It’s hard to believe that we are already more than halfway through the month of July. With summertime temperatures rising across the country, light, refreshing, and easy-to-prepare recipes are the order of the day.
In our search to find the best of light, healthy, and tasty, this recipe from Simply Recipes for Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing fits the bill. Moreover, we were able to adapt it to add protein to fit with vegetarian and vegan diets too.
This recipe fits the dietary requirements for:
- Gluten-free diets
- Low Sugar or No Sugar diets
- Keto-Friendly (don’t add corn or tortilla chips)
Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad by Simply Recipes adapted by Chamein Canton
- For the salad
- 6 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped and packed
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 1 cup English or Persian cucumber, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon plus1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears) or frozen and thawed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 package of extra-firm tofu, drained or 1 package seitan)
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (low-sodium taco seasoning or your favorite taco seasoning in the packet or homemade)
- 12 corn tortilla chips
- 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (Feta cheese or Cheddar cheese can be substituted) (For Vegans mozzarella or cheddar shreds are a good choice)
- For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine salad ingredients:
Combine the lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and scallions in a large serving bowl. Set aside.
Char the corn:
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium or large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn.
Season corn with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until blackened in spots and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Season the chicken:
Sprinkle the taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the surface of the chicken, rubbing it in and coating it so the chicken is fully seasoned.
Cook the chicken:
In the same skillet used to cook the corn add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until deeply brown along the bottom and the flesh turns opaque about halfway up the side, 4 to 5 minutes.
Flip the chicken and continue cooking, until brown on the second side and fully cooked through another 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut the chicken:
Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Make the salad dressing:
Place the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, and olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water, if needed, to get the blender going.
Alternatively, make this dressing by hand. Finely chop the cilantro and place it in a medium bowl. Combine all salad dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Finish and serve the salad:
Add the corn and chicken into the bowl with the salad ingredients. Crumble the tortilla chips over the top.
Add about two-thirds of the dressing and toss to lightly coat. Add more dressing and toss again, if needed. Divide salad into 4 bowls, top with crumbled Cotija cheese, and serve.
Notes for Vegan and Vegetarians
- To replace the chicken, you can use extra-firm tofu or seitan instead. Prepare it as you would the chicken, being mindful not to crowd the pan when sauteing in the pan. To keep it from steaming, cook the tofu or seitan in batches.
For those who don’t like Cilantro
- You can use parsley to make the dressing in the same proportions.
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