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Salads have been in the background for too long. Think about it: those salads from your childhood, replete with limp lettuce, tasteless vegetables, and gloppy dressing are no more. We’re too smart to eat boring salads as we’ve now realized they should be the main event. This bias could be from the fact that I eat a salad as a main meal almost daily. I’ll always cheer for bold fresh flavors to elevate the salad into a perfect meal. The best side effect: you can eat healthily and enjoy it!
A chicken fajita salad uses the best flavors from a fajita and is honestly easier to eat than the real thing. Stir-fried vegetables and chicken sit atop crisp lettuce with a full-on flavor bomb of a dressing. You will love this salad!
What is a fajita?
Traditionally, fajitas consist of strips of peppers, onions, and steak or chicken grilled or fried and served with tortillas. There are various methods and recipes, but the main ingredients usually stay the same. Just like in traditional fajitas, this starts with the meat. While steak may be more traditional, chicken breast is more foolproof and definitely a crowd-pleaser, especially for picky eaters.
After the meat marinates and cooks, the same skillet is used to quickly fry the peppers and onion. The vegetables pick up the bits of remaining flavor from the chicken and are finished with nontraditional beans. The beans add some heft to the salad and make it a rounded meal.
What is the difference between a marinade and a dressing?
- A marinade is a mixture of vinegar, oil, and spices. The mixture imparts some flavor but provides a better texture to the meat as it sits together in the refrigerator.
- A dressing is really the same as a marinade. The ratios may be different, but the results are almost identical.
So why even make a distinction? My point exactly! To add more flavor to the chicken, the dressing for this salad does double duty. First, it’s used as a marinade for the chicken breast. The lime juice in the dressing helps tenderize the chicken and add moisture. The remainder of the dressing provides a fresh punch to the salad and marries all the flavors!
Watch how to make this chicken fajita salad:
Chicken Fajita Salad
For the dressing
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 ½ tbsp honey
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 jalapeño seeds removed
- 2 inches cilantro stems
- ½ cup neutral oil
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
For the salad
- 2 chicken breasts (approx. 16 oz total) butterflied
- 1 small onion cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 1 yellow pepper sliced
- 1 red pepper sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ jalapeño with seeds
- 1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 head crisp romaine
For the dressing
- In a measuring cup, combine the lime juice, mustard, honey, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro stems, oil, cumin, and salt. Blend with an immersion blender or upright blender until smooth.
- With a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breast to flatten and make it more even. Pour ½ cup of the dressing over the chicken breast as a marinade. Cover and keep refrigerated for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Heat 1 tbsp neutral oil in a skillet over medium heat, 2 minutes. Add the marinated chicken breast, one at a time. Sear until browned and the temperature registers 160°F. Once the chicken has been cooked, add the prepared onion and peppers to the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Sauté until the vegetables are just tender, 4-6 minutes. Add the minced jalapeño and garlic. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Add the drained and rinsed beans. Cook until the beans are just warmed through, 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables and beans from the heat. Slice the chicken into strips and squeeze some fresh lime juice over the meat and sliced avocado. Chop the romaine and place it on a large platter. Drizzle with the remaining dressing to taste, as little or as much as desired. Mix with the lettuce. Add the prepared peppers, onion, and beans. Top with chicken, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.
Wow, this salad looks delicious, Kaleb! Who doesn’t like a southwestern salad? I’m looking forward to making this soon:)
PS – I just made your hummus with artichoke hearts yesterday and it is amazing!!
Not quick or simple but WOW the flavors are amazing. Well worth the time and effort. Everyone loved it. I added some leftover corn to the mix and served it with some Mexican rice on the side just in case there were picky eaters in the group. The salad was a huge hit. I have several who have claimed any leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Thank you Kaleb for another great recipe.
This dressing is amaaazing!!! 🔥🤗🎉 definitely going into my rotation!!! Ole! 💃🏼
This is what we are having tonight! Thanks again for a fabulous recipe Kaleb!!
I made this for dinner tonight and my family agreed it was the best thing I’ve made in a long time! So much flavor, but also light and fresh. I’m looking forward to the leftovers!
This was so fabulous with such fresh flavours
Thank you for sharing
So glad you enjoyed!
This was awesome! I served it like you did and we just scooped it up and put it in wraps, lettuce and all. It was sooo delicious. No one was that hungry last night so I had left overs, emphasis on had. My husband ate it all for breakfast!
This was delicious, and was a HIT for my family of 5! My 16-yo son (who loves to garden & cook) just requested we make it again.
This was fantastic! My husband loved it too and he is pretty picky!
I didn’t have much time so I just made the salad dressing but plan to make the entire recipe soon. This dressing is delicious. I didn’t have any jalapeños but loved it anyway. Can’t wait to make it when I have all the ingredients. Love your recipes and videos. Look forward to hearing you say, “Well hello” every day. Have been learning so much from all your posts. Thank you!
This was SO GOOD! I made the dressing ahead and then cooked the chicken and veggies before my guests arrived. This way the chicken and veggies were a bit cooled before we topped the romaine. The flavors were robust and delicious. I will definitely be making this again! 😊
Making it a second time- it’s incredible!!
Great recipe. Delicious. I always make it a point to watch your programs. Very insightful and enjoyable.
SIMPLY WONDERFUL! I made this but forgot to take a picture before we ate it! Rave Reviews at the dinner table by everyone!!! We did opt to use in tortillas instead of a salad. Leftover will become a lunch salad! The dressing/marinate is soooo good—I will be making that to keep some in the refrigerator to use on everything!! THANK YOU SO MUCH♥️👏🏻
This was absolutely wonderful!! I will definitely be adding this as a regular:)
I made this for dinner tonight and it is sooooo good. The seasoning is perfect and so flavorful. I served it on flour tortillas because I’m the only one that likes salad, but it will be my lunch tomorrow as a salad.
I chopped the vegetable while the chicken marinated so it was very easy to put together. Great recipe.
This salad was packed with flavor! I split the recipe and still had enough left to make a couple wraps for lunch the following day. Great recipe