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Sunday dinner: Grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad

Upgrade your chicken salad with a spicy, citrusy flavor. A little spice (and citrus) is always nice when tossed together for a main dish meal.

This Sunday dinner recipe for grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad offers a burst of vibrant flavors. Fire up the grill for this main dish that gets tossed with fresh greens and a citrus dressing and then sprinkled with a bit of Cotija cheese.

Grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad

Pepper this salad with your favorite “bits and pieces,” like corn kernels, chunks of avocado or toasted pepitas. The orange segments I used in this recipe are a nice way to tie together the marinade and salad dressing.

Grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad

This colorful salad adds sweet and spicy to grilled chicken.

Grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad

Grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad recipe

Serves 4


For the marinade, basting sauce and salad dressing

  • 1/2 cup orange juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • Zest from 1 orange, divided
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sauce from a 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 pepper, minced (reserve remaining peppers and sauce for another recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

For the salad

  • 2 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, ends trimmed, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, cut into strips
  • 2 oranges, sectioned, membrane removed
  • 2 ounces Mexican Cotija cheese, crumbled


For the marinade and basting sauce

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/2 the orange zest, the honey, chipotle sauce and pepper, cumin, chile powder, garlic, salt and black pepper.
  2. Place 1/3 of the mixture in a large sealable plastic baggie. Add the chicken breasts to the baggie. Seal the baggie, and massage the mixture into the chicken. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  3. Reserve the remaining mixture for basting the chicken.

For the salad dressing

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of orange juice, the olive oil, white wine vinegar and the remaining orange zest. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the chicken

  1. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade), and grill it over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Use the reserved marinade to baste the chicken as it cooks.
  2. Flip the chicken once or twice during cooking, basting it on both sides. The USDA notes that a safe internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F, as measured by a meat thermometer.
  3. When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the heat, and let sit for a few minutes. Cut the chicken into cubes.

Assemble the salad

  1. In a large bowl, toss the romaine lettuce and red bell pepper with the salad dressing. Divide the mixture among 4 bowls.
  2. Add the grilled chicken pieces and orange segments over the lettuce and red pepper pieces.
  3. Divide the cheese, and sprinkle it over each serving.
  4. Serve immediately.

Upgrade your chicken salad with these vibrant flavors.

More Sunday dinner recipes

Red Thai pulled pork tacos with slaw
Hearty pasta with beef ragu
Ranch chicken and bacon wraps

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