A hearty dinner salad that is a true flavor fiesta! With blackened chicken grilled and sliced thin, delicious crisp lettuce, diced peppers, avocado and a few hard boiled eggs this salad won’t leave you hungry. Top it off with a creamy avocado style dressing for a delicious summertime meal.
It takes a special salad I find to actually make you feel not only full, but happy after eating it. I am of the opinion that THIS is that kind of salad and that you absolutely need to add it to your dinner rotation.
Whether you’re looking for lighter fair recipes, something that doesn’t involve turning on your oven (you will need the grill or stove though), or just want to add a bulkier, flavor packed salad to your menu, then you came to the right place.
This salad is packed with my Cajun BBQ dry rub and seared chicken, deliciously crisp lettuce, fiesta style salsa, hard boiled eggs, and an easy avocado dressing that ties it all together. Make this for meal prep, lunch, or for a family dinner and you won’t be disappointed. Get the full recipe details and salad prepping tips below. Let’s dive in!
- Large Serving Bowl/ Platter
- Tongs/ Serving Utensils
- Knife & Cutting Board
- Small Pot & Frying Pan
- Food Processor/ Blender
- Measuring Spoons
- Mixing Bowl
What’s the best way to prep lettuce for a salad?
I’m going to go all culinary arts teacher on you for a second and talk to you a little bit about the do’s and do not’s of working with lettuce.
- Do NOT: Chop your lettuce
- Do: Tear your lettuce by hand
Why? Because lettuce is made up of tiny cells filled with water. When you cut the lettuce for your salad, you actually break open these “cells” and allow more moisture to be released from the lettuce.
This isn’t the end of the world if you plan on eat your salad right away, but long term it will wilt faster and get soggy. This is a big “no-no” especially if you like to meal prep. By tearing your lettuce instead, you allow the lettuce to not break as many of these “cells” open. Plus, I think it allows you to make a pretty looking salad (in my opinion).
What lettuce should I use?
- Do NOT: Use Iceberg
- Do: Use medium to dark green leafy greens
Why? Iceberg is essentially water. The lighter the lettuce the more water it contains (and the less nutrients it offers). I love a great romaine lettuce. It’s crisp, flavorful and still mild (unlike our friend Kale…Kale is a tough chick). Look at what is in season. Seasonal lettuce is going to usually taste better and have more nutrients when it grows naturally and locally. Ultimately though, use what you actually like to eat!
Fiesta Salad Preparation Tips:
I want flavor and fulfillment from a salad. I don’t want to be done eating and 30 minutes later feel like I need a second dinner. For this salad, I used chicken and hard boiled eggs for my protein. I pan seared some homemade blackened chicken (this is flavorful, spicy, and juicy and I highly recommend trying my homemade Cajun dry rub recipe) and boiled some eggs.
The rest of the salad was inspired by a southwestern salsa my aunt used to bring to family parties. Her salsa was bright, colorful, and seriously packed with flavor. I did a rendition of this without the beans and the corn to keep the carbs low. The salsa is made up of:
- Bell Peppers (green, red, yellow or orange)
- Red Onion
The dressing is very simple and very addictive! In a food processor or blender, combine one ripe avocado, mayonnaise (I use avocado mayo but regular works fine too), fresh garlic, salt/pepper, cilantro, and some lime juice. I blend till it’s smooth and creamy.
Give it a quick taste test and adjust to your liking! If you like it a little thinner, you can add a little water to it too to thin it out. I find this makes it easier to pour onto the salad!
Building The Salad:
- Place the lettuce down on your platter for your base.
- Sprinkle some of the southwestern fiesta salsa mixture over the top
- Add sliced blackened chicken and the halved hard boiled eggs.
- Garnish with sliced avocado and the avocado dressing
If you plan on meal prepping with this salad, keep the lettuce separate from the other ingredients to prevent it from getting soggy. Do not dress your salad, but leave it on the side. You can pre-slice your chicken, eggs, and keep your salsa all in one container for added flavor however.
Are you a fan of dinner salads or looking for other great meal prep options? Then check out these popular salad recipes!
- 3 Chicken Breasts, butterflied
- 4 Eggs, Hard Boiled
- 2 tbsp. Cajun BBQ Dry Rub
- 2 Heads of Romaine (or red or green leaf lettuce)
- 1 Jalapeno, minced
- 1 Tomato, diced
- 1/2 Red Pepper, diced
- 1/2 Yellow Pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup Red Onion, diced
- 1/2 Avocado, Sliced
- 3 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, minced
- 1/2 Lime, juiced
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 Ripe Avocado
- 1/2 cup Mayo (I use avocado mayo)
- 1 tbsp. Mustard
- 1/2 Lime, juiced
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 1/4 cup Cilantro, stems removed
- 1 tsp. Salt
- Begin by boiling the 4 hard boiled eggs. Immediately cool, peel, and set aside.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts and season with my Cajun dry rub spice blend. Season both sides of each chicken breast generously.
- Heat a pan to medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Sear the chicken on both sides and cook through. Remove from the heat and allow it to rest before slicing.
In a bowl, combine the peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, 1/2 a lime (juiced), the cilantro, cumin, and olive oil. Mix well and set aside.
Using a large salad bowl or platter, tear your lettuce (this helps eliminate the potential for sogginess) and place it across the platter or in the bowl.
- Sprinkle some of the vegetable mixture over the lettuce. Add your diced chicken, halved boiled eggs, and top with some sliced avocado pieces (do not add this until you are ready to serve to avoid browning).
- In a blender or food processor, combine the dressing ingredients. If it is really thick, add a little water to it to help thin it out and make it easier to pour. Add the dressing over the top and serve!
The chicken is great seared in a pan, but also tastes amazing if you grill it up for added flavor!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 773mgCarbohydrates: 13gNet Carbohydrates: 6gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 21g