Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

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Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

This Tex-Mex-inspired salad entree is a family dinner that combines texture and flavor.

Crispy greens and sweet corn are combined with a spicy sauce drizzled with cilantro.

It is tossed with chicken thighs dipped in an old school taco seasoning mix and cooked in a hot skillet.

Crispy French fries and salty Cotija cheese help tie it all together.

It's a crowd-pleasing dish that works on the lighter side, a perfect warm-weather meal.

Chopped Salad Flavor Variations

As for the taste, anything goes, but make sure the ingredients match.

  • Mediterranean: cucumber, tomato, feta cheese and mint.
  • Italian: romaine lettuce, red onion, salami and bell pepper.
  • Waldorf: celery, walnuts, apple and chicken.
  • Classic Cobb: Lettuce, chopped egg and bits of bacon.

Ingredients
For the salad

  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped and packed
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup English or Persian cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 chives, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh (2 medium ears) or frozen and thawed corn kernels
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 12 corn chips
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese

For the bandage

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

Combine the salad ingredients:

Combine lettuce, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, and scallions in a large bowl. Put it aside.

Brown the corn:

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium or large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn.

Season the corn with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and just tender, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a plate.

Season the chicken:

Sprinkle taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over surface of chicken, rubbing and coating so chicken is fully seasoned.

Cook the chicken:

In the same skillet you used to cook the corn, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and place over medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until deep brown on the bottom and the meat is opaque halfway down the side, 4 to 5 minutes.

Flip the chicken and continue cooking, until browned on the other side and cooked through, 3 to 5 more minutes.

Cut the chicken:

Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces.

Make the salad dressing:

Place the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, and oil in a blender and blend until smooth.

Add 1 tablespoon of water, if needed, to run the blender.

Alternatively, make this dressing by hand.

Finely chop the coriander and place in a medium bowl. Combine all salad dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.

Finish and serve the salad:

Add the corn and chicken to the bowl with the salad ingredients. Crumble the tortillas on top.

Add about two-thirds of the sauce and stir lightly.

Add more sauce and mix again if necessary. Divide salad among 4 bowls, top with crumbled Cotija cheese, and serve.

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