Smoked Chicken Greens Salad with Zucchini and Cilantro Lime Dressing

Smoked Chicken Greens Salad with Zucchini and Cilantro Lime Dressing

There are two things that I’ve really enjoyed preparing over the last year, making homemade bread and smoking food, see this smoked chicken recipe.  Making bread is therapeutic and delicious, smoking is time consuming and delicious :-).  I’ve only been smoking food for the last few years and up onto that point I didn’t have a ton of experience with it.  A lot of people just assume because I’m classically trained and logged a decade and a half in the restaurant industry that I know everything there I to know about all cuisines.  Sorry to pop that bubble but most chefs are specialized or really focus on few areas within which they thrive, or back into certain techniques and use those to bring out the flavors in their food.  The only smoking I had really done in the restaurant industry is with shrimp and turkey breasts.  We had an alto sham smoker, which is this tiny box that ignites a smaller box of smoker chips to help smoke out the bigger box with which the food is in.  it’s smoking, but it’s not smoking.

When I think of smoked foods I think of the south and some old timer up at 3 am making his coals and getting ready to put them into a huge black smoker with a gigantic pig in it.  I’ve smoked a few times doing a method like that but I much prefer the digital smoker these days because I’m busy.  Digital smokers allow me to put my food in away, set the timer and smoker and then I walk away until it beeps.  It’s glorious!  A normal grill smoker requires you to keep an eye on it every hour or so to make sure you are maintaining temperature.  Grill smokers are great if you’ve got the time, but sorry I’m city livin and dang busy so don’t judge me J.  Smoking beef and pork is much longer than making a smoked chicken.  While all smoked food is delicious smoked chicken only requires about 4 total hours and it is so versatile.  Smoked brisket and smoked pork are almost always married with BBQ, but smoked chicken can go in so many different things because it usually only has a light smoky flavor since it weighs far less and requires less cooking/smoking time then it’s barbecued brethren.

There are several things you can do to a chicken before smoking it.  You can brine it, rub it or even simply marinate it.  Since I wanted a smoky seasoned chicken I went with a rub.  It requires the least amount of prep time and it’s delicious.  I love the flavors of the herbs and spices on smoked chicken because it resembles a bit of bbq, which I’m obsessed with.  Brining and marinating are great too, all depends on what flavor you are going for.  In addition to the smoked chicken I wanted to do pair it on a seasonal salad.  I love the traditions and flavors of the three sisters, squash, corn and beans, so in addition to those being delicious I knew it would go great on a salad.  I simply seared the corn on the cob, and squashes, and then immediately chilled them.

I wanted to also have some sort of tomatoey flavor incorporated into the salad so I made a really simple fire roasted salsa using the canned fire roasted tomatoes.  I blended up the tomatoes with some onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper until it resembled a restaurant style salsa.  The salsa enhances all of the other wonderful flavors in this smoked chicken greens salad since all of the ingredients in it go so well with the produce anyways.  The greens on the bottom of all this goodness is a combination of Boston bibb lettuce and spring mix.  I also added in some avocado, radishes, assorted sliced cherry tomatoes and made an insanely tasty cilantro lime dressing.  Dude you want to talk about good?  This vinaigrette is money!!!  I added some olive oil, honey, white wine vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper to a blender and blended it until it was smooth and emulsified and dang is it good.  I kept thinking how could something this simple be so flippin tasty.  It is and that’s all I can say.  Well happy smoking and happy salad making in this Smoked Chicken Greens Salad with Zucchini and Cilantro Lime Dressing!

Smoked Chicken Greens Salad with Zucchini and Cilantro Lime Dressing
Try this delicious Smoked Chicken Greens Salad with Zucchini and Cilantro Lime Dressing that is loaded with delicious vegetables.
For the Chicken:
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 1 whole chicken cut in half
For the Salad:
  • 1 15-ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • ½ peeled yellow onion
  • 6 to 8 canned nacho jalapeños
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups of packed spring mix lettuce
  • 1 roughly chopped head of Boston bibb lettuce
  • 1 sliced zucchini, roasted and chilled
  • 1 sliced yellow squash, roasted and chilled
  • 1 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup of sliced assorted cherry tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can of rinsed black beans
  • 4 thinly sliced radishes
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ½ cup of white wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ⅓ cup of cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the smoker to 225°.
  2. Chicken: Combine all of the spices and generously rub the split whole chicken on all sides and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Add the chicken to the smoker and smoke for 3 to 4 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Rest before slicing and serving.
  4. Salsa: In a blender add in the tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper until slightly chunky. keep cool before serving. Note, there will be plenty leftover.
  5. Dressing: Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until emulsified and smooth. Set aside. Note, there will be plenty leftover.
  6. To Plate: Place both lettuces to the bottom of a large bowl and place on smoked chicken, some salsa, zucchini, squash, corn, cherry tomatoes, beans, radishes, salt and pepper and dress accordingly!


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