Layered Loaded Chicken Taco Salad
Confession. I have never owned a trifle bowl until now but now that I have one I can make layered salads and desserts. Something about looking at the layers makes me hungry.
But you don’t really need a trifle bowl because although helps with presentation, the taste of the salad will be nearly identical to this Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing which is assembled on a platter. It was my inspiration for today’s salad.
The salad is easy, ready in 15 minutes, and the whole family will enjoy it. Or if your family is like mine, the salad will be devoured because we love taco salad. There are so many textures and flavors in every bite.
For this layered salad I started off with a layer of crisp romaine lettuce, topped with crunchy tortilla chips, chewy black beans, juicy corn and tomatoes, tender chicken cooked with taco seasoning, shredded cheese, creamy avocado, green onions, and more chips. You can layer the salad any way you want since it’s going to get tossed anyway.
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.
The 30-second whisk-together dressing can be made as mild, spicy, and limey as desired. I love limes and am a huge cilantro fan and add plenty but adjust to taste. Extra dressing works wonderfully as a veggie dip.
Layered Loaded Chicken Taco Salad
The salad is easy, ready in 15 minutes, and the whole family will enjoy it. There are so many textures and flavors in every bite including crisp romaine lettuce, topped with crunchy tortilla chips, chewy black beans, juicy corn and tomatoes, tender chicken cooked with taco seasoning, creamy avocado, shredded cheese, green onions, and more chips. You can really layer the salad any way you want since it’s going to get tossed anyway or assemble it on a large platter. The 30-second whisk-together dressing can be made as mild, spicy, and limey as desired. Extra dressing works wonderfully as a veggie dip.
Chicken and Salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- about 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)
- 6 cups (one 9-ounce bag) romaine lettuce, divided
- 1 1/2 cups seasoned tortilla chips, crushed (I crush Doritos in my palm), divided
- one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used no-salt added)
- 1 1/4 cups corn (fresh, frozen, or canned that’s been drained)
- 2 small/medium Roma tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used a mixture of both)
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I use a Mexican cheese blend)
- 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and diced small
- 1 or 2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
- 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
- Chicken and Salad – 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. Tip – If you prefer your chicken more saucy, add about 1/2 cup water about 2 minutes into the cooking process. 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 trifle bowl (substitute with your favorite large bowl and/or simply place ingredients on a large platter like this salad), add about 4 cups lettuce, half the chips, black beans, corn, tomatoes, remaining lettuce, chicken plus cooking juices from the pan if desired, cheese, avocado, green onions, and remaining tortilla chips; set aside.
- Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing – 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 to taste and toss. Salad is best fresh. Extra dressing will keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge and makes a great veggie dip.
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