Thursday, January 11, 2007

Southwest Chicken Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

We're still doing phase one recipes for the month of January, but wow, a lot happened around here yesterday. I'm beyond excited that Kalyn's Kitchen was named Best Food Blog - Theme in the 2006 Food Blog Awards. Thanks to everyone who voted for me, and congratulations to all the other winners. I'm sincerely honored to be included with so many great bloggers. And I even got flowers 2.0 from Rand. What a day!

And, my class is being featured in a story in The Deseret Morning News about students blogging, and yesterday a photographer came to school to take photos. My students have a blog where they write and leave comments (lots of comments!) and because they're only fourth graders, it's one of the main things featured in the story. So it was quite a day!

Now, back to the food! This Southwest Chicken Salad is somehing I made with some of the leftover Roast Chicken I posted about yesterday. It was inspired by my favorite fast food offering, the Chicken Fiesta Salad from Rubio's. I don't eat a lot of fast food, but I do go to Rubio's time and again for this salad. You can also have carnitas substituted for the chicken, which is a great variation. (No, Rubio's is not paying me anything or giving me free salads to rave about their food like this!)

Of course, my version had to include cilantro, which is lacking in the Rubio's version. Surely you have not forgotten that cilantro was voted the favorite herb? Yes, I know it's not everyone's favorite, and I promise like Sher did that I won't use it for Weekend Herb Blogging every single week, but this week I'm going with it. I've written about cilantro so many times before, 197 times to be exact. That's how many responses came up when I entered cilantro into my "search by ingredient" box at the top of my left sidebar. So I figure if you want to know more about why people love/hate cilantro, it's been covered, just search and find it. Hopefully Sue from Coffee and Cornbread will still accept this as my entry for WHB #65, even if I force people to do their own herb research.

Before I give you the recipe I'll tell you I did experiment a bit to try to create a dressing that's similar to the Creamy Chipotle Dressing at Rubios, and I was pretty happy with what I came up with, so even if you aren't a cilantro fan, you might like this dressing.

Southwest Chicken Salad With Chipotle Ranch Dressing
(1 serving as a main dish salad, recipe created by Kalyn with much inspiration from Rubio's)

Salad Ingredients:
3/4 - 1 cup diced cooked chicken
(1 chicken breast)
3 or 4 T Chipotle Ranch Dressing
(recipe follows)
2-3 cups washed and torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup grated cheese
(I used four cheese Mexican Blend, lowfat cheeses)
1/2 cup (more or less to taste) chopped fresh cilantro

Salad Instructions:
Mix diced chicken with desired amount of salad dressing and set aside while you prep other ingredients. Combine lettuce, red pepper and cilantro in large mixing bowl (not the bowl you're serving salad in.) Stir in chicken with dressing and mix lightly, until dressing is distributed throughout salad. Sprinkle with cheese and stir gently a few more times, then serve.

Chipotle Ranch Dressing
(Makes 2 1/2 cups. Recipe created by Kalyn. This will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)

Dressing Ingredients:
2 cups Ranch Dressing
(I use a packet where you add buttermilk and mayonnaise)
1/2 cup salsa (I used Pace Picante Sauce Mild)
1/2 tsp. ground Chipotle Chile Poweder
(I used Penzeys. If you don't have Chipotle Chile powder, could substitute regular chile powder and a small amount of hot sauce.)

Dressing Instructions:
Put salsa in food processor and puree about one minute with steel blade. (Could use a blender or immersion blender.) Add Ranch Dressing and ground Chipotle and process 30 seconds more, or until well combined.

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More to Chew On:


  1. I just came across a Southwestern chicken salad recipe yesterday but this sounds REALLY yummy with it's Chipotle Ranch dressing....yum!

  2. This looks delicious--very unwintery, but since the sun is shining like crazy in Cleveland (supposed to be 48 today): why not?
    Congratulations on all your good news, too.

  3. Kalyn,
    Congratulations on your Food Blog Award!

  4. Congrats on the award! That salad looks better than the one I bought today!

  5. Congrats Kalyn!!!!!
    And what an easy salad dressing! Now whoever mentions yummy SBD food or cilantro I'd immediately think of you :D

  6. Congratulations Kalyn! You deserved the award!

  7. Kalyn, congrat on the award! Your salad looks very nice! I think it will be perfect for the warm weather we are having now in Mel!

  8. That award is well deserved!

  9. That Chipotle ranch sounds awesome! I love new salad recipes.
    And much congratulations on your blog award!

  10. I'm still getting spoiled with all these nice comments. Thank you everyone! (I hate being at school all day and not being able to respond more immediately, but a woman has to make a living I guess.)

  11. Congratulations Kalyn! Your site shows all the hard work and you deserve the blog award.

  12. Congratulations on the award Kalyn! You certainly deserved it...

  13. Hooray for Chipotle Chile powder and hooray for Kalyn! The chicken salad looks great.

  14. Just wanted to let you know I made this salad last night and it was WONDERFUL!!! The whole family enjoyed it and has requested it be on a menu again :D

  15. Congratulations on your award! Well deserved! :) I made salad too...with apples and blue cheese...will try this soon. Trying to shed some of the Christmas poundage so your recipes will come in handy ;)

  16. I am kinda new to this blog. haqve to say I love this chipotle dressing you wrote up. I have a few cans of them, and they aren;t being utilized! I think it's a good time to change that. Can't wait to see what else you got up your sleeve.

  17. Your salads are always great Kalyn. this one looks like it would refresh after the long winter.

  18. Oops! Forgot to add my congratulations.

    So you've got 4th graders blogging — cool. I have college freshmen and they are a bit skittish about the whole thing. Maybe your 4th graders could come talk to my class. . .

    Love that type of salad — I'll try it yourr way next time,

  19. CONGRATULATIONS Kalyn, thrilled to hear all that exciting news. Your fourth graders must be a lucky bunch with ateacher like you :)

  20. Kudos and congrats on all the acclaim, especially the Best Food Blogger Award. It's definitely well deserved.

  21. Ack! Things are so crazy at my house, I missed this post! Kalyn, we can't be blamed if we use cilantro all the time. It has a power over us that can't denied. Gosh that salad looks fabulous. And CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN!!! You sure deserved that win!

  22. I finally got through to comment.

    Sometimes it takes days so no wonder I usually am last.

    WHB was fun and thanks.

  23. Coffeepot is not the only one who gets behind on leaving comments. Thanks again to everyone for all the good wishes and nice thoughts about this recipe. I just had it again a day or two ago and just as good!

  24. This salad sounds delicious, can't wait to try it. Also, congrats on the award; I subscribe to several food blogs, but yours is my favorite. I have recently determined that I copy more recipes from your blog than all of the other blogs put together! I think you need to publish a cookbook, as I know more than of few of my friends and relatives would by it. ;~)

  25. Thanks again everyone for the nice comments.

    Elaine, you are too sweet. I used to think I might like to write a cookbook, and it's something I would consider, but I think unless you get a publisher to back you up front it's not something that you can sell enough to be worth it. Who knows what might happen, but right now I'm enjoying putting my recipes on the blog.

  26. Kalyn,
    This has to be one of the best Southwestern Ranch Dressings I've eaten and so easy to make! While I didn't have the Chipotle chili powder, I was able to find Chipotle powder and mixed 1/4 spoon of it with 1/4 spoon of my favorite chili powder. I'll check out the Penzeys store down the street this next week!

  27. Hi, I just finished this for dinner tonight. It was FANTASTIC! I loved the dressing and it was extremely satisfying for a salad. I also added corn and black beans. Thanks, Kalyn!

  28. Deanna, glad you liked it. The corn and black beans sound like good additions too (although corn is not South Beach Diet friendly, so I wouldn't use that for myself.)

  29. I was craving salad tonight for day four of Phase One. After looking at a ton of recipes, I kept coming back to this. I'm always concerned about salad dressing though as far as being SB friendly. Seems like so many contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. I'm going to try the packet route with the butter milk and mayo. I think I'll also toss in some black beans since that is allowed.

  30. Cee Jay, most dressings are okay as long as they have less than 2 grams of sugar per serving, but this one does use a packet mix.

  31. Forget Paula Deen--as far as I am concerned, you are the Queeen of Great rrecipes. Only recently have I discovered how good romaine lettuce is and this salad sounds like it will really be good. Can' wait to make it.

    Jo Kelso

  32. Jo, you are so sweet. Hope you enjoy the salad.


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