Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Makeover Monday Meals

Make Monday Tasty and Light

This weekend many areas across the country got a taste of hot summer temperatures to come. With Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer just a week away, many of us are going to transition to healthier meals that don’t take too much time.

To that end, Simply Recipes had a wonderful salad that came together in no time at all.

Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

PREP TIME25 mins

COOK TIME10 mins

TOTAL TIME35 mins

SERVINGS4 servings

Ingredients

  • 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 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
  • 12 corn tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 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

Method

  1. Combine salad ingredients: Combine the lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and scallions in a large serving bowl. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Season the chicken: Sprinkle the taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the surface of the chicken, rubbing it in and coating so the chicken is fully seasoned.
  4. 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.
  5. Cut the chicken: Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  6. 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 in a medium bowl. Combine all salad dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  7. 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.
  • If you can’t find Cotija cheese, feta cheese is a great substitute. I have people that aren’t fans of either cheese, so I used extra sharp cheddar
  • For vegans and vegetarians substitute extra-firm tofu for the chicken. Cut the tofu into cubes and let sit in a sieve lined with a paper towel or cheesecloth over a bowl for about 30 to 45 minutes to let some of the extra water drain away. This will help ensure that it will get a little char on it like the chicken.
  • If you are not a cilantro fan, use Italian parsley

1 Photo from Simply Recipes Alison Bickel