When I eat this Tropical Chicken Salad, I think of the Moko Jumbie….
Let me explain.
When I was about 10 years old, my parents took us to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands of the Caribbean. For some reason, that trip stands out vividly from my childhood memories. A few key things I remember:
1. My younger sister’s luggage got lost so I had to share my swimsuits with her and I was NOT HAPPY about that.
2. There were chameleons crawling on the ceiling of our hotel room (which was right on the beach!) and we thought that was the coolest thing ever.
3. There were GIANT iguanas creepin around everywhere we went and my siblings and I would feed them the maraschino cherries that came in our pina coladas…livin the dream life.
4. And last but not least…The Moko Jumbie.
The Moko Jumbie was a dancing woman on stilts. One night we went to a late dinner on the beach and she was part of the show. As a little girl, I was slightly terrified of this woman, dancing and weaving her way around the tables, laughing loudly and clapping to the music. That night was a blur of bright colors, Caribbean tastes and salty, seawater smells. Along with the Moko Jumbie, we watched a man do the limbo under a flaming, fiery stick while walking on broken glass.
You can now see why this trip was so memorable.
Along with the Moko Jumbi and fire-breathing, glass-walking man, I vividly remember all of the delicious Caribbean food we ate. Fresh fruits, jerk chicken, beans with rice and fruity drinks. Yum.
In this Tropical Chicken Salad, we recreated those fresh flavors of the Caribbean. Pineapple, mango, bell peppers, avocado, coconut shreds, crunchy peanuts…all drizzled with a tropical coconutty vinaigrette. Sure, you may not be eating it with the Moko Jumbi dancing around your table, but one can imagine, right?
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 2 cups shredded or cubed chicken
- McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning or lots of freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup mango chunks
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 large avocado
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Peanuts for topping
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, heated to liquid
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Juice of one orange
- 1-2 tsp. honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the mango, pineapple, avocado and bell pepper into small chunks.
- Season the chicken liberally with Montreal Steak or pepper.
- Assemble the salad by combining all ingredients and top with coconut shreds and peanuts.
- Toss with coconut vinaigrette.
- Combine red wine vinegar, orange juice and honey in a shaker bottle or glass jar.
- Melt the coconut oil and slowly drizzle it, along with the olive oil, into the dressing, allowing it to emulsify.
- Toss with salad and serve.
*Coconut oil stays solid at room temperature until heated. Before eating, run this dressing under hot water until liquid.
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