1 minced garlic clove (optional)
- Preheat and heat up the barbeque.
- Spray the chicken all over with nonstick cooking oil.
- Grind some salt and black pepper over it.
- Cook the chicken for 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into thick slices.
- Divide the chicken, spinach, tomatoes, black beans, avocados, and cheese between 4 plates.
- Scatter over some pine nuts too, if you like.
- Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.
Rich in colors, flavors and textures, this southwestern chicken salad gives you a wonderful reason to heat up the barbeque. Warm succulent chicken breast is paired with avocado, black beans, a lime and cilantro dressing, and more, to offer a true taste of the southwest. This is a healthy option for the summer and it makes a delicious dinner when the weather is hot and you want something simple yet satisfying. Make any changes you like, such as swapping the spinach for romaine, or the chicken for shrimp. You will find anything goes with this salad. Else just make it exactly as described and you will love the flavors it offers, for sure.
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