Mexican Chicken Salad with Cilantro Dressing (vegan options)

Mexican Chipotle Chicken Salad with Skinny Cilantro Dressing

We have relocated to the desert and my hubs is back at work so the babes and I are on our own. We kicked off her half birthday with a baby’s version of cake, a banana! I was initially planning on avoiding any fruits for a while but I felt like she deserved something delicious. She basically attacked it she liked it so much.

This morning she tried her first green smoothie. Admittedly, I shouldn’t have given it to her but she kept reaching for my cup so I let her have a taste. I’m so proud, she’s just the sweetest and happiest girl. If only she could help me clean the house or cook dinner.  I no longer have the luxury to make ‘elaborate’ meals (as my husband calls them) and I have to think ‘simply’ which is a challenge.

If anyone has any simple meal ideas, please let me know. We’ve had breakfast for dinner more than a couple of nights the past couple of weeks. My friend, Gio Ott, suggested some pita bread pizza’s that sound sooo yummy. Anyway, I was inspired to make this salad as my first of many ‘simple’ meals based on the fact that I knew my hubs would love it. If chipotle were within walking distance we would probably eat there daily.

For my vegan/vegetarian friends (or for those who would like to save their meat for dinner) I would suggest sautéing the black beans with some cumin, garlic, and onions and pairing it with brown rice or quinoa. For your dressing there is a fabulous Chickpea Basil Dressing on The Minimalist Vegan’s, ‘5 Vegan Sauce’s and Dressings That Will Take Your Meals To The Next Level,’ that the flavors would go really nicely with. I’m a sucker for anything with Tamari so I was sold at the ingredient list.

If that’s not your thing– nbd.

Here’s the scoop on the chicken… I used the Chili Lime Rub from Williams Sonoma which is absolutely ridiculous on anything- veggies, chicken, steak, you name it. Though, I realize not everyone has it in their pantry so you can make your own seasoning with this recipe from Mr. and Mrs. Powell. (I have yet to try it but I believe Karina ;))


Chipotle Chicken Salad

Chipotle Chicken Salad

  • 1 head of romaine, washed, drained, and cut into strips
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup of frozen sweet corn, thawed in hot water or in the microwave for 1.5 minutes (I love the costco brand)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, seeded, halved, and sliced
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 organic chicken breasts or thighs, seasoned, grilled or sauteed, and cubed

1. Cut the chicken into strips (you can also buy chicken tenders if you would like to skip this step). Season both sides of the chicken liberally.

2. Place a non stick skillet on medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil (I have a misto which sprays the olive oil thinly but do what works). When the pan is hot reduce heat to medium and place your chicken strips into the pan. Do not crowd the pan or the chicken will steam instead of browning and brown food tastes good!

3. Cook for 6-10 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink, turning twice. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

4. For serving you can either have everything separate and serve individually or place the sliced romaine, diced tomatoes, black beans, and sliced or diced avocado, in a large bowl. Dice the chicken and place overtop. Sprinkle the chopped Cilantro over the chicken and garnish with the lime wedges. Serve with Skinny Cilantro Lime Dressing

Skinny Cilantro Lime Dressing

Skinny Cilantro Lime Dressing

One of my favorite dressings on the planet is a dressing from Cafe Rio (Utah’s version of Chipotle). It’s a Cilantro Ranch dressing thats made with sour cream and mayo. As kids my mom would make a big batch of it to smother on tortillas, slow cooked chicken, beans, rice, you name it, it made everything taste better (thanks mama bear). This is the skinny version of that dressing… You will get the same amount of ‘cilantroey-punch’ without the added fat. Enjoy.

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Place into a blender and blend till smooth and creamy.

note: I prepped the dressing the night before to expedite things faster for dinner the next day.

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