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.
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.
This colorful salad adds sweet and spicy to grilled chicken.
Grilled chipotle-orange chicken salad recipe
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Reserve the remaining mixture for basting the chicken.
For the salad dressing
- 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.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the chicken
- 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.
- 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.
- When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the heat, and let sit for a few minutes. Cut the chicken into cubes.
Assemble the salad
- In a large bowl, toss the romaine lettuce and red bell pepper with the salad dressing. Divide the mixture among 4 bowls.
- Add the grilled chicken pieces and orange segments over the lettuce and red pepper pieces.
- Divide the cheese, and sprinkle it over each serving.
- Serve immediately.
Upgrade your chicken salad with these vibrant flavors.