southwest salad with chicken

Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken

This salad is my go to weeknight dinner when I’m out all day on a shoot. After a long day it’s easy to throw together, plus the chicken and dressing can be made ahead of time. There are so many flavors going on with the light cilantro lime vinaigrette and tender smooth lettuce offsets the smoky barbecue chicken and fire roasted corn, I could eat an entire serving bowl myself. Call it butter lettuce, Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce; it is my favorite lettuce to serve in salads because of the light, sweet flavor and tender leaves.



For the dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup cilantro, chopped


For the chicken:

½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/3 cup BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s®)


For the salad:

10 ounces butter lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 avocado, peeled, pit removed and diced

½ cup fire-roasted corn

½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained



For the dressing:

Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small mixing bowl and whisk until all ingredients are combined.


For the chicken:

Heat the grill to high. Brush the chicken with the barbecue sauce until completely coated. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through. Remove the chicken from grill and let stand on a cutting board for 5 minutes. When cool to the touch cut the chicken into 1” pieces.


To assemble the salad:

Place the butter lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Add dressing to the salad, 2 tablespoons at a time and toss until all lettuce is lightly and evenly coated. Add the green onions, corn, black beans and avocado then toss to combine. Divide the salad evenly into bowls, top each with some of the chicken and serve immediately.


Serves 2 as an entrée, 4 as a side.


southwest salad
butter lettuce
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