6.9.15 Spicy Grilled Chicken, Avocado, and Mango Salad
Last year, on a whim, I decided to plant lettuce in my garden. For reasons I can’t explain, I had always been under this impression that lettuce was hard to grow, that it took a lot of extra work to get nice, tender, healthy greens, and that it was probably easier to just buy my lettuce from the farmer’s market. Boy was I wrong.
I ended up planting an intriguing heirloom variety I bought from Seed Savers called crisp mint; a flavorful romaine-type variety. It doesn’t really taste like mint, but the bright green serrated leaves are reminiscent of mint, and the flavor of this particular lettuce is, as it’s name would imply, incredibly light and refreshing. I planted my seeds in a huge, oversized planter I have on the back patio and within a few days, my little lettuce seedlings had popped through the soil. With minimal effort on my part, it wasn’t long before I had a planter chock full of beautiful baby salad greens, ready for eating. After that, planting lettuce in my garden became a no-brainer.
It’s a beautiful thing being able to pop outside and pick your own homegrown lettuce whenever the mood for a salad strikes. Our salads have never been fresher and more flavorful, and goodness knows, we’ve been eating a lot of them. Like this one we enjoyed a few weeks ago - a hearty dinner salad full of spiced grilled chicken, creamy avocado (one of my recent cravings), tart-sweet mango, crunchy cucumber, spicy chiles, refreshing mint, and a tangy cumin-lime vinaigrette. It comes together quickly, and when served with a side of naan, makes for one tasty summer supper. Yes, we’re going to be eating a lot of salads this summer, and with this one under our belts, I think we’re off to a good start.
Spicy Grilled Chicken, Avocado, and Mango Salad
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp chile powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 large chicken breast (approx ½ lb or slightly larger)
- 3 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp honey
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp cumin seed (or sub an additional ¼ tsp ground cumin)
- pinch of salt
salad and assembly:
- 4 oz salad greens
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into cubes
- ½ avocado, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup thinly sliced cucumber
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 fresno chile pepper, thinly sliced (seeds removed if less heat desired)
- ½ medium shallot, thinly sliced
1. For the chicken, heat your grill to medium-high heat. Combine the cumin, coriander, chile powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Rub spice mixture evenly over the surface of the chicken breast. Grill chicken until outside is browned and crispy and chicken is cooked through (internal temp should be 160 degrees). Cool chicken for about 5 minutes, then chop into cubes.
2. For the dressing, whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or jar until completely combined. Season to taste with additional salt if desired.
3. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the dressing until greens are well coated. Divide greens evenly between two plates.
4. Top each salad with equal amounts of the grilled chicken, mango, avocado, cucumber, cilantro, mint, chile, and shallots. Serve immediately, preferably with a side of warm, buttered naan.