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Mexican Chicken Salad Recipe

Mexican Chicken Salad

Prep Time 45min

This cold, crunchy salad evokes the essence of summer. The dressing is limey and creamy and full of exciting treats: tortilla chips and grilled chicken, corn and delicious radishes. Of course you could change it in a million ways: you could use spinach, say, which would up the nutrients; you could do steak or ground beef instead of chicken (or skip the meat altogether); you could swap in roasted green pumpkin seeds for the chips (another nutrient-booster); you could add some grated cheddar (I meant to and forgot) or black olives; you can swap in other kinds of beans, add chopped tomatoes, dress it with a mixture of salsa and sour cream. Although, I have to recommend the dressing: it's not hard, and part of it doubles as a marinade for the chicken, so it's kind of a two-fer situation. If I were making this for my own self, I would add a bit of chopped red onion.

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • Juice of 2 limes (around 1/3 cup) plus the finely grated zest of one of them
  • 2 teaspoons koshers salt, divided use (or half as much table salt)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 head of iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • The kernels cut from 3 ears of corn (or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large bunch of radishes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 a bag of tortilla chips, crushed


Yields 6 servings

How to make it

  1. Beging by making the dressing and marinade: whisk together the lime juice and zest, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the garlic and the cilantro.
  2. Pour half of this lime mixture into a dish large enough to hold the chicken, then whisk in the olive oil and the other teaspoon of salt; add the chicken, turn to coat it with the marinade, cover it and refrigerate for up to 4 hours or as little as 20 minutes.
  3. Now take the remaining half of the lime mixture and whisk in the mayo, buttermilk, and sugar. Taste it--add salt, sugar, or lime as needed--then cover and refrigerate. This is the dressing.
  4. Prepare the corn: bring a tablespoon or so of water to a simmer in a small pan over medium-high heat, then add the fresh or frozen corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, around 2 or 3 minutes.
  5. When you're ready to eat, heat a gas grill or barbeque and cook the chicken until it is just cooked through, turning it occasionally, around 10 minutes altogether. Set it aside to cool on a cutting board while you assemble the salad.
  6. Spread the lettuce on a very large plate, then add rings of radishes, beans, corn, and avocado. Slice the chicken and arrange it on the top of the salad, then bring it to the table so everyone can see how pretty it is.
  7. Add the dressing and chips, then toss and serve.