Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer Favorite: Tequila Chicken Salad with Lime Shallot Vinaigrette

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  I received no compensation for this post. Char-Broil is a sponsor and I received my Signature Series grill as part of an overall compensation package but this is not a sponsored post.  I have no affiliation with Smoking Goat Farms, Coning Farms, Horntos tequila, or Thunderbird Wings.

We are trying to eat a bit healthier at our house.  I'm trying to eat more "heart healthy".  Alexis is focusing on weight loss/maintenance.  Trevor is in training for football and wanting low fat/high protein foods.  As a result, we are eating a bunch of lean beef, lean pork, and a lot of grilled chicken.

One of my favorite Summer grilled chicken dishes is grilled tequila chicken.  The peppery bite of the tequila and the tang of the citric acid wake up the chicken flavors.  Tequila chicken is excellent as an entree, served in tortillas, or on salads like we did for this one yesterday.  

Tequila Chicken Salad with Lime Shallot Vinaigrette


  • 2 split chicken breasts, boneless skinless
  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • sunflower seeds
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • tortilla strips [optional]
For the Tequila Marinade
  • 1 ounce silver tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons NMT Ba'Cock! Chicken Rub or other all purpose chicken seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest of a lime
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
For the Lime Shallot Vinaigrette (adapted from Rouxbe Online Cooking School)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil


  1. Marinate the chicken.  Whisk the marinade ingredients together. Place chicken in a zip top bag, pour marinade over the chicken to coat, seal top of bag, and place on refrigeration for 6-8 hours.
  2. Make the vinaigrette.  Place all vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, into a mixing bowl.  While whisking continuously and rapidly, slowly pour in the oil until combined.
  3. Preheat the grill.  Set up your grill for direct heat and preheat to medium high heat (400-450°f).
  4. Grill the chicken.  Lightly oil the grill grates.  Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess.  Grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°f, about 6-8 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts.
  5. Assemble the salad.  Toss the greens together and top with the onion, bell pepper, tomato, avocado and green onion.  Slice the chicken and place atop the salad.  Dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and season with black pepper to taste. Garnish with tortilla strips, if desired


  • NMT Ba'Cock! All Purpose Chicken Rub recipe - If you don't feel like making this rub, you can go simple with a 4:4:1 ratio of kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic or use a quality commercial chicken seasoning like Thunderbird Wing's Chicken Scratch.
  • Salad ingredients - It's a salad.....knock yourself out.
  • Tequila - It's called tequila chicken and the tequila is central to the flavor profile so I wouldn't sub it out.  We used Hornitos but only because that's what we had on hand.  

This marinade would be good on any chicken parts, not just the boneless-skinless breasts.  It is exceptionally good on wings.

Smoking Goat Farms Smoked Red #knoxville
Instead of just any red pepper flakes, we used a local product from Grainger County - Smoking Goat Farms Smoked Red.  They are some of the best red chili flakes I've ever used.  The flakes are small pieces so the heat is evenly distributed. It is clean flakes, no seeds. Best of all is the smoke flavor it adds.

Char-Broil #nowyourecookin Signature Series Gas Grill
My weapon of choice today was a Char-Broil Signature Series grill.  No real strategic reason, it was just the easiest grill to access.  I have used it for about 2 months now.  I like the stainless grates and the zone cooking is nice. By zone cooking, I mean that the burner tubes are physically separated with a barrier, so you have better control of the cooking temps above each burner.  

I love grilled chicken for its versatility.  You can use it in tacos, casseroles, pasta dishes, salads, and just about anything.  We often grill up extras just to have on hand during the week.

As you can see, these 2 chicken breasts are huge compared to the third one, which was normal sized.  The normal one took right at 8 minutes per side.  The two bigger ones actually took a few minutes longer, that's why you always cook by internal temperatures, not just times/temps.

I'm so glad that local tomatoes are back in season!

Tequila Chicken Salad with Lime Shallot Vinaigrette recipe
The vinaigrette could also be a marinade on its own, but it's fantastic as a dressing.

Tequila Chicken Salad with Lime Shallot Vinaigrette
This is one of our Summer favorites.  The tangy vinaigrette and tomatoes bring out the best in the grilled chicken, the avocado cuts the spiciness, and sunflower seeds and tortilla strips give it a nice crunch.