The weather in Atlanta, GA has been spectacular this March, and it feels like summer here (86 degrees!), not spring. I’m in the mood for a great salad, and this Tex-Mex one sounded perfect to me. You can make it as hot as you like by throwing on more jalapeño peppers or by adding a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to the dressing. It’s a cool, healthy but at the same time hearty dinner. The special part of this salad is the homemade jalapeño dressing – it’s fabulous!
I’m using grilled chicken for this salad since it’s such mild weather where I am, but you of course can use rotisserie chicken in it’s place.
Southwestern Chicken Salad with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
4 – 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup bottled Italian dressing
6 cups romaine or other lettuce, shredded
1 cup tomato, diced
1 large avocado, diced
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup green or red onion, sliced
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
1/4 cup crumbled tortilla chips (optional)
1/4 cup jalapeño ranch dressing (see below for recipe)
fresh or pickled sliced jalapenos to taste
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
Marinate the chicken a half an hour (or up to 24 hours) with your favorite Italian dressing.
Grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side, set aside, let cool and slice.
Assemble salad and enjoy!
Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
4 oz. cream cheese (I prefer neufchâtel), softened
1/4 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 green onion, sliced
1 TBSP cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor.
Pulse until mixed thoroughly.
Pour into a jar and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend.
*All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.