Do not let the list of ingredients keep you from making this salad. Most of the ingredients are for the marinade and salsa which should be made the day before and refrigerated. The remaining ingredients are the salad and side items. It is super quick to throw together the next day and tastes awesome. The tequila-lime chicken is outstanding on its own and you may want to make extra Pico de Gallo to keep in the fridge. I have adapted this recipe from a former Applebee's employee. The recipe is scaled down for one serving, so adjust for more servings. Cooktime is marinade time.
Tequila-Lime Chicken Marinade
- 2 tablespoons gold tequila
- 1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon fajita seasoning mix
- 3⁄4 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (seeded)
- 3⁄4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 boneless chicken breasts, skin on or 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
Pico de Gallo
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1⁄2 small onion, diced
- 1 -2 teaspoon diced jalapeno (we like more!)
- 1⁄8 cup fresh cilantro (diced)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons ranch dressing (they use Naturally Fresh brand lo-fat)
- tortilla chips (multi-colored or regular) or corn tortilla strips (multi-colored or regular)
- chopped scallion, sprinkled on top
- 1 ounce sour cream (ramekin at 9 o'clock)
- 1 ounce guacamole (ramekin at 3 o'clock)
- 2 ounces pico de gallo, recipe above (ramekin at 12 o'clock)
- 3 -4 cups torn salad greens
- 1⁄8-1⁄4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or 1⁄8-1⁄4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Combine marinade ingredients in a container with lid. Add Chicken and place in refrigerator overnight.
- Combine Pico de Gallo ingredients in a small bowl with lid and place in refrigerator overnight with chicken.
- Remove chicken from marinade and sprinkle with fajita seasoning. Grill skin-side down for about 5 minutes, turn and continue to grill for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. I use my George Forman grill with fantastic results (about 7 minutes).
- While the chicken is grilling combine ranch dressing with 2 Tablespoons of the Pico de Gallo. Set Aside.
- Prepare Garnishes.
- Toss salad greens with cheese and remaining Pico de Gallo (or less - to taste). Sprinkle with fried tortilla strips or lightly crushed tortilla chips.
- Cut chicken into strips and place on top of greens. Add Garnishes to plate.
This is easily our favourite salad! We used to eat it at Applebee's all the time and found this copycat recipe and make it at home once a month. I didn't find it expensive like another user because I have tequila at home at all times (we have a margarita maker), so other than the chicken I think it's a relatively cheap meal at home. I leave out the vinegar and garlic powder because it tastes better without it and we buy the PC Salsa Ranch dressing to put on it instead of mixing the pico de gallo with the ranch dressing. I'd rather put heaping fulls of the pico on top of the salad. My husband is cooking the chicken on the BBQ right now for our salad as I type this out. Looking forward to the best salad there is!
I am overriding the boys and giving this 5 stars. They wanted to give 4 (yummy, a favorite, but not addictive). They pointed out that I spent over $30 on the ingredients for this - and that's the ones I didn't have on hand. Therefore it's not very frugal (one of my pet peeves. BUT it is soooooo good! They do agree that the marinade alone would be worth 5 stars - plate licking good! - but they thought it needed more spice (we live in Texas, and they could live on jalapenos alone). So if you don't mind splurging on ingredients, and you aren't into freakishly high levels of heat in your food - you have got to try this salad! YUM!