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.

Heading 1

Kristin Dovbniak


I'm Kris! Founder of Healthy Balanced Mama, I'm a holistic health coach, certified intuitive eating counselor, trained chef, and mama of two, and I'm here to guide busy moms like you in stressing less and finding freedom with food through balanced eating and simplified routines around meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and cooking with confidence.


learn to plan + prep

for your personality

Healthy Mama Meal Prep Cookbook + Course

Grab Your Free Guide

stress less about eating + live more

ditch diets, overcome emotional eating + embrace food freedom


tune in weekly

PC_S3_IG_115 (2).png

Heading 1

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube



© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Balanced Mama