This takes a Paleo chicken fajita salad recipe to the next level. It is full of flavor and will keep you satisfied and content. One of my absolute favorite places to eat out used to be Cafe Rio! The food is so delicious! I used to find any reason to go to Cafe Rio to eat.
This sizzling cilantro-lime Fajita Salad is almost like eating chicken fajita's but without the tortillas, so it's gluten-free too and more healthy.
For work lunch parties we almost always decide to go to Cafe Rio. Oh, my goodness - their Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad is to die for! The combination of the pork and the house dressing so delicious. I can't eat there now though. It's definitely not Paleo. For example, they put Coke and brown sugar or something like that on their sweet pork.
So I have been wanting a good recipe to make at home to satisfy my cravings for a good Cafe Rio style salad. This Fajita Salad definitely exceeded my expectations. It is a great recipe and I continue to make this recipe quite frequently. 🙂 I love the marinade for the chicken and veggies and I could drink the vinaigrette. I love how it's so versatile - I also love to grill the chicken and veggies and eat them by themselves with just the dressing.
This takes a Chicken Salad recipe to the next level. It is full of flavor and will keep you satisfied and content. This is a great salad for a fajita flavor without the tortilla. It can be modified to fit your taste easily as well. This works well for a whole meal since it has so many parts to it.
I also love to serve this at large family parties since people can pick and choose what they want and they can choose if they want to make a salad or a taco from the ingredients. The dressing is the highlight of the salad.
It never ceases to amaze me how you can put a few ingredients in a blender and they come out a whole different thing than went into the blender and it tastes so much better than if you just poured the ingredients for the vinaigrette right on the salad (don't ask me how I know that . . .).
I'm in love with this Fajita Salad and I hope you try it and fall in love too! Like a lot of my Clean Eating recipes, I start with a basic recipe and make tons of variations and substitutions of the recipe. Here are some tips, substitutions, and variations I make for this recipe:
- This is really good with grilled chicken breasts
- What we end up doing a lot for family parties is we grill both chicken tenders and chicken thighs after we marinate the meat. While it's grilling, we cook the veggies in the oven so we can cook lots at a time and not have to watch them so much. We just put them on a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Then for serving, along with the salad ingredients, we put out different options so people can make what they want. We have tortillas, sour cream, cheese and black beans for tacos, burritos or normal fajitas. Everyone loves how they can make their own variation and kids don't have to eat the parts they don't like.
- You really can use any type of oil you want. I say to use avocado oil because that's the main oil I use. It has a high smoke point and mild flavor and they sell it at Costco. I don't recommend extra virgin olive oil because it's hard to find one that's truly olive oil that I can afford and because the flavor is too strong.
- You can also prepare the marinade and chicken and freeze it ahead of time. It makes it extra flavorful and extra juicy.
Let me just say that just about anything with this vinaigrette is good. So good. Like, excuse me while I sneak out of the room for a minute and drink this. I grow tons of cilantro in my garden just so I can make this stuff because it can be expensive at the store.
Give this clean eating chicken salad a try! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much vinaigrette you keep pouring on because you just need more and more. Do you eat salads more for lunch or dinner? Share below!
The vinaigrette and marinade are easy to throw together with little clean-up, as you can use the same blender to make both without having to wash it because the ingredients are complimentary. The chicken and veggies are SUPER flavorful and the dressing is fantastic.
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- 2 Limes (juiced)
- ⅔ cup Cilantro
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Tbl Honey
- ½ cup Light Olive Oil (do not use extra virgin because the flavor is too strong)
- 2 Tbl White Vinegar
- 1 tsp Real Salt
FOR THE MARINADE:
- ½ cup Cilantro
- 2 Limes (juiced)
- 2 tsp Real Salt
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
FOR THE SALAD:
- 4 Chicken Breasts (cut into strips)
- 1 Onion (peeled and sliced)
- 1 Large Yellow Bell Pepper (seeds removed, cut into strips)
- 2-3 heads Romaine Hearts (cut into bit sized pieces)
- 1 Avocado (sliced)
- ¾ cup Cherry tomatoes (halved)
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE:
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend together until the garlic is well chopped and ingredients have emulsified.
- Refrigerate dressing.
MAKE THE MARINADE:
- Using the same blender or processor that the vinaigrette was made in (you don't need to wash it out), place all ingredients for the marinade inside and puree until garlic is finely chopped.
- Pour ½ of the marinade into a bowl or Ziploc bag and add chicken to the marinade.
- Pour the other half of the marinade into another bag or bowl and add the sliced onion and peppers to it.
- Let marinate overnight or for several hours, if possible. You can also skip letting it marinade and use it immediately. It will still taste great!
FOR THE SALAD:
- Prepare salad plates (or a large bowl) by placing lettuce, avocado sliced, and cherry tomatoes on each plate(or all together in a bowl.
- Heat a large sauté pan or wok to high. Add the vegetables (do not add the marinade) to the hot pan and cook quickly, tossing with tongs or a spatula until the veggies are still crisp, but golden brown in spots. Remove from pan and keep warm.
- In the same pan on high heat, add the chicken and marinade to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked and slightly caramelized. Toss with the vegetables.
- Top salads with the hot chicken and vegetables. Drizzle with the cilantro lime vinaigrette.
Keywords: easy, flavorful, fantastic, healthy