Southwest Grilled Chicken Tortilla Salad

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Before I started this blog, I had sheets of white paper with favorite meals and menus under several categories.  This one fell under "Crowd Pleaser".  If you are the cook of the household, you know that it is hard to please everyone's palate (especially when there are kids' palates involved).  So it's a big bonus when everyone can agree and get excited about a meal. 

I wrote the recipe to serve as individual plates, but I actually like to serve it buffet style.  My son likes more meat, one of my daughters likes more veggies and avocado, everyone loves the tortilla strips, and I just eat what's leftover (if there is any)☺.  Everyone's happy, right?

The chicken is marinated in some Southwest Chipotle Ranch Dressing before it is grilled to perfection.  The veggies are also grilled and then diced and tossed with black beans for a veggie salsa to dress the salad.  Some creamy avocado and crunchy fried tortilla strips garnish the plate.  A sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro, a drizzle of dressing, and a squeeze of a lime wedge round out the flavors. Give this salad a try, and I bet you'll be adding this one to your "crowd pleaser" list.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Tortilla Salad
serves 4 as a main course, six as a light meal

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper, cored and sliced in half
1 large red onion peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds (do not separate rings)
2 ears of corn, husked 
Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 avocados, cut into cubes
2-3 hearts of Romaine lettuce, torn or roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Fried corn tortilla strips (recipe follows)
Chopped fresh cilantro to taste

For the Corn Tortilla Strips
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch strips (cut large strips in half)

For the Salad
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the chicken breast and 1/4 cup of the dressing.  Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Lightly oil the cooking grates and grill the chicken until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the grill and cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil; let rest for at least 20 minutes.  Maintain grill temperature. (Chicken can be made up to 1 day in advance.)

Place the red pepper, corn, and red onion on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes total. Remove from the heat and place on the baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Chop the red bell pepper and onion into a small dice and remove the corn kernels from the cob.  Add the vegetables to a bowl along with the black beans and toss to combine.  Taste for seasoning; set aside.  Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces; set aside.

When ready to serve, divide the lettuce between the plates/bowls.  Top the lettuce with the vegetable mixture, diced chicken, and avocado.  Garnish with the tortilla strips, cilantro, and lime wedges.  Serve with the Southwest Chipotle Ranch Dressing.  Enjoy!

For the Corn Tortilla Strips
Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a large fry pot to 350ยบ F.  Add a handful of the tortilla strips to the hot oil.  Use metal tongs to keep them from sticking together.  Fry until golden and crisp, about 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and immediately season with kosher salt.  Continue with the remaining strips.

Source: The Galley Gourmet  


  1. I made this today. Terrific! Reminds me of the Southwestern Salad from BJ's Pizza here in California. Loved the homemade tortilla strips--perfect topping.

    1. I am so pleased you enjoyed the recipe!


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