It’s crazy hot right now in Atlanta, Georgia! I’m talking heat indexes regularly are in the 100s! So, a cool crisp delicious salad is what’s on the menu for me tonight. Plus, I’ve got a slew of tomatoes thanks to my friends’ gift, so I needed another excuse to use those.

This recipe calls for grilled chicken (which you can always make well in advance) that’s got a spicy Mexican rub on it, and it’s topped with a Jalapeño Buttermilk dressing that has a kick with fresh jalapeños. It’s adapted from one of my favorite bloggers, Closet Cooking.

Southwestern Chicken Salad with Jalapeño Dressing

(Adapted from Closet Cooking)

4 – 6 oz chicken breasts

2 TBSP taco seasoning mix (I use my own – recipe below)

Salt and pepper to taste

6 cups romaine lettuce

1-2 tomatoes, diced

1-2 avocados diced

1 cup corn, grilled and cut off the cob

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup crumbled tortilla chips

4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Season the chicken with the taco seasoning, and grill over medium-high heat until cooked, ~ 4-6 minutes per side, set aside, let cool and slice.

Grill the corn alongside the chicken ~ 10 minutes.

Then cut the corn off the cob before assembling the salad.

Put your salad ingredients into bowls.

Drizzle the top with Jalapeño Dressing (see below).

Jalapeno Dressing

I doubled the recipe so I’d have loads of dressing on hand. It’s THAT good! But you can easily cut the recipe in half for this meal only.

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup fresh, pickled or roasted jalapenos

2 cloves garlic

2 green onions

2 TBSP cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Puree everything in a food processor.

Once mixed, place in a bowl or jar, and let sit in the fridge for a few hours or up to a week.

*Homemade taco seasoning mix

2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hotter)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix chili powder, paprika, sea salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Makes the equivalent of one packet of store bought taco seasoning mix.