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Paleo Spicy Cilantro Chicken Salad Recipe

Louise | June 18
Paleo Spicy Cilantro Chicken Salad Recipe #paleo

Chicken salad. Pretty basic right? Not this version. This Paleo spicy cilantro chicken salad recipe will have you looking forward to lunch again!

A New Twist on Chicken Salad

Weekday lunch can be decidedly lame. You want to be good, so you forego eating out with your colleagues and instead bring a salad from home.

The same salad. Day in, and day out. That same, bland boring pile of lettuce, which might delight a rabbit, but not a human.

Salad doesn’t have to taste like punishment. Boring salads just need flavor to make them viable.

This Mexican-inspired version adds avocado, pickled jalapenos, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. The chicken itself is sprinkled with cayenne pepper to add heat and interest. (Just leave this out if you don’t enjoy spicy things.)

Finally, a light summer dressing of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, cilantro, and lime juice brings everything together.

How I Made This Paleo

Some of you expecting Tex-Mex may be disappointed by some of the ingredients that are missing. There’s no shredded cheese, beans, rice, or chips here.

Sorry, but I need to keep it Paleo! While raw dairy is Paleo, most of the stuff you’re used to eating is not. So there’s no cheese or sour cream here.

Beans are also off the list. While tasty, and packed with protein, they’ve got some potentially harmful effects that you’d be wise to avoid.

Crunchy salty tortilla chips aren’t Paleo either. You could try one of these recipes though if you really don’t want to skip the chips.

You’ll also notice that there is no corn in this Mexican chicken salad recipe. Unfortunately, corn is another item that is not Paleo.

More Paleo Salad Recipes

As you know, Paleo isn’t a short-term, quick-fix diet. It’s a way of eating that you can (and should!) stick with for a lifetime.

Finding healthy, natural recipes that taste good will be a great asset in helping you stick to your Paleo plan. This Paleo spicy cilantro chicken salad recipe is a start, but there are a whole lot more recipes and ideas waiting for you.

Scroll through the many salad options available on Paleo Flourish. These salads are easy to prepare and crafted using Paleo ingredients.

You’ll find everything from Paleo chicken salad with strawberry dressing to garlic shrimp Caesar salad to zucchini avocado and mackerel spring salad and more!

Lunch just got a lot more interesting — and fun!

Paleo Spicy Cilantro Chicken Salad Recipe #paleo
Paleo Spicy Cilantro Chicken Salad Recipe #paleo

Paleo Spicy Cilantro Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Author: Louise Hendon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Lunch, Entree
  • Cuisine: American


A Mexican-inspired chicken salad that won’t disappoint.


  • 1 Tablespoon (3 g) of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 chicken breasts (800 g), skinless and deboned
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil, for cooking
  • 6 Tablespoons (90 ml) of olive oil, for the dressing
  • Generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of white balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups (300 g) of salad leaves
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (340 g), halved
  • 4 pickled jalapenos (100 g), sliced
  • 1 medium red onion (110 g), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large avocado (200 g), chopped small


  1. Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
  2. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper onto both sides of the chicken breasts and season with salt. With a sharp knife, make shallow incisions across each chicken breast. Heat 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken on both sides until golden. Transfer the chicken breasts onto a roasting tray and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes to bake until the chicken breasts are cooked through sufficiently. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. While the chicken is in the oven, blend the olive oil, cilantro leaves, lime juice, and white balsamic vinegar in a food processor or blender until completely combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  4. Assemble the salad by combining the salad leaves with the halved tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, red onion,  and avocado. Place the sliced grilled chicken breasts on top of the salad and drizzle with the dressing.


Any leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

All nutritional data are estimated and based on per serving amounts.


  • Calories: 760
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fat: 56 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 51 g