If I could insert an emjoi right here, it would be a crying one. No, it wouldn’t be the “laughing so hard that I am crying” emoji but would be the ugly crying emoji because I am doing something really hard! I am a food blogger and spend most of my days scrolling through food photos, creating recipe ideas in my mind, making them in my kitchen, and then eating them! I am basically looking or thinking about cakes and cookies on the daily.
So I decided to go on a diet because my pants don’t fit anymore and I can’t go EVERYWHERE in sweatpants (it is 105 degrees in AZ so I have no business wearing them anyway)! I will just say that I am just thankful joggers are in style. Please stay in style, joggers. They along with sweatpants and pj’s are basically my “uniform.” #keepingitreal
In an attempt to give this diet a real shot, I am giving up the sugar and embracing the greens and I will keep you posted how long I stay sane. There are some salads that I literally have to choke down, feeling like I am eating rabbit food. If you are going to eat a salad, you want it to taste good, right?
Here’s a salad that will make you forget that it’s even healthy. This Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch is made with chili lime grilled chicken, roasted corn, romaine lettuce, orange peppers, grape tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, and avocado. Let’s not forget about the Cilantro Lime Ranch either. Well, let’s just agree….Ranch Dressing just makes everything better.
Although, this salad is way good even without dressing. I kid you not. “Diet girl” here has tested it out.
The key to this Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad is making the star ingredient — grilled chicken — juicy and flavorful. A simple marinade of olive oil, lime juice, and spices can really transform chicken. Letting it sit for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour gives the marinade time to do its magic. It makes the chicken more tender, juicy, and flavorful. The chicken can be grilled on in outdoor grill or even in a skillet on the stovetop. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
This Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch is the ultimate summer salad, using corn straight from the cob and ripe tomatoes plucked from the vine. A good timesaver is to throw a few ears of corn on the cob on the grill at the same time you grill the chicken. Grilling corn on the cob really brings out the flavors.
Avocados turn brown easily so a simple solution is to sprinkle them with a little fresh lime juice and salt. It keeps them from browning and brings out their natural flavor.
- Chili Lime Chicken:
- 1 lb. Chicken Breast
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce (or 2 Romaine Hearts), chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 Large Avocado (or 2 small avocados), sliced
- 1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
- 2 Ears of Fresh Corn or 1 cup White Corn
- 1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved (or 1 large tomatoes, sliced)
- 1 Orange Pepper, sliced (mini peppers)
- Cilantro Lime Ranch:
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1 Ranch Dressing Packet or 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
- 1 cup Cilantro
- 2 Limes, juiced
- 1 Jalapeno, deseeded
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt together and pour evenly all over chicken breasts. Allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes - 1 hour before cooking.
- Outdoor Grill directions:
- Preheat the grill to medium heat.Place chicken on grill and cook for for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. Add corn to grill to roast, if desired. Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- Stovetop directions:
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- To make dressing:
- In food processor, pulse mayonnaise, buttermilk, ranch dressing mix, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno. Taste and add salt, if desired.
- To assemble salad:
- Place chopped romaine lettuce in large bowl. Top with grilled chicken, sliced avocado (sprinkle with fresh lime juice and salt to prevent browning and bring out flavor), pepper jack cheese, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, and orange pepper.
- Pour cilantro lime ranch over salad and toss to serve.
It’s summer….let’s not heat up the kitchen with a hot meal. Let the outdoor grill do most of the work. You are going to LOVE this Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch. Come eat salad with me!
Happy Cooking! xo