Flavorful chipotle spice rubbed grilled chicken salad with lettuce, black beans, corn and guacamole is an easy meal everyone will love! Or just use the delicious dry rub for grilled chicken to serve with other side dishes. Either way, it's a winner.
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We love chicken at our house and all of us could happily eat it multiple times each week with no complaints.
Flavorful, yet mild, it works in so many recipes - soups, salads, casseroles, baked, grilled, roasted - that it's definitely the backbone of many of our family's dinners.
So it's probably not surprising that I would create another versatile chicken recipe to go along with some of our other favs like Maple Mustard Chicken, Mediterranean Chicken Pesto Pasta, and Spicy Chicken Noodle Salad.
When warm weather hits, our favorite way to cook chicken is to grill it with a good spice rub.
I created a homemade version of a favorite store-bought chipotle spice blend to make a spicy grilled chicken that's just as good on it's own as it is topping a salad.
This chicken recipe I'm sharing with you here is actually a two-for-one:
- A delicious chipotle spiced rubbed chicken that can be eaten as is or with any side you like.
- A southwestern flavored black bean, corn, and guacamole salad that serves as a base for the spiced chicken.
My hope is that you fall in love with the dry-rubbed chicken which will become a part of your menu favorites and then use it on the easy salad whenever the mood strikes.
Our family loves this combo for easy summer meals - and I hope you will, too.
Chipotle Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken Recipe
Chipotle Spice Rubbed Chicken Ingredients
This chipotle spice rub has SO much flavor as both a chicken marinade and a spice mix for vegetables!
You will have rub left over (unless you decide to cook a LOT of chicken), which is great since it makes a wonderful spice for roasted or grilled potatoes and vegetables, too, adding just a bit of heat.
You will need:
- Dried ground chipotle peppers
- Kosher salt or sea salt
- Black pepper
- Dried rosemary
- Dried thyme
- Garlic powder or granulated garlic
- Onion powder
- Chicken pieces (Boneless, skinless chicken breast and thighs are the easiest, but you can grill bone-in legs, thighs, and breasts, too.)
Grilled Chicken Directions
- Mix all spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.
- Use your hands to rub the spice mixture over all sides of the chicken pieces.
- Grill immediately or let the chicken marinate in the dry rub 30 minutes to four hours ahead.
- Grill Boneless Chicken: If using boneless chicken, you'll only need to grill about 8-10 minutes on each side, or until the thickest part of the meat reads reads 165°F on a thermometer. (Brian and I swear by this meat thermometer to check for doneness.)
- Grill Bone-In Chicken: Grill skin-side down over direct heat until skin is well marked and crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn pieces over and move to indirect heat. Grill, covered, until a thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into thickest part of the chicken, 15-20 minutes for legs, 20 to 30 minutes for thighs and breasts (depending on size), turning halfway through grilling.
I'm constantly amazed how taking a few minutes to mix some spices together and rub them onto chicken 30 minutes to a few hours before grilling is all that's needed to create a restaurant-worthy dish.
It's truly a flavor game-changer.
PRO TIP: Grill more than you need and refrigerate the leftovers to make salads, wraps, sandwiches, and more. The smokey-grilled flavor just can't be beat!
Grilled Chicken Salad with Corn, Black Beans, and Guacamole
While the chicken is amazing on it's own, layering it over southwest inspired veggies turns it into a mouth-watering main dish salad!
Making a southwestern-style salad with pantry frozen corn, black beans, and shredded cheese is just as easy as making the chicken, and can be done while the chicken is cooking, making this a 30-minute or less meal.
Grilled Chicken Salad Ingredients
- Black Beans
- Shredded Cheese
- Additional vegetables like chopped onion, tomatoes, peppers (optional)
- Guacamole - store bought or homemade with avocado, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, and garlic
- Grilled Chicken
- Salsa for serving or salad dressing of choice (I like an American French Dressing if not using salsa)
- Layer chopped lettuce on individual plates. Alternately, you can layer the ingredients on a large platter for serving a group.
- Add 1/4 cup of corn, beans, and shredded cheese in layers over the salad, plus any additional vegetables you'd like.
- Slice chipotle spiced grilled chicken and add to one side of salad.
- Spoon a chunky guacamole next to the chicken.
- Drizzle with salsa or salad dressing of choice.
Serve the salad with salsa & chips for a complete, warm-weather-friendly meal the whole family will love.
Chipotle Spiced Grilled Chicken Salad FAQs
No, the dry rub adds a lot of flavor even if added right before cooking. However, if you apply the rub in advance (30 minutes to 1 hour) it will have more time to penetrate through the chicken.
Both boneless chicken thighs and breasts work perfectly in this recipe. Chicken tenders will work, too, but they will need much less cooking time. Bone-in chicken can also be used, the cooking time will just need to be increased.
Yes, you can prepare all the salad ingredients ahead, mixing everything but the guacamole. You can rub the chicken with the spice mixture up to four hours ahead.
Chipotle Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken Salad with Guacamole, Corn & Black Beans
Chipotle Spice Rub:
- 2 tablespoons dried ground chipotle
- 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt, (or 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Grilled Chicken & Salad:
- 6 boneless chicken thighs or 3 boneless chicken breasts*
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 14-ounce can
- 1 ½ cups cooked corn
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar, jack, or jalapeno jack cheese
- 1 cup prepared guacamole like this best chunky guacamole
- salsa for serving or dressing of choice, like American French
Spice Rub Marinade:
- Prepare spice rub by mixing all the spices and seasonings together in a small bowl.
- 30 minutes to up to 4 hours before grilling, rub the chicken all over with the chipotle spice rub and place in refrigerator.
- Grill the chicken over medium heat, about 8-10 minutes on each side, or until the thickest part of the meat reads reads 165°F on a thermometer. *
- Serve on it's own or slice the chicken for the salad.
Corn, Bean & Guacamole Salad:
- Prepare salad by dividing the lettuce between 4 to 6 plates.
- Evenly distribute the remaining salad ingredients, except the guacamole and salsa, on top of the lettuce (alternately, layer the salad ingredients on a large platter).
- Keep plates refrigerated while the chicken cooks and then divide the sliced chicken among the plates. Top each with a dollop of guacamole.
- Serve with salsa and tortilla chips.
More Easy Grilled Main Dishes To Try
This updated recipe was originally sponsored by Foster Farms in 2015.Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation for this post. As always, the opinions, thoughts, and projects are all mine and I will NEVER promote something I don't love and think you will find helpful - promise! This article also contains affiliate links which earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price. For more info, you can read our