It’s kind of a funny paradox. In summertime, even though there are many more hours of sunlight than in fall or winter, I find myself tending towards ultra simple fare when menu planning. You might think since there are more daylight hours, I wouldn’t mind spending a little more time in the kitchen, but instead I want to soak up every moment of fun that we can. Whether we’re going on walks, swimming, working in the garden (AKA spraying each other with the hose), exercising, or just sitting outside eating popsicles, any outdoor activity takes priority. With our desire for simple meals combined with summer’s bounty of produce, some form of salad makes our menu at least twice a week.

Recently Josie posted this chopped grilled summer vegetable salad and I was all about it.  She teased it on Instagram and I was instantly pestering her to find out when she would post the recipe.  I made it within days of her post and we all loved it, as expected.  The next week when menu planning I considered making it again, and was also planning on my favorite grilled chicken fajitas one night. Light bulb. Throwing everything for the fajitas onto the grill along with some romaine was much simpler than making tortillas, especially for a weeknight meal. I made a quick chipotle lime dressing to go with the salad and sprinkled with some cotija. We loved this seasonal riff on one of our all time favorite meals. Thanks for the inspiration, Josie!

  • Yield about 4 servings


  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribbed and diced
  • 1½ tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. pepper
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (6 halves total), about 1½ lbs.
  • 1 large red onion (about 14 oz.), sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
  • 2 large bell peppers (about 10 oz. each), stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • 2 heads romaine hearts, halved lengthwise

For the dressing: 

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup low fat greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • ¼ tsp. chipotle powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 01

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade for brushing the vegetables; set aside.  Place the chicken breast halves in the bowl with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds, peppers and the romaine hearts with the reserved marinade.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, using a large chimney starter, ignite 6 quarts of charcoal briquettes and burn until the coals are fully ignited, about 20 minutes.  Empty the coals into the grill, spreading them in a single layer.  Place an additional 20 unlit coals over the lit coals on one side of the grill to create a tw0-level fire.  Place the grill grate over the coals and allow to heat for 5 minutes.  Scrape the grate clean with a grill brush.  (For a gas grill, light all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.  Leave one burner on high and turn the rest down to medium.)

  • 03

    Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and transfer to the hotter side of the grill; discard the left over marinade.  Place the onion rounds and peppers on the cooler side of the grill.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned, 3-4 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the chicken and continue grilling until it is no longer pink inside (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160˚ F.)  Meanwhile, cook onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, about 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice as needed.  When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the romaine to the grill and cook, turning once, until both sides are lightly charred, about 2 minutes total.

  • 04

    Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until well combined.

  • 05

    Chop the chicken, peppers, onions, and romaine hearts. Divide between serving dishes, drizzle lightly with the chipotle lime dressing and sprinkle with cotija. Serve immediately.