I came across a version of this recipe a few months back in an ancient Cooking Light magazine. I decided to give it a try, for two reasons: one I love salad and two Mr.P is a nut about pineapple. I won't bore you right now with the 'discussions' Mr.P and I have about the pros and cons of pineapple on pizza. I'll just say this, It's just wrong! So out of love for my husband, and a show of goodwill on my part, I made this salad. And I'm so glad I did. This is a fabulous recipe, one that will be made again in our home. The dressing is the real star of the show in this substantial mealtime salad – tangy, spicy and sweet. It feels like a very Baja California sort of meal, with the combination of pineapple, jalapeno and cilantro in the dressing, the chili dusting on the chicken and the buttery slices of avocado. It’s refreshing and light, cooks up super-fast, and is packed with a ton of flavor. If you have any left overs, try it with grilled shrimp or pork for a different, yet equally delicious, variation. Hope you enjoy as well!
Baja Grilled Chicken Salad
with Spicy Pineapple Vinaigrette
MAKES 2 BIG SALADS
- 2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
- 2 tsp. Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 cup fresh Pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into spears; I bought mine pre-cut at the market
- 8 cups fresh salad greens; I used spinach and romaine
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1/2 cup cubed Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- Quarter of a Red Onion, thinly sliced
- Spicy Pineapple Vinaigrette
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh Pineapple, cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons fresh Orange Juice
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil, I used vegetable oil
- pinch of salt and black pepper, optional
To Make The Salad:
- Brush the chicken on both sides with olive oil, then season generously with chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high, or heat an indoor grill pan over med-high heat. Place pineapple slices and chicken breasts on the grill.
- Cook for about 5 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through, and no longer pink on the inside. Remove pineapple and chicken and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Then slice chicken into strips, and cut pineapple into chunks.
- In a large bowl, toss together your choice of salad greens, cheese, red onion, pineapple and chicken until combined.
- Drizzle or toss with salad dressing, and serve immediately.
- In a blender or food processor, combine pineapple, cilantro, orange juice, vinegar, jalapeno and garlic. Process until smooth.
- With the blender still running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream, and process until emulsified and smooth.