Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mexican-Style Chicken and Bean Salad

I am always looking for more ways to bring vegetables forward to center stage, instead of putting them off to the side as if an afterthought. Main dish salads are a great way of doing just that! But when I tell my husband we're having a big salad for dinner, he puts on his skeptical face because he thinks he's going to starve tonight. I see him eyeing his chip and junk food cabinet (kept high out of my reach) even before I pull out the skillet to begin cooking. This hearty salad is far from skimpy. It contains high fiber beans and lots of chunky vegetables in a spicy sauce that more resembles a casserole than any salad. I included a few stone-ground tortilla chips to further the Mexican theme and provide a satisfying crunch that makes it a complete meal.

Mexican-Style Chicken and Bean Salad
(Makes 4 meal-size servings)

1 head of chopped or shredded iceberg lettuce
½ tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces chicken tenders (about 4 or 5), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ onion, sliced thin
1½ cups broccoli florets, fresh or thawed from frozen
¾ cup zucchini, quartered and sliced
15 oz. can of reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
½ cup frozen corn
½ teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ cup prepared salsa (mild or medium)
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup sliced olives, drained
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
24 tortilla chips (or substitute a gluten-free chip, if desired)

1. Divide the chopped lettuce equally among the four serving plates; set aside.

2. In large skillet, heat oil on medium high and brown chicken, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and browned. Add sliced onion to pan and cook until soft and translucent. Add ingredients listed from broccoli through olives and cook for 5-6 minutes until the broccoli is tender-crisp or cooked to your liking. Add chopped parsley and stir to combine. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Serve over lettuce along with 6 tortilla chips per serving. If desired, break chips over chicken-vegetable mixture and toss before spooning over lettuce. Serve immediately. (If storing any leftovers, do not add tortilla chips until serving time to retain crispness.)

Nutritional Information per serving: 330 calories, 46 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 8 g fiber, 27.7 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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