Hawaiian Tequila Chicken Salad With Pineapple Vinaigrette.
Here’s the deal.
Somewhere in the last two weeks my cravings have switched to all things SPRING. I know that spring doesn’t officially start until the twentieth, but who said we can’t get a little head start? For some odd reason I have been craving really bright, fresh and healthy foods. I say this is odd because as I write this it is actually snowing out. Thinking I should be craving stews and chilis, but instead, pineapples, mangos and this Hawaiian Tequila Chicken Salad are what I really desire.
Ugh, totally over snow, but that’s just my life. I better suck it up, cause it’s going to snow through May…and possibly a little into June, but man I really hope that will so not be the case.
Another reason I may be into the spring-like eats a bit earlier this year is probably due to Easter coming so dang prematurely. I know I’ve said this already (like four times), but man this whole Easter in March thing is totally throwing me off.
Today though, its spring meets super tropical. This probably isn’t traditional Hawaiian cuisine, but it is Hawaiian inspired. So, since I am not going anywhere for Easter this year (some years my family will head to Florida, but this year we just couldn’t make it happen), if someone wanted to surprise me with tickets to say Hawaii…or Mexico…or even Miami, I’d be pretty pumped on that…
Every spring, same old thing. Me and my dream vacations.
The point of all this rambling is that I have been in the mood for big salads, tons and tons of tropical fruits, citrus and veggies to the max. You will find this all out soon enough though…so get ready. 🙂
Since it’s Thursday, I thought we could all use something a little fun to get us through to Friday. A little tequila on our chicken seemed like the perfect thing. My cousins would be so proud, but Abby (ok and Matthew, ok and Marge…wait ALL OF THEM…too many to name) would be asking where the pineapple margaritas or Mai Tai’s are.
They are all crazy, but then, maybe they are all just really smart?? Hmmm???
So the chicken gets marinated in a mixture of tequila, chili powder, a little soy, a lot of lime and some jalapeno. It’s kind of smoky and spicy with a hint of tropicalness. It is probably best described as a mix up of Mexican and Hawaiian flavors and it’s completely delish. The tequila really helps to tenderize the chicken, but if you don’t like to use alcohol, you can simply omit it from the marinade. Not a huge deal.
The next best part to this salad, and my personally favorite, is the grilled pineapple and the pineapple vinaigrette. It’s no secret that pineapple and mangos are some of my favorite fruits, so clearly this pineapple vinaigrette is up there as one of my favorite ways to dress a salad. This vinaigrette is sweet, tangy, a little salty, full of citrus, cilantro and basil, and then yes, in true Tieghan fashion, I added a little kick of heat. Because for me, there’s can almost never be too much spice! Hold on though, don’t be afraid of this vinaigrette if spicy is not your thing. You can tone it down, or even get rid of it completely. Just adjust the ingredients to your needs!
The actual salad part is a base of yummy greens, fruit, fresh heirloom tomatoes (ahhhh, it’s early heirloom tomato season and I am PUMPED!), avocado and grilled pineapple. Super fresh and so good!!!
It kind of makes you feel like you’re sitting on a beach… unfortunately at some point reality hits, and I have to say, that is the only bummer about this salad. BUT for a split couple of seconds, you’ll go to the tropics and it will be amazing!
Oh but umm, any of you guys that are ACTUALLY going to the tropics? I so want to know about it so that I can live my life through you! Please and thanks! 🙂
Hawaiian Tequila Chicken Salad.
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or tenders
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons organic ketchup
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic minced or grated
- 1 jalapeno seeded + chopped
- 1 in chipotle chili adobo chopped + 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
- 1/2 of a ripe pineapple peeled + cut into half moons
- 2 heads romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 cup watercress or spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 Persian cucumber sliced
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 grapefruit and or kiwi peeled + chopped
- 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
- flaked coconut for topping
- [wonton chips | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/hawaiian-ahi-tuna-poke-bowl-video/] optional
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1 inch fresh ginger root peeled
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1/4 cup peanut or sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil + cilantro
- salt to taste
- In a large gallon size zip-top bag, combine the tequila, olive oil, soy sauce, ketchup, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno and chipotle pepper + 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce. Add the chicken and rub the marinade into the chicken, making sure the chicken has been well seasoned. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- When ready to cook the chicken, heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, grill the chicken for 7-8 minutes and then flip and continue cooking for another 7-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Cooking times will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. Remove from the heat and allow to rest 5 minutes, then slice.
- To the hot pan, add the pineapple and sear until both side until lightly golden and caramelized, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat.
- In a large salad bowl, toss together the lettuce, watercress, cilantro, cucumber, grapefruit and tomatoes. Add the avocado, pineapple and sliced chicken. Serve with the vinaigrette. EAT!
Pineapple Chile Vinaigrette
- Combine all the ingredients except the basil and cilantro to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Now add the basil and cilantro, pulse until combined. Season with salt if needed.
Bigass salads in for the win!