Baja Chicken Salad It is April, the weather is getting warmer and that means it is traditionally a time for salads! I however am not traditional--I don't know about you, but for me, salads are year around food. For that reason, you will always find fresh and delicious salad recipes on this blog. Today, we are featuring a Baja Chicken Salad with options to cook the chicken on the grill, in the Instant Pot, or in the oven.
This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, and you can make your Baja Salad vegetarian or vegan by omitting the chicken and substituting jackfruit or tofu.
It is true, although maybe you can't fire up the grill during the winter or cold months, you can still have a flavorful Baja Chicken Salad by cooking your chicken in the Instant Pot. I can't say it enough--I love the Instant Pot and the way that it cooks and marinates food to enhance the flavor.
The Instant Pot is great for when you want a quick and easy meal to serve for dinner, or even breakfast! Yup, I said breakfast. I make this Quinoa Berry Breakfast Bowl in the Instant Pot and it is nutritious and delicious! Who knew you could eat quinoa for breakfast? But wow, is it great for breakfast.
This dish is so light and refreshing and easy to make in the Instant Pot, oven, or the grill during the warmer months. Here is the shopping list for this Baja Chicken Salad.
For the marinade:
- Lemon or lime juice
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar - red wine vinegar or rice vinegar are good substitutes but the flavor will be slightly different.
- Hot sauce
- Green onions
- Granulated garlic - or garlic powder
- Sea salt
- Black sesame seeds
For the salad:
- Chicken breasts - tofu or jackfruit for vegan
- Arugula lettuce
- Black beans
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green onions
- Fresh cilantro
This Baja Chicken Salad can be ready in 35 minutes for a fresh and healthy lunch or dinner. The marinade also doubles as the dressing and it really makes the whole salad even tastier. For instructions on how to make this salad in the oven or grill look at the recipe card down below.
Start by preparing the marinade by adding all of the ingredients except for the green onions to a jar and shake well. Add half of the marinade to a small bowl with 2 boneless chicken breasts. Top with green onions and let marinate for 30 minutes.
To cook the chicken add 1 cup of water to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place bowl with chicken and marinade on Instant Pot trivet and place into the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Let steam release naturally. After pressure is released, remove the chicken and slice.
Cook the corn in the microwave for 2 minutes, and cut the corn off the cob.
Assemble the salad by adding the arugula lettuce, corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and black beans to a large salad bowl or salad tray. Slice avocado and add to salad. Add sliced chicken.
Top salad with cilantro and additional dressing from marinade as desired. Toss salad and serve.
Baja Chicken Salad can be cooked in the Instant Pot, grill, or the oven. This dish can also be made vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Grill: If weather permits, this salad is yummy when the chicken is cooked on the grill as well. Prepare marinade, and place chicken in a bowl with half of the marinade for 30 minutes. Cook on grill for 10-12 minutes on each side. My absolute favorite grill is the George Foreman Electric Grill, which makes whipping up grilled food easy and quick. Use the remaining marinade for salad dressing.
Oven bake: This dish can also be made using the oven. Add half of the marinade and chicken to a baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, turning the chicken at 20 minutes. Use the remaining marinade for salad dressing.
Vegan option using tofu: If you want a vegan salad, replace the chicken with 16 ounces of firm tofu. Slice tofu, add half of the marinade and tofu to a dish and marinate for 30 minutes. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and turn at 15 minutes.
Vegan option using jackfruit: Drain 14 ounces can of organic jackfruit, add half of the marinade and jackfruit to a dish, and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Jackfruit can also be grilled, but pieces are small, so it only works on an electric grill like the George Foreman Grill.
This light and refreshing salad is easy to make and nutritious. Here are my top tips for making Baja Chicken Salad.
- Using the natural release method in the Instant Pot will take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes for all the pressure to release.
- Make sure all the pressure is released in the Instant Pot before opening the lid.
- If you don't have an Instant Pot, try making this recipe using the oven or the grill. See the recipe card for instructions.
- Make this recipe vegan and vegetarian friendly by substituting the chicken with tofu or jackfruit. See variations above for instructions on how to make this salad with tofu or jackfruit.
- Get creative with your salad toppings. Other veggies such as bell peppers, spinach, and cucumbers are all delicious toppings. Nuts and dried fruit are also great options.
- Use this recipe for meal prep to have tasty and healthy lunches for the week.
More Salad Recipes
If you liked this Baja Chicken Salad, check out some of my other favorite salads here on Green Scheme.
- Summer Salad - A bright, colorful, and healthy vegan salad that's topped with creamy cilantro dressing.
- Thai Salad - A delicious vegan salad topped with a yummy cilantro peanut dressing.
- Grilled Cobb Salad - A perfect salad for summer with grilled vegetables served on a bed of spinach.
- Grilled Chicken Taco Salad - A spicy grilled chicken salad served in a taco shell.
Baja Chicken Salad
- Instant Pot
- ¼ cup lemon/lime juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 cups arugula lettuce
- ½ cup black beans
- 4 ears of corn
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 large or 2 small avocados, sliced
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- Mix all ingredients except green onions in jar and shake well. Add half of marinade to small bowl with 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Top with chopped green onions. Let marinade for 30 minutes.
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water to inner pot of Instant Pot. Place bowl with chicken and marinade on Instant Pot trivet and place into inner pot of Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes; let steam NR, release naturally. After pressure is released, remove chicken and slice.Oven: Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, turning at 20 minutes.Grill: Grill chicken on medium heat for 10-12 minutes each side until cooked.
- Cook corn for 2 minutes in microwave, and cut corn off of cob. Add arugula lettuce, corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions and black beans to large salad bowl or salad tray. Slice avocado and add to salad. Add sliced chicken.
- Top with cilantro and add additional dressing from marinade as desired. Toss salad and serve.
More photos on Instagram