posted January 03, 2020
Grilled Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Lime Ranch
This Grilled Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Lime Ranch is a refreshing, healthy way to enjoy grilled chicken. Beautifully seasoned chicken paired with a subtly spicy jalapeno lime ranch take a boring old salad from drab to fab!
Best Grilled Chicken Salad
You heard it here, folks. This is the best grilled chicken salad around. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and mix it up and let your taste buds decide! The secret to making this salad the best of the best is in the layers of flavor. Seasoned chicken, fresh veggies, lots of texture, a jalapeno lime ranch dressing, and crumbled queso fresco cheese will help you forget that you’re eating salad at all.
Oh, and this salad is crazy versatile. Pick your favorite lettuce as a base (I went with romaine, but if iceberg or a spring mix is your jam, go for it!). Next, the toppings and veggies are all you, man. Tomatoes, corn, sliced peppers, avocado, cheese, carrots, cabbage, onions, olives, cucumbers, and just about anything else that tickles your fancy can grace this salad. Pick your favorites, and you’re guaranteed to love this salad even more.
Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
Who says a salad has to be bland? If you’re making the choice to eat a green salad, then I say pack that meal with as much tasty flavor as you possibly can! That’s what I aimed to achieve with this southwest grilled chicken salad.
First up, we begin with perfectly seasoned chicken. I used my South of the Border Spice Rub to season this chicken. It’s like a really, really good taco seasoning (and way better than those packets you get at the store!). This seasoning is great on tacos, burritos, and especially chicken. Start your salad on the right foot with a flavorful, spiced chicken.
Grilled Chicken Salad Dressing
This southwest grilled chicken salad was just begging for the perfect salad dressing to keep the flavors exciting. In my opinion, dressing makes the salad, and for this salad, we’re making a jalapeno lime ranch from scratch.
To begin, assemble the following ingredients:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- juice of 2 limes
Combine all ingredients in a blender jar or food processor and pulse until well-combined. If you want a spicier salad dressing, include the jalapeno seeds, or use 2 jalapenos in the dressing. For a milder dressing, remove the seeds from the jalapeno before blending. You can also use half a jalapeno and add more as you go to get the heat just to your liking.
How to Make Grilled Chicken Salad
This salad is pretty easy to make; it’s all about how you prep each element and assemble. Here’s the order I put together all the components of this tasty grilled chicken salad:
- Make the dressing. First up, you’ll want to make the jalapeno lime ranch dressing for the salad. Combine all ingredients (scroll below to check out the recipe card) in a blender jar or food processor and blend until smooth. Place the dressing in a container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Grill the chicken and corn. Preheat your charcoal or gas grill to 450 degrees F. Season the chicken on all sides and place it directly on the grill grates. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F (use a reliable meat thermometer for this!). Also place the corn on the grill and grill 6-8 minutes, flipping every 2-3 minutes so each side is evenly grilled. Remove both the chicken and the corn from the grill. Tent the chicken under aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare your salad.
- Prep the veggies. Assemble and chop/slice all your vegetables and toppings for your salad. For this salad I used avocados, cherry tomatoes, red onion, yellow bell pepper, and queso fresco.
- Assemble the salad. Make your salad by beginning with a nice layer of chopped lettuce, then pile it high with all your veggies. Next, slice up the chicken just before assembling (this salad is great with either hot or cold chicken), and finish with a sprinkling of cheese. The dressing can be poured right on top of the salad, or it can be placed on the table for each guest to add their own amount.
Quick note: This recipe DOES NOT make a single-serving salad. This salad is a big one, and it’ll likely feed 4 people. I like to make it for dinner when we’re looking for something a bit lighter and refreshing for the whole family to enjoy.
More Salad Recipes
Now I know this is a BBQ website, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your BBQ skills to make something a bit lighter (and healthier on occasion). Check out more salad recipes (still made on your BBQ!) below:
Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe
Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own grilled chicken salad at home. Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page.
Grilled Chicken Salad
- 2 heads romaine or iceberg lettuce (chopped)
- 2 whole chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- 2 large ears of corn (husks and silk removed)
Jalapeno Lime Ranch
- ½ cup mayo
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 jalapeno (seeds optional)
- 1 bunch cilantro
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- juice of 2 limes
South of Border Spice Rub
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 ounces queso fresco cheese
- 2 avocados (sliced)
- 1 whole bell pepper (sliced)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (sliced)
- ½ medium red onion (thinly sliced)
- Make the salad dressing. Combine all ingredients for the jalapeno lime dressing in a blender jar or food processor and pulse until well combined and creamy. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.
- Season the chicken. Make the South of the Border rub by combining all ingredients in a bowl and using a fork or a whisk to break up any clumps. Season the chicken on both sides with the rub. (You can also use your favorite taco seasoning in place of the rub).
- Grill the chicken and the corn. Preheat the grill to 450 degrees F. Place the seasoned chicken directly on the grill grates and grill for 6-7 minutes per side until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Place the corn on the grill and grill for 6-8 minutes, flipping every couple minutes until the corn is evenly grilled.
- Prepare the salad toppings. While chicken and corn are grilling, prepare the lettuce, bell peppers (cut into strips), chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, thin sliced red onions, and queso fresco cheese.
- Rest the chicken. Remove the chicken and the corn from the grill. Tent the chicken with foil and rest for 10 minutes. Slice the chicken right before adding to the salad. Chicken can be served hot or cold on the salad.
- Assemble the salad. Layer of lettuce on bottom, vegetables around outside, sliced chicken breast in middle. Sprinkle with queso fresco and serve with the dressing on the side.
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