Tropical chicken salad packs in spicy chipotle grilled chicken, fresh veggies, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, and avocado, complete with a creamy, dairy-free mango dressing. It makes a perfect light and healthy summer salad full of protein, healthy fats, and veggies for a balanced meal. Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
I LOVE a loaded salad. Gimme all the greens and veggies please. Anytime of the year, I’m game for a good salad. And no better time to share this super summery tropical chicken salad then right in the middle of summer!
When it comes to salads, I don’t mess around though. They need to have a bunch of different textures and components, flavors, and healthy fats and protein to keep me full. My best friend and I used to eat salads every single day for dinner during the week in college. And I mean HUGE salads. They somehow got the name bomb ass salad and to this day some of my friends still call them that.
This tropical chicken salad fits the bill for a bomb ass salad though! It is packed with protein and healthy fats, along with the fiber from the veggies, to help keep you full. There are lots of different textures and favors – creaminess from the avocado and a mango dressing, a crunch from the macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, and raw veggies, juiciness from the mango, sweetness from the dressing and mango, and spice from the chicken.
Since I am pretty much always dreaming of going on vacation (just ask Michael, I talk about our next vacation while we are on vacation haha), this salad feels like I am laying by the beach listening to the ocean waves. Except it is more like sitting on our patio, sweating my butt off, trying to not be eaten by mosquitos in Austin.
Or to be totally honest, giving up and just going inside in the air conditioning. Close enough?!
Tropical Chicken Salad
Marinated chicken, a creamy mango salad dressing, and a variety of ingredients make this salad a winner! The ingredient list might look long, but it should take less than 30 minutes to make. And most of it is spices to make the chicken.
First, marinate the chicken. You can do this for up to 24 hours in advance to save some time. If you forget, I would suggest at least 2-3 hours to make sure the chicken absorbs the flavors.
When the chicken is done marinating, light your grill to medium-high heat. Once it is hot, grill chicken for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway though, until cooked through. While the chicken cooks, work on the rest of the components.
Make the dressing by blending the mango, coconut milk, lime juice, chipotle powder, and salt in a Vitamix or blender. The dressing is thick, so if you want it a little thinner, add more lime juice or water. Set aside.
Next, make the toasted coconut flakes. Simply add some oil to a hot pan over medium-low heat and add coconut flakes. Toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Immediately remove from heat so they don’t burn and set aside.
Finally, chop up your ingredients for your salad. I used romaine, cherry tomatoes, orange bell peppers, macadamia nuts, and avocado. You can totally substitute in whatever you like or have on hand.
Once the chicken is done, slice it up and assemble the salads! These are great for an easy summer meal, or you can even make them for meal prep. Just store the dressing in a separate container until you are ready to eat.
Mango Salad Dressing
Behind every good salad, is a good dressing! Or something like that haha…
In all seriousness, a delicious salad does need a delicious dressing. And this mango salad dressing is just that. The mango and coconut combo is sweet and then the chipotle and lime juice give a little kick to help balance it out. The sweetness of the dressing helps cool down the spice from the chicken and brings the tropical chicken salad all together.
It’s just so good! We used the leftovers for days as a dip for veggies, on meat, and really anything that I could find. Even if you don’t like salads, just make the chicken and the dressing. It is a great combo!
More Healthy Summer Salad Recipes
Paleo Loaded Roasted Potato Salad
Gluten Free BLT Avocado Pasta Salad
Greek Chicken Pasta Salad with Zucchini Noodles
Paleo BLT Zucchini Noodle Pasta Salad
Healthy Broccoli Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Raw Summer Corn Salad with Tomato & Avocado
Tropical Chicken Salad with Mango Dressing
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
Tropical Chicken Salad
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce (2 heads/470 grams)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (300 grams)
- 1 large orange bell pepper, roughly chopped (200 grams)
- 1 cup diced mango (175 grams)
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
- 1 large avocado, sliced (150 grams)
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- oil, for sautéing
- 2/3 cup lite coconut milk
- 1 cup diced mango (175 grams)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- salt, to taste
- Marinade the chicken. Add chicken, lime juice, oil, and spices to a plastic bag or sealable dish and mix well to combine. Marinate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
- When the chicken is done marinating, heat up the grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Place chicken directly on grill over direct heat and grill for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Cook until no pink remains or the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the chicken cooks, make the coconut dressing by adding the coocnut milk, mango, lime juice, chipotle, and salt to a Vitamix or blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Dressing is thick - if you want a thinner consistency, add more liquid (coconut milk, lime juice, or water). Set aside.
- Make the toasted coconut flakes. Heat a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add a little oil to the pan and let it get hot, about 30 seconds. Add coconut flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Remove from heat immediately.
- Assemble the salads by evenly dividing the veggies between 4 bowls. Once chicken is cooked through, let it rest for a couple minutes and then slice and serve on top of salad with the coconut dressing. Enjoy!
This recipe was previously posted and was updated this year!
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