Chicken Taco Salad with Grilled Peaches and Creamy Chipotle Dressing
I feel like I’m living my life in a mild time warp these days, and it’s making me very happy.
First, I’ve been shamelessly re-watching The OC while recipe testing for Dude Diet Dos, which is truly the trashiest of joys. So much teen angst, low-rise jean action, and nostalgia—I can’t seem to get enough. (For the love of God, bring back yogalates and Juicy jumpsuits!!)
I’ve also been listening to a LOT of Alanis and Pearl Jam, and this past weekend, I lived a fantasy 12-year-old Serena could only have dreamed of…doing hot yoga alongside Joshua Jackson (aka Pacey Witter). It was magical. And yes, we did have a moment after class, thank you for asking!!! He groaned/sighed loudly while the two of us were hanging our yoga mats, so I said, “It was so hot in there today!” To which he responded, “I know. I can’t take it!”
I’m not saying my roommate should be worried, but I’m not not saying that either.
The throwback theme has also been apparent in my meal choices of late, as I seem to be reverting to my longest standing comfort food favorites. When I started cooking for myself during college/the Parisian tenure, I had only a few meals in my rotation: turkey burgers, omelettes, and taco salads. The latter was more of a formula than a recipe, and its ease/versatility very much appealed to my lazy side. I’d just shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken, throw it on top of some greens with whatever other vegetables/fruits happened to be hanging out in my fridge and top it with a spicy lime-laced dressing (read: olive oil, lime juice, and hot sauce). It wasn’t the most sophisticated dinner, but it was quick, healthy, and always hit the spot when I was craving something fresh and spicy. Still does.
The great thing about the taco salad is that unlike Juicy Couture and Mischa Barton, it will never go out of style. I’ve made countless clean-out-the-fridge taco salads over the years, but summer versions are my favorite, and lately I’ve been all about this Chicken Taco Salad with Grilled Peaches and Creamy Chipotle Dressing.
Sweet and savory with a killer kick, this badass bowl has a base of arugula, crunchy purple cabbage, and cilantro, and is topped with grilled corn and peaches, shredded chicken, and a Greek yogurt-based chipotle dressing that you will likely want to drizzle on everything from this day forward. (As you should.) And since it’s light, fresh, and comes together in under 30 minutes, it fulfills all requirements for a summer weeknight meal.
I used store-bought rotisserie chicken in this recipe for the sake of convenience, but you could always go with some grilled cilantro-lime chicken, shrimp, or steak (the marinated flank steak from The Dude Diet would be excellent). And feel free to play around with the fruit as well. You can’t go wrong with grilled pineapple, and I think fresh watermelon would be delightful. As always, you must do you.
I look forward to making this taco salad tonight this weekend while wearing a romper from 2008 and patiently waiting for Seth and Summer to get back together. That’s just how I roll now.
Weird blog lady, out.
- 2 ears of sweet corn shucked
- 2 yellow peaches
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 packed cups baby arugula
- 3 packed cups thinly sliced purple cabbage about ½ small head of cabbage
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 heaping cups shredded chicken breasts I recommend using Peapod’s rotisserie chicken.
- 2 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- 1 cup pico de gallo
For the chipotle dressing:
- 1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo If you’re sensitive to heat, seed the chipotle first.
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the chipotle can
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1½ tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Pinch of kosher salt
Start by making the dressing. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor and process until smooth. (No food processor? No problem. Finely mince the chipotle, and stir the dressing by hand.)
Pre-heat a grill with a rack over medium-high heat. A grill pan will also work.
Brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pits. Slice each half into 4 wedges. Lightly brush the peach wedges with olive oil and season with a little salt.
Place the corn directly on the grill grates for about 10 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and lightly charred in spots. Let the corn cool slightly, then slice the kernels from the cob using a sharp knife. Place the peach wedges on the grill rack for about 1 minute per side just until grill marks appear. (You want to keep them firm.)
In a mixing bowl, combine the arugula, cabbage and cilantro. Divide this mix between 4 bowls. Add chicken, grilled corn kernels, peaches, feta, and pico de gallo to each bowl. Drizzle each bowl generously with dressing and serve immediately.
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