In 30 minutes or less you can have a healthy chicken taco salad with all the fix in’s of lettuce, cheese, beans, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and taco chips. Add toppings of sour cream, salsa, avocado, olives, or cilantro.
Being able to make a quick meal in just a matter of minutes is my preferred method of cooking. It is even better because of all the vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce are part of that meal. And then you finish it off with a flavorful protein of chicken. But just for fun you add chili cheese chips and toppings of sour cream, cheese, avocado, and salsa for a appetizing chicken taco salad.
Are you ready to jump right in and make dinner tonight?
This chicken taco salad is so good and healthy. You will be sauteing a flavorful taco seasoned chicken for protein. Then there are the legumes of pinto or black beans for more protein and nutrition. Plus there are lots of vegetables with sauteed onion and mini peppers – feel free to use as many as you want; we will add lettuce (use a green or red leaf or romaine for more taste and nutritional value), plus we love tomatoes with the salad also. You can choose to finish off all that flavor with a avocado that is loaded with potassium and healthy fats. Yes, there is cheese and sour cream and chips but used moderately, they will just burst forth with more flavor and not too much distraction from the healthy benefits of chicken taco salad.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A CHICKEN TACO SALAD
legumes – black or pinto beans
chips – chili cheese fritos or tortilla chips
toppings – optional but add so much flavor: sour cream, salsa, avocado, olives, cilantro
seasonings – salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika
HOW DO YOU MAKE A CHICKEN TACO SALAD
It is a lot easier than you think. Start by cutting the chicken tenderloins or a whole large breast into bite size pieces. Mix together the spices in a small bowl and sprinkle all over the chicken. There is no marinate required, the dry spices will adhere and add a lot of flavor to the chicken in just a matter of minutes.
Next I like to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Chop or dice the onions, peppers, tomatoes. Shred the cheese, After rinsing the lettuce tear into bite size pieces. Drain the beans; you can use black or pinto beans, whichever is your favorite.
I wait on slicing the avocado until just before serving so it won’t brown. And I usually wait to set the salsa, sour cream, cilantro, olives, and chips on the table until just before serving otherwise I find myself snacking on the olives and chips. But that is your choice.
Now you are ready to saute the chicken in a little olive oil on medium heat in a saucepan, once the chicken is cooked throughout with no pink left in the center, set it aside in another bowl. This is just for a few minutes while you saute the onion and peppers, if you need a little more oil add it now. The vegetables will be tender within a few minutes and as I stir them around they gather some of those spices left behind by the chicken.
Once the onions and peppers are tender, add back the chicken to warm. While this is warm set the rest of the ingredients on the table in their own individual bowls. This is our family’s preferred way of serving chicken taco salad because then we can pick and choose our favorites for the salad. Some just might like a little extra cheese or there are a couple that will leave the tomatoes off all together.
An alternate way of serving chicken taco salad is to toss the chicken and vegetables in a large serving bowl with the lettuce, beans, tomatoes, and cheese. The chips are served on the side so they don’t get soggy. The rest of the toppings are also served on the side.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHICKEN TACO SALAD AND CHICKEN FAJITA SALAD
There are several differences between chicken taco salad and chicken fajita salad –
1)the seasoning; this taco salad uses chili powder, cumin, and paprika; fajita salad uses a marinade of teriyaki sauce, salsa, and lime juice
2) legumes; there are black or pinto beans in chicken taco salad
3) cheese; cheese plays a yummy role as part of the chicken taco salad, cheese is not an ingredient as part of chicken fajita salad
4) the chips; chili cheese chips or tortilla chips are used, in the fajita salad tortilla strips are used
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHICKEN TACO SALAD AND CHICKEN FAJITA SALAD
1) they are both salads, lettuce is used in both
2) the toppings are the same; sour cream, salsa, avocado, cilantro
3) they can both be served the same way; either separately or tossed together
4) they are both delicious to eat and come together in a matter of minutes
So let’s call it a win-win dinner! Delicious, easy, healthy, quick.
Chicken Taco Salad
Chicken Taco Salad
- 4 chicken tenderloins
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion (diced)
- 2 to 3 mini peppers (yellow, red, and/or orange) (sliced)
- 2 roma tomatoes (diced)
- 4 cups lettuce (rinsed and torn)
- 1 - 15 oz can pinto or black beans (drained)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1 bag chili cheese chips (or tortilla chips)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
- various toppings - sour cream, salsa, avocado, cilantro
- Large Mixing Bowl
Chicken Taco Salad
- Cut chicken tenderloins into bite size pieces
- Mix spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle all over chicken pieces
- Warm olive oil in a saucepan
- Cook and saute chicken in saucepan over medium heat until cooked throughly - no pink inside (remove and set aside while vegetables cook)
- Saute diced onions and sliced peppers in saucepan for about 5 minutes, return chicken to saucepan to warm throughout
- While vegetables and chicken are cooking prepared rest of the ingredients
- Put each of the rest of the ingredients - cheese, lettuce, chips, drained beans, diced tomatoes into their own bowls
- Set everything on table and let everyone choose to make their own salad with their favorites
- Alternate serving - in a large bowl add lettuce, chicken and vegetables, beans, tomatoes, and cheese; toss together. Place on table and serve with chips on the side
- Enjoy with favorite toppings - sour cream, salsa, avocado, cilantro, even olives
What are your favorite toppings on chicken taco salad?
This post was originally published August 28, 2011. Pictures and recipe has been updated as of April 2020.