Crunchy Southwest Chicken Salad

I'm a sucker for fried food.

There, I said it. Give me a good crunchy onion ring or a nice hot sweet potato fry, and DEFINITELY a piece of fried chicken... I am a happy girl. And I enjoy all of those things to their fullness when I order them out. But I'm not one for frying food at home- health factor aside, I don't trust myself to not burn my apartment building down while trying to fry food while running after two kids #reallife. And yes- I've looked into an air fryer (I'm almost sold) but thankfully, the oven also works as a delicious option to make some crunchy tastes-like-it's-fried chicken to top my new favorite salad.

EVERYTHING about this salad- from the crisp lettuce to the crunchy chicken and the smoky-sweet dressing is to die for (if I do say so myself) and I am a salad FAN- but it has to be a good salad. This one is worthy of the full meal designation- and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Smoky Southwestern Crunchy Chicken:

1 lb chicken tenders

1 batch breading (below)

1 egg


1/2 cup almond flour (breadcrumbs work, too)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Whisk breading ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg.

3. Pat chicken dry. Dredge each piece in egg first, followed by breading. Repeat until all chicken is coated.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or place a wire rack on top, sprayed with cooking spray (this is my preferred method)>

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.

Sweet + Smoky Dressing

My new favorite dressing. Zero judgment if you want to drink this. I might have thought about it.

1/4 cup mayonnaise (we like avocado oil)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

pinch sea salt

1. Whisk or blend (if you whisk, it will separate as shown in the photos. no biggie- shake or whisk before drizzling!). Taste for seasoning and drizzle away!

Southwest Chicken Salad: Makes about 4-5 bowls

1 batch crunchy southwest chicken

1 box power greens (or greens of choice) 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted

1 avocado, sliced thin

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped Optional: top with tortilla strips (slice corn tortillas, spray with cooking spray and bake in oven for

1. Arrange salads: Toss greens with grape tomatoes, corn, cheese and dressing. Top with sliced avocado, cilantro and chicken.

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© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Mama Kris. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use

Headshots Marie Guagliardo Photography & Sarah Zollo Portraits