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Southwest Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

Smokey, sweet, spicy, and healthy - this chicken and vinaigrette has it all! This is the kind of recipe that I make on a Sunday and eat all week long. During the summer - that means you'll rarely find my refrigerator without a mason jar of this vinaigrette or a container of this grilled chicken all ready for a quick salad. The chicken also is perfect on a BBQ chicken pizza or in a loaded quesadilla.

Author Christina Shoup



  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large chipotle pepper
  • ½ large fresh jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Salad - optional ingredients

  • mixed greens/romaine/little gems/kale
  • black beans, rinsed and drained
  • corn
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • radish, sliced
  • green onion, sliced
  • avocado, diced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • pepitas
  • crispy tortilla strips for topping


  1. For the chicken: Combine the marinade ingredients in a glass bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

  2. For vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Grill the chicken: Preheat the grill to high. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place chicken on the grill and discard the marinade. Cook chicken until juices run clear.

  4. Assemble the salad: Combine lettuce and desired ingredients in a large bowl and spoon enough dressing to lightly coat all the desired ingredients. Plate the salad and place chicken on top. Garnish with tortilla strips, if desired.

Recipe Notes

The vinaigrette makes enough for 4 entree sized salads as well as several salads throughout the week.  I don't include quantities for the salad ingredients but for a single salad I like to do: 2-3 cups of chopped lettuce, 1/4 cup each of black beans and corn, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 2 radishes, 1 green onion, 1/2 of an avocado, a few sprigs of cilantro and about a tablespoon of pepitas.  I always top with a big pile of chicken and am full and satisfied for hours.