Southwestern Chicken Cobb Salad: A southwestern spin on a classic cobb salad–crisp romaine is topped with corn, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, grilled chicken. Served with cheese quesadillas in place of croutons and completed with a Cilantro Lime Dressing.
People often ask me how I get my kids to eat healthy.
- I get them in the kitchen helping with me. From picking out a new vegetable to try, to chopping, to mixing, to trying produce raw verses cooked. Even to letting them get creative with recipes (this can be disastrous–but they have fun and learn!)
- Make healthy fun. This can be turning a banana into a healthy sundae, making a healthy dip for fresh produce to adding a favorite food to a dish they may be skeptical to try.
- I don’t give them choice. Sounds harsh! But in reality I just mean I stock a pantry and fridge full of healthy options. They don’t have processed chips and cookies to choose as a snack, they have homemade granola bars, fruit, or nuts to choose from. I also make one meal. If the kids don’t like it, they get to make themselves a plain bowl of oatmeal–not very enticing, but does keep them from starving and feeling forced to eat something they genuinely don’t like. PS the same rule goes for the parents!
So let’s talk a little bit more about tip #2: Making Healthy Fun.
There are all sorts of ways to do this. I mentioned few, but let’s expand this idea a bit. At times, I make a healthy soup and then top with a cheesy crouton–because who can resist cheese?! Other times I might sneak in a few veggies into a smoothie and call it a Frankenstein Smoothie, or sneak flax seed into a decadent tasting oatmeal–like this Hot Cocoa Oatmeal.
But one of my best tips to getting kids to eat more salads, is to add an element they can’t resist. I love to put fries on a Buffalo Chicken salad–which honestly, is one of my kid’s favorite meals of all time. I hit the jack-pot by adding cheese quesadillas to my Southwestern Cobb Salad.
The kids and my husband LOVE cheese quesadillas, so they thought to have this on top of a salad was, and I quote, The coolest thing EVER! Well if a cheese quesadilla was going to get them excited about eating salad, who was I to argue. Okay, it got me excited too!
This salad is truly spectacular. It is filled with fresh produce, from diced avocados, crisp romaine hearts, baby peppers (hint: they are sweeter and tiny, so kids seem to love them in my experience), corn, black beans, fresh tomatoes, and grilled chicken. Then it is finished with a light and fresh lime and cilantro dressing that marries all these flavors together perfectly.
But there is something EVEN BETTER about this salad than just the fact that my kids were begging to eat their veggies.
- For the Salad:
- 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 10 ounce bag Fresh Express Hearts of Romaine
- 1 cup black beans, cooked (or canned--rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cup mini peppers, sliced
- 2 large whole wheat tortillas
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
- For the Dressing:
- 3 Limes--zested and juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil (or avocado oil)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ cup fresh minced cilantro
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional)
- Preheat grill or broiler to medium high.
- Pound chicken out to ¼ inch thickness.
- Rub taco seasoning over raw chicken.
- Grill or broil chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, or until chicken reaches 165 degrees.
- Set aside to rest.
- While grilling chicken, place one tortilla on indirect heat on grill. Top with shredded cheese and remaining tortilla. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cheese is melted.
- On a large platter, lay out the romaine hearts. Top with the beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers and avocado. Slice the chicken and top salad with cooked meat.
- Slice quesadilla into wedges and serve alongside salad.
- For Dressing:
- Whisk all ingredients together and serve with salad.
I purchased a lot of these fresh ingredients from Produce for Kids sponsors at Publix. Why does that matter? Because for every item purchased from participating sponsors raises funds for local Feeding America® food banks. Um yeah, pretty AWESOME!
So head to your nearest Publix and be sure to fill your cart with the Produce For Kids Sponsors. For every item purchased through October 26, you are doing your part to help END hunger in your community, while helping your family to eat healthier.
Also be sure to visit ProduceForKids.com for more than 250 registered dietitian-approved and family-tested recipes, meal planning tools, grocery store specific campaign details, and healthy tips from real parents.
This recipe has been featured on Meal Plan Monday.