Lime and Chilli Chicken Salad

I am chilling out on the Mexican island of Cozumel in order to complete my open water PADI diving course… as you do. Cozumel is a relaxed place with the whole island revolving around the scuba diving trade – which is obviously why I am here. Most people visit the island on a cruise ship and there are usually 4-5 in the harbour every day, the “cruisers” come ashore for an hour or two to do a snorkel, have a pina colada and then head back to the ship. Which means that the island hasn’t developed too many hotels and resorts, but there is a huge tourist trap on the beach promenade. However, go one street back from the main tourist trap and you find nothing but ex-pats, locals and backpackers all focused on the amazing diving that this island has to offer.

Diving is big business here and people take it very seriously and therefore their health – if you want a place to party, stay in Playa Del Carmen (the launching pad to Cozumel). Here, there is everything from yoga and tai chi classes to kickboxing and cycling. Everyone seems to have a thing that they do to keep trim and in shape for diving.

After my first day of diving, I was completely starving and somewhat exhausted. So I headed to the supermarket – which of course is a huge mistake, never shop when you are hungry and tired. Suddenly choosing between apples or bananas is too hard and you’re too hungry – GET BOTH! This continued until I had a huge basket full and was struggling back to my hostel with my shopping bags.

Lime and Chilli Chicken Salad

After stuffing a banana in my mouth I looked at my purchases, there was quite a bit… but it hadn’t exceeded the budget and I knew I could get a few days worth of meals out of it. I first divided up what I would use for breakfasts, then snacks (pistachio’s – one of my biggest weaknesses, especially when they are on special – it’s like they were begging me to buy them), then looking at what was left over I came up with the below Lime and Chilli Chicken dish that could be added to lettuce for a salad or wrapped in tortillas if I felt like something a little heavier.

The best thing about this dish is the way the limes interact with the chilli. Mexican limes are strong and jam-packed with flavour – if you are cooking this at home then I suggest that you double the number of limes to really get that punch.

Lime and Chilli Chicken Salad Recipe
  • 1 pallet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small brown onion – or 1/2 a large one – roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a bunch of coriander – roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 different coloured capsicum’s (peppers)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 large Mexican chilli – diced
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Cheese of your choice
  • Lettuce
  • Chop all of the vegetables into large bite-sized chunks. Just half the big cherry tomatoes, leave the smaller one’s whole.
  • Roughly chop your chicken to be in large but bit sized pieces.
  • In a large saucepan heat up some oil on medium and add the chicken, chilli and onions in together
  • When the chicken is lightly browned add in the black beans, cook for about 1 minute
  • Add in the vegetables and coriander cook for two minutes or until the tomatoes start to soften
  • Squeeze in the juice of the lime and add salt and pepper
  • Put your lettuce on a plate or bowl and spoon over some of the mixtures – don’t forget the juices, that’s where the flavour is.
  • Sprinkle with cheese
  • Saucepan or large frying pan
  • Chopping board
  • Knife

120 pesos or 12 Australian dollars. Will give me 4 LARGE meals… so that’s 3 dollars a meal


If you don’t have oil, add the chicken when the pan is still cool with a little bit of water to draw out the chicken fat.

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