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Lime Cumin Chicken Salad with Tomatoes, Olives and Queso Fresco – A huge bowl of flavor-packed, colorful chicken salad with tomatoes, fiesta blend olives and Mexican cheese.
Hello, my favorite people! Happy TGIF! To those celebrating today, I wish you a blessed Good Friday. ✝ I am almost all prepared for the weekend activities; eggs are done, dresses are steamed, and our lamb is in the fridge, just about ready to be thrown into that One Pot Oven Baked Risotto with Lamb Chops.
But before the lamb, and the dyed eggs, and the braided raisin breads, there came THIS Chicken Salad studded with the most delicious olives and tomatoes. A handful of soft cheese helped the situation *thiiiiiis* much!
What does it mean if a salad is your BFF? Because I am officially declaring this THEE Cinco de Mayo salad. Lime and cumin marinated chicken, STAR’s Fiesta Blend Olives, QUESO FRESCO!? I mean, it’s all there. Incredible textures and flavors all in one bowl.
I’m sure you feel me, but how do you open up a jar of olives and not eat them all? Especially when said jar is filled with jalapenos, black beans, corn and green olives. My self control is always in question…
This salad tho. The toppings are SO simple yet the flavor combination is incredible and deliciously compatible. You can easily use green or black olives, however the salad will lack that Southwestern flavorful goodness. I wouldn’t skimp on the cheese, either! I think it’s imperative. Somehow, it really works with the olives. I wasn’t too keen on trying it, but once I did, I was sold. Queso Fresco is a soft cheese and the taste is very mild, making it easy to pair with other, stronger flavors.
Believe it or not, there’s a bunch of leafy greens underneath all of that goodness. Just some torn up iceberg lettuce serving as a vessel for all the gorgeous toppings. I also didn’t want to use a heavy dressing in this – all the flavors would be lost if I did – thus I went with a simple Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. My husband, however, reached for the Creamy Avocado salad dressing and loved it. To each his own.
Important to note; the chicken is warm, the tomatoes, olives and queso crumbles are cool again, and all of that together adds some seriously awesome chew. Also? How much can we trash our salad?! THIS MUCH, obviously.
I love it.
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TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
- 1- pound chicken tenders OR 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4- cup STAR extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 large lime
- fresh lime juice from 1 large lime
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 6 to 8 cups chopped lettuce
- 1 jar STAR Fiesta Blend Marinated Olives
- 12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
- 2 tablespoons STAR extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, zest, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Add the chicken and toss until coated with the marinade.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Remove chicken from fridge.
- Place a grill pan over medium-high heat and spray the grill lightly with cooking spray.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade.
- Grill the chicken about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place chopped lettuce on the bottom of a large salad bowl.
- Arrange olives, tomatoes, prepared chicken and queso fresco over lettuce; set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin and cilantro; whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
- Drizzle over salad.