Friday, January 23, 2015

Mexican Chicken Salad

Another recipe from our January healthy eating kick, this one from the lovely Heather Pierce Giannone.  I am a huge fan of Chipotle, and this salad is sort of a healthier version of a burrito bowl, with salad greens in place of rice.  In fact, I may have cheated and gotten a little container of Chipotle guacamole to top the salad, because I forgot to add an avocado to my shopping list!  The base of the salad is mixed greens dressed in a bold lime vinaigrette -- super tart and super flavorful.  On top goes a bean-corn salsa.  You could absolutely add a jalapeno or some cayenne to the mix if you'd like a spicier dish.  Then comes broiled chicken breast.  This technique from Heather is genius and is definitely going to be my go-to method for cooking chicken in the future.  It's more hands-off than sauteeing and the chicken doesn't dry out, and it's quicker than poaching (plus you get the yummy browned bits).  Finally, top off the salad with a little guacamole (cheat with Chipotle like me if you must!) or some sliced avocado to add a creamy, rich element to the salad.  This was great for dinner, and leftovers were also fantastic the next day for lunch.  So good we're having it again this week, which is saying a lot because I rarely repeat dishes!

Mexican Chicken Salad (adapted from Heather Pierce Giannone)
Serves 3-4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch
Salt and pepper
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup frozen corn, thawed and rinsed
Olive oil
Juice of one lime
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Generous pinch of ground cumin

For the dressing:
1/4 cup plus 2 T olive oil
2 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
Juice of 2 limes
Pinch of salt

To serve:
1 bag mixed salad greens (a mix with arugula is nice)
Guacamole or sliced avocado, to serve

1. Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the chicken on the baking sheet season with salt and pepper.  Broil on each side for 3-5 minutes, until nicely browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest about 5 minutes, tented with foil.  Then slice into bite-sized pieces.
2. Meanwhile, combine the beans and corn with a generous drizzle of olive oil, the lime juice, the green onion, and a generous pinch of cumin.  Season with salt.  Stir well, and then taste and adjust seasonings.  Set aside.
3. Make the dressing.  Combine the olive oil, Dijon, honey, lime juice, and salt in a jar with a tightly fitting lid.  Screw on the lid, and shake well to combine.
4. To serve, toss a few big handfuls of salad greens with about half the dressing, adding more as desired.  Divide among plates, and then top with the chicken and the bean-corn salad.  Finally, top with a small scoop of guacamole or a few slices of avocado.  If you don't have avocado on hand, sour cream would also be a good choice to add a bit of richness.

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