Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato and Black Bean

For casual entertaining or an easy weeknight meal this dish gets the thumbs up from my husband.  Black beans are popular in Latin American cuisine and are also found in Cajun and Creole cuisines of South Louisiana. The black bean has a dense, meaty texture making it popular in vegetarian dishes. Because of its mix of protein and fiber, black beans have amazing health benefits on the digestive tract, blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular along with being the best source of phytonutrients. Click here to learn more.

Other salads to consider:  Cobb Salad, Marinated Seafood SaladWarm Lamb & Roasted Red Pepper SaladLamb with Mango & Couscous Salad, Roasted Fennel, Chili & Sweet Potato SaladBarbecued Rainbow Trout with Herb & Asparagus Salad.

Serves 4
adapted from Fine Cooking

1 to 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro/coriander (plus leaves for garnish)
2 teaspoons honey
freshly ground black pepper
green Tabasco (optional)
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
1 large scallion, thinly sliced
2 small heads Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium firm-ripe avocado
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or pepitas

Butterfly the chicken breast by slicing it horizontally almost but not entirely in half so you can open it like a book. Combine the chili powder, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Rub some of the spice mix over both sides of the butterflied chicken breast and let sit a while before grilling.  Clean and oil the grill grate on the barbecue. Grill the breast until the edges of the top side are white, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until just done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Let the chicken rest 5 minutes.

In a small bowl or a glass jar with a tight lid, combine the olive oil, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper,  and a few shakes of green Tabasco (if using). Whisk or shake well to combine.  Arrange lettuce on a platter or four plates. Top with chicken, beans, avocado, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro leaves. Pour dressing over the salad and garnish with pine nuts or pepitas.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: This is how you turn a salad into a meal!  The rub on the chicken sets the tone making the whole salad burst with flavor.  Enjoy!


  1. The Curious Cat on June 2, 2011 at 20:31

    Looks delicious…one to bookmark – need to eat more healthy stuff! xxx

  2. The Culinary Chase on June 3, 2011 at 20:36

    Thanks Curious! As Jamie Oliver would say, easy peasy! 🙂