The chicken & black bean spinach salad is a lunchtime power boost that will fuel you through the afternoon. It’s packed with veggies and tossed with a simple garlic-lime dressing. Prep the ingredients ahead of time for easy weekday lunches.
Chicken Black Bean Spinach Salad
Every time I share a salad I feel this urge to over-justify its existence seeing as salads are seldom a go-to meal solution in my house and, as much as I want to sell it as so, salads don’t really fall into the “comfort food” recipe category. And, really, writing a recipe for a salad seems almost silly because at the end of the day tossing a bunch of greens with some ingredients is really more a collection than it is a recipe. Specificity beyond what collection of ingredients you might like to pile together in a bowl isn’t really needed unless you count the dressing, in which case a ratio of ingredients as a guide is helpful.
So, I won’t try to position this chicken & black bean spinach salad as anything but what it is: a noontime power bowl of goodness that will fuel you through the afternoon with little risk of petering out around four o’clock also known as the late-afternoon slump. Also, it’s a salad I ate on repeat during a little experiment I’ll be sharing more about with you in the coming weeks. For now, I’ll just say the experiment was a 30-day sugar detox and I’m excited to share details about the experience, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, let’s talk salad. It’s Southwest-inspired collection of ingredients tossed with a simple garlic-lime dressing. It’s loaded with so many good-for-you components that, depending on your tastes, you can easily adjust everytime you make it.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fresh spinach, although you can use your favorite green like spring mix, arugula, or even chopped romaine lettuce.
- Sliced radishes give the salad a peppery bite.
- I love the black beans in this salad, but you could substitute pinto beans or cannellini beans if that’s what you have on hand.
- Some crumbled feta cheese (which I realize isn’t exactly “Southwest”, so for a more authentic experience use queso fresco).
- Cooked boneless skinless chicken breast. I like to cook it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.
- The dressing is a simple lime juice, olive oil, and garlic combo.
This is the sort of salad, if you have cooked chicken on hand (more about that in the recipe card), that you can easily toss together for lunch. I prep the ingredients ahead of time and store them individually in the fridge – it makes it so easy to just toss and eat even on those days when there isn’t much time for a lunch break. The recipe as written makes two large salads, but, depending on your appetite, you can stretch the ingredients to make four smaller servings.
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The chicken & black bean spinach salad is a lunchtime power boost that will fuel you through the afternoon. It’s packed with veggies and tossed with a simple garlic-lime dressing. Prep the ingredients ahead of time (see the notes for more details) for easy weekday lunches.
For the Dressing
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1 pinch each of kosher salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the Salad
- 4 generous cups of roughly chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
- 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces cooked chicken, diced (see note)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 small avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced into quarters
- Whisk the lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil together in a small bowl until combined.
- In a large bowl, toss the spinach and cilantro together. Drizzle about half of the dressing over the greens and lightly toss them again to coat them in the dressing. Divide the greens between two serving bowls.
- Top the greens with the radishes, black beans, chicken, and feta cheese. Place the avocado slices on the salad, drizzle each salad with the remaining dressing and serve.
I like to cook the chicken ahead of time to make it easy to toss a salad together for lunch. To prepare the chicken, I pound it out to an even thickness (about a 1/2″ thick), season it on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook it on a grill pan on both sides until it’s cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.
If you want to prep this salad ahead of time, cook and dice the chicken, chop the spinach, slice the radishes, and drain and rinse the black beans. You can also make the dressing ahead. Keep all of the components separate in the fridge until you are ready to make the salads. Add the cheese and avocado and it’s ready to serve.
- Category: Lunch
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 763
- Sugar: 1.8g
- Sodium: 592.8g
- Fat: 58g
- Carbohydrates: 30.8g
- Fiber: 17.7g
- Protein: 38.3g