A simple Chicken Taco Salad is my summer go-to. A fresh chopped style salad with juicy taco seasoned chicken, fresh veggies, but the dressing really makes it perfect!
After everyone went crazy for our Ground Beef Taco Salad I just knew we had to make a grilled chicken taco salad version. I mean, how can you not make another taco salad? It’s a must!
My parents are the best to visit during the summer because everything we eat is fresh from their garden. There’s really nothing that sounds good to me on hot summer days, the ones where the air conditioning hardly even helps, you know? But a salad is always easy to throw together.
Mom always says that she doesn’t know how to throw together a good salad, which A, is not true and B, anyone can make a killer salad with just a few tips.
Tips for Making a Good Salad
- Start by picking the greens that will match the salad. If it’s a chopped salad, romaine, cabbages or ice burg are best for the crunch. A berry salad does well with a softer, richer greens like spinach, kale or a mixed greens bag.
- Think seasonally. In the winter, roasted items like sweet potatoes, broccoli, chick peas etc are a great choice. You can pair those with other seasonal items like a citrus dressing, dijon etc. During the summer you can pretty much do anything!
- Meats like chicken, bacon etc should be an addition to the salad and never the main ingredient, so be careful how much you add otherwise you lose the balance in the salad.
- Concentrate on flavor and texture contrast– sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, juicy and roasted, savory and fruity. A really great salad isn’t just a bunch of the same things, use different shapes and sizes as well as the above and you’ve got variety which not only do taste buds love, but your mind does too. See below.
Chewing vs Drinking Food is Better for you
One thing I learned about the body while battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum is that the body needs to chew in order to heal physically and especially emotionally/mentally. When you’re on IVs, feeding tubes or a liquid only diet it actually can cause depression. Something to think about…
Isn’t that crazy? The actual motion of chewing makes you feel happier and the will to survive, the joy that was missing all starts to move into place.
Back to food.
Grilled Chicken Recipe
A simple grilled chicken recipe should be in everyone’s recipe box. In my personal opinion you should have both a marinade and dry rub chicken recipe.
This grilled chicken is a taco chicken recipe. It’s great to use in anything from your favorite salad to quick and easy burritos.
The Best Grilled Chicken is really a matter of waiting though. The flavor comes from the rub, but the deliciousness really comes from letting the juices settle back down after cooking.
Remove the chicken from the grill and set aside with a little foil draped over the top for 5 minutes before slicing. Trust me, it’s the only way to go.
Taco salad is our daughter’s favorite meal right now. She really is into salads.
Let me yell that really loud for an important reason, SHE LOVES SALAD!!!!! And she used to live off of bread and cereal. Like until she was 7. And then she added a quesadilla into the mix. Pickiest little thing, until our other two came around, each has been a struggle.
I know, I deserve it, but the fact that she’s obsessed with a taco salad recipe is just shocking. In fact, she chose everything to go in our chicken taco salad!
Chicken Taco Salad Ingredients
Grilled chicken recipes are at the bottom of the page along with more salad recipes, but for now, here’s what you need for this taco salad recipe and taco salad dressing recipe.
- Taco Chicken
- Romaine- best crunch for a chopped salad
- Black Beans
- Taco Salad Dressing
Taco Salad Dressing
You can easily make this dressing entirely from scratch. You can use our homemade ranch dressing or a packet, but honestly, I’ve been trying to really spend more time playing with the kids lately so I’ve been using Coyote Ranch. It’s so thick and delicious. The rest, well just look how easy it is.
- Taco Seasoning
- Lime Juice
- Cilantro Leaves
Oh Sweet Basil Pro Tip!
Did you know that salads love a fresh squeeze of acid and a dash of salt for serving? It always used to weird me out when someone would ask if I wanted salt and pepper on my salad, and now I’m like, bring it on! Yes, even your greens need some seasoning.
Making Store Bought Taste Homemade
Our secret to life lately has been to buy a product that will help us get dinner on the table, a high quality convenience item, and then doctor it up to make it taste fresh and new. Lime juice, a tomatillo and cilantro all bring in the freshness and it only took two minutes to throw in a blender.
Healthy Taco Salad
I love a really classic taco salad, I don’t know why, but it’s a comfort food to me. You know the kind, the big ol’ fried tortilla bowl salad. But honestly, I just don’t feel as good eating something like that. Not just because I want to make better decisions but because I literally don’t feel as good eating all that fried food.
To still get the flavor, use crunched up tortilla chips in the salad. It’s a fraction of the calories but you still get the satisfying crunch.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Will Chicken Taco Salad Keep?
Taco salad can keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator, but never add the dressing or chips until you’re ready to serve.
Actually, we even prefer to keep the greens separated from the filling if we aren’t eating it all in one day.
Is Taco Salad A Side Dish?
Taco salad is usually considered a main dish, but you could make a smaller version on the side. Especially if you skip the meat.
Do You Serve Taco Salad With Warm Or Cold Meat?
You can serve taco salad with warm or cold meat. It’s all your own preference. I typically tend to use meat that’s closer to room temperature. I don’t love cold meat in a salad unless it’s a chopped salad.
What Can You Substitute For Tomatillo?
You can substitute green tomatoes for tomatillos or if all else fails, half of a green pepper. If you don’t have either, it’s ok to skip it entirely in the dressing.
What Can You Substitute For Jalapeños?
The serrano chili is the best substitute for jalapeno. Serrano chili looks like a jalapeno and has a similar taste. Never substitute a habanero unless you like blow your brains spicy.
Simple chicken taco salad is such a great recipe you can scale up or scale down depending on the size of your crowd. And it’s so dang delicious that everyone loves it…including my picky eaters!
- Crispy Chicken
- One Skillet Parmesan Chicken
- Chicken Fajitas
- BBQ Chicken on the Grill
- Chicken Burrito
- Grilled Chicken for Tacos
All our Chicken Recipes for Dinner
- Smoked Chicken Salad
- Taco Salad with Ground Beef
- Broccoli Salad
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Elote Corn Salad
Chicken Taco Salad
For The Chicken
- 2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
- 1-2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
- olive oil, for the grill
For The Dressing
- 1 Cup Dressing, Ranch
- 1 Tomatillo
- 1 Squeeze Lime Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
- 1 Handful Cilantro Leaves
For The Salad
- 1 Head Lettuce, Romaine, chopped
- 1 Can Beans, Black, drained
- 2 Bell Peppers , Green, diced
- 1 Jalapeno, Diced
- 4 Tomatoes, Chopped
- 1 Onion, Red, diced
- 1 Cup Corn, Roasted, (we buy this frozen)
- 1 Handful Cilantro Leaves, Chopped
- 1-2 Avocados, Chopped
- 1 Cup Cheese, Medium Cheddar, Shredded
- 2 Cups Chips, Crushed
For The Chicken
- The amount of seasoning depends on the size of the chicken breasts.
- The most important part is just to sprinkle evenly on both sides so that all of the meat is covered.
- Heat a grill over medium heat and dip a paper towel in a little olive oil or canola if you must.
- Using tongs, wipe the oil over the grill and then place the meat down, cooking 5-7 minutes per side, turning only once.
- Place on a plate and lightly cover (not wrap) with tin foil and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes before shredding.
For The Dressing
- In a blender, add the ranch, tomatillo, lime juice, seasoning and cilantro, blend until smooth and set aside in the fridge.
For The Salad
- In a bowl add all of the salad ingredients including the chips. Add the chicken and dress to taste.