Home ยป Southwest Chicken Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

Southwest Chicken Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing


Yesterday, Debbie came into work with the best gift a boss could ask for — a HUGE bag full of fresh, hand-picked Michigan asparagus. I was beyond excited (I LOVE asparagus) and it’s the first time I’ve ever had truly fresh asparagus…much less local.

I ate it raw for breakfast that morning. Yes, it was that good. Coffee and raw asparagus – not too shabby.

The day continued with some other firsts.


I had my first ever CMS mock audit at the hospital. My audit wasn’t scheduled until today, but up he popped yesterday. To say the man was detail-oriented would be quite the understatement. I’m not sure if he was being insanely picky, or if he was just grasping at straws to find something wrong with my kitchen…given that’s his job and all. I’d like to think the latter.

I had a follow-up discussion with our Risk Management Officer that had all positive feedback…but my goodness, audits are incredibly nerve-racking. It was all a good learning experience and I took a lot away from the hour-long walk through.


I left work at a very reasonable hour with my mind set on an outdoor run in the sunny, 75 degree May weather. It was heavenly. Absolutely heavenly. As I cooled off, I threw together another salad for dinner – not too much different than this one. I’m all about salad lately and for me, that’s unusual.

The night I made this, Mr. Prevention was thrilled to see vegetables on his plate after a week in India where he could consume only cooked foods. Some textured veggies are just what he wanted. As for me, I appreciate that I can fire up the grill, toss some ingredients together, and voila…have a filling, healthy, and balanced meal on the table in less than 20 minutes.

And over 16 grams of fiber per serving…impressive, huh? 🙂



Southwest Chicken Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing slightly adapted from Cooking for Keeps

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 medium romaine hearts, chopped
1 jalapeño, sliced thinly
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 large avocado
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
Pinch of black pepper


Heat a grill with high heat. Once hot (about 400 F), grill chicken until cooked through and slightly blackened, about five minutes per side. Let set for a few minutes. Slice into strips.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients into a mini food processor or blender.

Pile lettuce onto serving platter. Sprinkle, jalapeño, cheese, tomato, cilantro, corn, and black beans over. Top with sliced chicken breasts, then drizzle with dressing.

Yield: 4 meal-sized servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 511 calories; 15.3 g. fat; 73 mg. cholesterol; 799 mg. sodium; 48.0 g. carbohydrate; 16.5 g. fiber; 49.5 g. protein; 10.8 g. sugar

Result: I simplified this recipe a lot by removing the croutons and spices from the chicken. Grilled chicken with all of these bold flavors and the refreshing and light avocado buttermilk dressing was perfect. The fresh jalapenos were a nice touch and all of the toppings added not only great flavor, but also color and texture. We loved this one!


 Hospital Week continues with free lunch for all employees. Eeep!

Be well,


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  1. May 15, 2013 / 10:19 am

    Wow – this looks like something my whole family would enjoy! Delicious!

  2. May 15, 2013 / 2:46 pm

    Why haven’t I ever thought of avocado dressing before? Buttermilk is becoming a staple in my house – love it!

    • Nicole, RD
      May 16, 2013 / 6:48 am

      So freakin’ good, Biz! You’ll love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. May 16, 2013 / 2:56 pm

    Congratulations on the audit!! That’s a huge deal, and it’s wonderful that you were able to come out of it with positive feedback. Way to go Nicole!! My mom had the same reaction to vegetables when she came back from India this past winter… It’s hard to go without fresh fruits and veggies for so long!

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