Southwest-Style Chopped Chicken Salad

Inspiration: I created this dish as a meal that would be a good on-the-go dinner when Brandon and I were taking childbirth education classes at the hospital. The classes ran from 6:30 t0 9:00 at night, right through dinner time, so I was looking for something that we could pack up into a cooler and eat a few hours later during class. When the occasion arises where we need to eat a quick dinner away from home like that, I would much rather pack a meal from home than be forced to grab something from a fast food place. There’s nothing worse to me than gobbling down some food that I’d rather not be eating while I’m busy and in a rush. To a couple of people who  love food as much as we do, we always feel like meal times should be enjoyed, no matter what.

What We Loved: This salad was really good for just what I intended – an easy throw-together meal that was great eaten cold and on-the-go. We really enjoyed the combination of flavors – moist chicken, creamy avocado, bright tomatoes, earthy black beans, and awesome little cubes of spicy pepper jack. We both thought that the pepper jack cubes were the best part! And to top if off, everything was coated in some lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, and salt, which really tied everything together.

Tips: I served this with some fresh blueberries alongside, and that was a good pairing. I think that mixing some blueberries right into the salad would be delicious! Or, it would be great to serve all of the ingredients over a bed of salad greens, with the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper whisked together to form a dressing instead of just added into the salad separately.

Southwest-Style Chopped Chicken Salad
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2-3

2 chicken breasts
Butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
2-3 oz pepper jack cheese, cubed
Half pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small avocado, diced
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1 lime
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan, and saute the chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan, let it cool, and then cut into cubes. Cool in the refrigerator until nice and cold.

2. Add the chicken, pepper jack cheese cubes, grape tomatoes, black beans, avocado, and cilantro to a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over everything, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.

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6 thoughts on “Southwest-Style Chopped Chicken Salad

  1. This is very similar to my go-to salad that I eat on a regular basis. I don’t cook, so I often opt to leave out the chicken and instead add a boiled egg (I have at least managed to use the internet to figure this cooking method out!) sliced into two halves and served on the side. When I pack it to-go, I just leave the egg whole and drop it right on to the top of the salad. It weighs it down just enough for me to get the lid on. I agree, the key to this salad being a huge success is the large chunks of cheese. Do not think you can get away with the shredded version here, just not enough surface are to pack a good enough punch.

    • Oooh – I love the idea of using a hard boiled egg instead of chicken. I eat a lot of eggs (love them), so that really sounds delicious to me! And I totally agree that shredded cheese just wouldn’t be the same!

  2. heedleselle says:

    This looks great! I love your blog, it is the cutest thing ever! Not to mention all of the food is fantastic! Keep it up! PLEASE!!!!! (: ~ nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com

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