Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
I have fond memories of my mom making tacos a few times a month when I was growing up.
The smell of taco seasoning wafting through the air signaled I was in for a feast.
I’ve also been to plenty of potlucks and parties where ‘taco salad’ is served but there’s an absence of any lettuce other than a few shreds of iceberg. In place of the lettuce there are thick layers of sour cream, cream cheese, cheese, guacamole, and refried beans topped with tortilla chips. Not exactly a skinny ‘salad’.
For this recipe I brought the lettuce back into salad and loaded it with all my favorite taco fixing. There’s juicy chicken cooked with the comforting flavors of taco seasoning, juicy tomatoes and corn, protein-packed chewy black beans, creamy avocado, salty cheese, and crunchy tortilla chips. So much texture and flavor in every bite.
If you have other vegetables like bell peppers, red onions, or black olives that you want to toss in, go for it. If you don’t have something on hand or don’t like it, omit. It’s a flexible recipe.
I used canned corn and canned black beans from my local VONS store. A well-stocked cantry helps you save time and make nutritious, flavorful, healthy meals you can feel good about serving.
The 30-second whisk-together dressing can be made as mild, spicy, and tart as desired. I love limes and am a huge cilantro fan and add plenty but adjust to taste. Extra works beautifully as a veggie dip.
The salad is ready in 15 minutes, great for easy lunches, or as a healthier dinner the whole family will love.
Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
The salad is loaded with all my favorite taco fixing. There’s juicy chicken cooked with the comforting flavors of taco seasoning, juicy tomatoes and corn, protein-packed chewy black beans, creamy avocado, salty cheese, and crunchy tortilla chips. So much texture and flavor in every bite. If you have other vegetables you want to toss in, go for it and if you don’t have something on hand or don’t like it, omit. It’s a flexible recipe. The 30-second whisk-together dressing can be made as mild, spicy, or tart as desired and extra works beautifully as a veggie dip. The salad is ready in 15 minutes, great for easy lunches, or as a healthier dinner the whole family will love.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- one 1.25-ounce packet taco seasoning, divided (I use reduced sodium, medium heat)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce
- 1 or 2 medium tomatoes, diced (I use vine-ripened; Roma or cherry tomatoes may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup canned corn, drained (fresh or frozen may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and diced
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I use a monterey Jack and cheddar blend)
- 1 cup seasoned tortilla chips, crushed (I crush Doritos in my palm)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (lite okay)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (lite okay, plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice, or as necessary for flavor and consistency
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional and to taste
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, chicken, evenly sprinkle with 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Allow chicken to rest in pan off the heat while you assemble the salad.
- To a large platter, add the lettuce, and evenly sprinkle with the tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, cheese, tortilla chips, and chicken; set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning, and whisk to combine.
- Add the cilantro and stir to incorporate. Add additional lime juice to thin out dressing if desired.
- Taste dressing and depending on how much lime juice was used, add sugar to taste. Evenly drizzle dressing over salad. Extra dressing will keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge and makes a great veggie dip.
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