This Mexican flavor-inspired Avocado Chicken Salad is healthy and packed with delicious flavors!
This avocado chicken salad is a bit unique, but we have been going crazy for it lately. It’s so healthy, surprisingly very filling, and tastes incredible! This salad is very simple and relies on high quality ingredients and fresh produce to make the ultimate healthy chicken salad.
Typically cold chicken salads are loaded with mayo, sour cream, or other high calorie dressings and ingredients, but this one is a much lighter option that you’ll find is definitely not skimping on flavor. The tangy lime dressing is the perfect complement to the avocado, black beans, chicken, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Tips for this Mexican Avocado Chicken Salad:
- Make sure you have ripe avocados and tomatoes: honestly ripe soft avocados and flavorful tomatoes are what MAKES this salad. So how do you tell if an avocado is ripe? There are a couple of ways; one way is to peel back the small stem at the top of the avocado. If it comes away easily the skin is green underneath, you’ve got a good avocado that’s ripe and ready to eat. (If you pull back the stem and it’s brown underneath you will most likely find brown spots inside the avocado and it won’t be a great avocado.) Another way to test the ripeness of avocado is by gently pressing the avocado. If it yields a gentle pressure you’ll want to eat it within 1-2 days. A very firm avocado (no give when you gently press into it) will take 4-5 days to ripen at room temperature (You can always slow the ripening process by storing them in the fridge.) How do you tell if a roma tomato is ripe? You can tell tomatoes are ripe if they feel slightly firm when you lightly squeeze them. A hard tomato needs additional time to ripen. (If the tomato has soft spots, it usually means the soft areas will turn to bruises and won’t taste as good.) Also quick tip: don’t store your ripe tomatoes in the fridge. Keep them at room temperature ideally out of direct sunlight 🙂
- Use a good seasoned rotisserie chicken OR a good leftover grilled chicken. Since this salad has only five main ingredients (and we already talked about the avocado and tomato) let’s discuss the chicken. I like to use a flavorful shredded or chopped chicken for this salad. If you purchase (or make) a rotisserie chicken, buy (or use) lemon and garlic seasoned chicken for a great compliment to this salad. Alternatively this grilled chicken recipe makes an amazing addition (you can grill up extra chicken and use the leftovers in this salad!) For an even quicker salad you can buy pre-shredded rotisserie chicken at a lot of grocery stores. This makes the prep of this salad even that much quicker!
- Allow the ingredients to sit and marinate for a little bit before adding the avocado. This intensifies and enhances the flavor. While it marinates for 20-30 minutes, I don’t like the salad sitting too long as it does tend to get “soggy” quickly. This isn’t a great salad to have leftover so make sure it will get eaten the same day or don’t dress it at once.
Can I customize this Avocado Chicken Salad?
Yes! Here are a few ideas:
- Add a chopped red pepper (or replace the tomatoes with the pepper)
- Use lemon zest and juice instead of lime
- Add some corn. We’ve made this salad with fire-roasted corn and it’s a delicious addition!
- Make it vegetarian: leave out the chicken and add in some different veggies in its place such as a roasted sweet potato (tossed in some olive oil, salt, pepper, some chili powder, cumin…whatever spices you like best!)
- Use cherry tomatoes in place of the roma tomatoes
- Add some chopped red onion
- Sprinkle on some cheese: you can add some queso fresco or cotija cheese for a fun addition
More Healthy Salad Recipes:
This Mexican-flavor inspired Avocado Chicken Salad is healthy and packed with delicious flavors!
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 large limes
- 1 teaspoon Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups prepared rotisserie chicken, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, separated
- 2 large Hass avocados, diced
To make the dressing: in a small bowl, combine the minced garlic and minced shallot. Add the cayenne pepper, ground cumin, white sugar, olive oil, zest of 1 lime (3/4 teaspoon zest), and juice of 2 limes (3 tablespoons total), and salt and pepper (I add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to personal preference). Whisk the dressing together.
Toss the dressing with the drained and rinsed black beans, diced tomatoes, coarsely chopped rotisserie chicken, and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro. Toss gently and cover. Place in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Right before serving, cut up the avocados and gently stir them in. Garnish with more cilantro as desired. Enjoy!
Cook time refers to chilling time