Every time I go to Red Robin, I face the same dilemma: I very much enjoy their southwestern-themed salad, BUT salads don’t come with bottomless fries. And if I’m being honest, the bottomless fries are a big part of why I go to Red Robin (I’m not alone in this, right?).
When I go out to eat, I tend to order things that I either can’t or won’t make at home, so I set out to create a restaurant-quality southwestern salad, hoping that having such a recipe in my repertoire would thus enable me to order fries-included options at Red Robin without all the mental back-and-forth. Inspired by (but not a precise copycat version of) the Red Robin salad, this pico de gallo grilled chicken salad has a generous heap of zesty pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca), succulent grilled chicken, and homemade jalapeño ranch dressing. A smattering of corn, beans, and chunks of avocado round out the flavors for a salad that will leave you clamoring for seconds – if you have room, that is! This salad is quite hearty. I also splurged a little and bought fresh, house-made tortilla chips at the store. It’s worth getting the good stuff here, since the chips are the finishing touch!
In other news, tomorrow is Put On Your Cake Pants’ second blogiversary! In honor of this occasion, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look back and share my favorite recipes from the last year with you. As always, thank you so much for being here and reading along!
You can also find a list of my favorites from year one here!
- 3 medium or large Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño (seeds removed), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 2 jalapeños
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup corn
- 2 avocados, diced
- tortilla chips (for garnish)
- Begin heating the grill (if you don’t have a grill, you can also pan-fry the chicken on the stovetop). Meanwhile, prepare the pico de gallo: in a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients and let them marinate together, refrigerated, while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Mix together all the spices for the dry rub. Rub the mixture onto the chicken and grill until done (the internal temperature should reach 160 degrees). Once done, cut the chicken into strips.
- While the chicken is on the grill, prepare the jalapeño ranch: remove and discard the seeds from the jalapeños. Chop the jalapeños and place them, along with the milk (1-2 tablespoons, depending on how thin/thick you want the dressing to be), in a blender or food processor. Pulse until blended and no large pieces of jalapeños remain. Add the sour cream, garlic, and salt, and pulse until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, beans, corn, and avocado. Stir in the pico de gallo and grilled chicken strips. Add the jalapeño ranch dressing and toss to combine. Top with crunched-up tortilla chips and serve.
- Chicken dry rub recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com
A big thank you goes out to the boyfriend, who handled all the preparation and grilling of the chicken!