cactus restaurant / caesar salad / kirkland / recipe / southwest caesar salad

dreaming of summer – southwest caesar salad

Last week it was *almost* summer-like  in Seattle, ok – maybe not!  But it was clear & sunny, and that was enough to put us in the mood for a dinner that we normally do weekly during the summer months.  Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad – which is so good and so easy too!  I thought I would do a blog post about it because I haven’t found too many recipes like it, or they are way more complicated than the one that we have come up with over time.  I have to admit, my original inspiration came from Cactus Restaurant in Kirkland – they have a Spiced Caesar that is really good, and I was craving it one night – so I started experimenting and voilà, here is my version of a Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad.

Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad
Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad
Ingredients (serves 4+)
Chicken –
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can substitute a rotisserie chicken for quick version, see below)
2 T olive oil
1 T. lime juice
1 T. cumin
2 t. chili powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Dressing –
1 Knorr’s Chipotle Cube (available by the box, in the Hispanic foods aisle of most grocery stores)
1/2 c. Cardini’s Classic Caesar Dressing
1/4 c. Newman’s Own Caesar Dressing (vinaigrette version)
Salad –
4 c. Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
3/4 c. sweet corn (if using frozen corn, defrost to room temp)
3/4 c. black beans (if using can, drain and rinse with water)
1/2 c. roma tomato (seeded and diced)
1/4 c. cilantro (fresh, chopped)
1/2 c. monterey jack cheese, shredded, plus more to sprinkle on top (or cojita cheese crumbled)
1/2 c. croutons, homemade if you have them! (or tortilla strips)
If you want a quick after-work version, you can just pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, skin and bone it, then shred the breast meat and you are ready to jump to step 3.
  1. Pound the chicken breasts so that they are even thickness, approximately 1/2″ thick, trim any fat and pat dry with paper towel and place in a shallow dish.  Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt & pepper – and pour over the chicken.  Let marinate, until ready to cook – approximately 30 mins-1hr.
  2. Turn on grill to medium-high heat, place chicken on the grill and grill until cooked through, approximately 7-minutes per side, pierce with a knife and ensure juices run clear if you are unsure.  Remove chicken from the grill and let cool.

    Knorr Chipotle Cube
  3. Unwrap the Knorr’s Chipotle Cube, crush it with a knife or spoon and once a powder, place in bowl with both types of Caesar dressing and whisk together. Once completely whisked together, set aside.

    Black Beans, Sweet Corn & Cilantro
  4. Combine romaine lettuce, corn, beans, tomato (if using), cilantro & cheese in your serving bowl, set aside.
  5. Take cooled chicken and either cut into strips, or tear into pieces (whichever you prefer) – place on top of the salad, pour salad dressing over the top of the salad and toss.

    Homemade croutons – just add a bit of chipotle to the seasoning when baking, for awesome flavor!
  6. Fill each bowl with salad, then sprinkle with remaining cheese and croutons.

Hope you enjoy a little taste of summer!  –N 

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