The first time I had Chick-fil-A was when I was going to school in Pennsylvania. Since it was my first time, my friends decided to treat me so I ordered the nuggets with fries and their Polynesian sauce. After scarfing down the nuggets because they are the best fast food nuggets I’ve ever tasted, I looked at the box and read the words “Our hand-breaded, boneless breast of chicken is cooked in 100% refined peanut oil, which is naturally trans-fat free and cholesterol-free”. Refined peanut oil… PEANUT oil! I started to panic. I thought, “oh my gosh, this is the end. I’m going to die from chicken nuggets!” I could feel my mouth getting itchy and my throat getting tighter. I was ready to call my mom to say goodbye.
But then I decided to spend the last few minutes of my life looking up if peanut oil actually has peanut allergens in it. I was relieved to find out that since the oil is 100% refined, it was perfectly safe for me to eat even though I have a peanut allergy. The itchiness in my mouth immediately went away, my throat opened up, and I continued eating my waffle fries.
When I moved back home to Connecticut, I was happy to find out that Chick-fil-A was opening a location in my hometown. So whenever I had a Chick-fil-A craving, I would just swing by. One of those times, I saw the Spicy Southwest Salad on the menu and I just HAD to get it! Let me tell you, I definitely do not get excited about salads, but this one had so much fun stuff in it, like the spicy grilled chicken, roasted corn, chili lime pepitas, and tortilla strips, that I just fell in love with it.
I started getting that salad allllll the time. It costs around $8 or $9 here so I was wasting A LOT of money on this salad until I got the great idea of just making it myself. And now here we are!
Here is my version of Chick-fil-A’s Spicy Southwest Salad with a Creamy Salsa Dressing!
- 1 1/2-2 pounds chicken breast
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- zest of one lime
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup of your favorite salsa
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 corn tortillas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 poblano chile
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 4 cups of your favorite green mix I used mostly romaine and a spring mix
- Combine paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and the zest of one lime. Rub of the chicken breast and let marinate while making the rest of the salad.
- Heat your grill (you can use the oven as well) to medium high. Rub the corn and peppers with olive oil, then place on the grill. Grill the corn until it is cooked through and the pepper until they are soft. Once they are cool, remove the corn from the cob and dice the peppers. Set aside.
- Whisk all of the salsa ingredients together and season to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Cut the corn tortillas into strips. Coat in olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Coat the pumpkin seeds in the lime juice, then season with chili powder and salt. Bake in the oven just until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
- Drizzle chicken with olive oil. Place on grill and cook on one side about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until a temperature of 165 F is reached, about 3 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
- While the chicken is cooking, place your greens in bowls. Top with the corn, peppers, black beans, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, cabbage, pepitas, and tortilla strips.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and slice it. Place on top of the salad, then drizzle with dressing.