I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I’m a salad girl, and I eat one every day. When I eat out, I normally gravitate toward the big salads on the menu instead of ordering a heavy entree, and that’s also true when I go out for Mexican food. It’s not that I don’t like enchiladas, tacos, etc. — I love them! I just don’t like feeling weighed down at the end of a meal. If I see a salad like this Santa Fe Chicken Salad with Tangy Lime Dressing on the menu, I’m gonna order it. It’s got everything I love — grilled chicken, roasted corn, black beans, avocado, green onions, and cherry tomatoes. The clincher? The fresh, tangy lime dressing and crunchy tortilla strips over the top! This is my kind of salad.
This salad is a main dish and is guaranteed to satisfy. It’s packed with so many fresh, stick-to-your-ribs ingredients, it has to! It’s got grilled chicken, for starters. Grilling your chicken with plain old salt and pepper is fine here as the dressing is flavor-packed, or with your favorite seasoning. Mine happens to be Susie Q’s Santa Maria Style Seasoning, which is a combination of garlic, salt, parsley, and pepper. It’s impossible to impart how much I love this seasoning. I’ve been ordering it online for years, and it’s great with just about everything.
As for the roasted corn, I roasted a couple of ears of corn out of the husks on the grill until they were blackened on all sides. I let them cool, and cut the kernels off. I adore grilled corn, and realize you may not share my enthusiasm in going to the trouble of preparing it. That’s where Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn comes in handy! Heat it up in a skillet and add it in your salad. The roasted corn is probably my favorite ingredient in this salad. 😀
Every good Santa Fe salad must have crunchy tortilla strips on top. It’s just not the same without them! I was out of them…OMG…so I used a pizza cutter and cut up some thin strips and fried them in a skillet over medium heat. They cooked in two minutes flat! A little salt, and I was good to go. 😉
The crowning glory of this salad is the tangy, lime dressing. Fresh lime juice, maple syrup, and some spices like cumin, cayenne pepper, and some dried cilantro went into it. I made this dressing extra limey with the juice of two limes. To me, there’s no such thing as too much lime. Feel free to tone it down a notch if it’s too much for you. Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or any old day of the week, this salad is a winner. It’s fresh, tangy, and delicious!
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, grilled and sliced (about 2 large)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- ⅔ cup roasted corn (grilled and cut from the cob, or frozen roasted corn, cooked according to package directions)
- 1 avocado, seeded and diced
- ⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and tortilla strips, for serving
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (agave syrup or honey ok)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon dried cilantro (1 teaspoon fresh, chopped cilantro)
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place the lettuce, green onions, cherry tomatoes, black beans, roasted corn, avocado, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Toss together gently, and serve on plates. Top with the chicken and tortilla strips.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, cumin, cilantro, and cayenne pepper. Add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Drizzle the dressing over the salads.
- Serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.
To prepare grilled corn, remove the corn from the husk. Grill over a lightly oiled grill or grill pan over medium to medium high heat. Turn the corn about every 3-4 minutes, or until the corn has blackened. Continue cooking until all sides have been cooked. Remove from heat, cool, and cut the corn from the cobs.