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Chicken Taco Salad

This healthy Chicken Taco Salad is loaded with seasoned ground chicken, black beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, Cheddar cheese, and avocado. The salad is drizzled with an easy homemade cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken Taco Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 623kcal

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 2 cups cilantro twist and rip off the top half of the bunch of cilantro to loosely measure (stems are fine)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons diced jalapeno seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 red onion, separated (See Note 2)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (1 and 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (See Note 3)
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced (3 heads of lettuce)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh corn, cut off the cob (~2 ears of corn)
  • 1 large avocado, (or 2 small-medium ones) thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 and 1/4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp Cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • Optional: additional limes and cilantro for topping salad

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Combine all the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, but add to taste). Pulse until ingredients are combined and then drizzle in olive oil and quickly pulse until emulsified. Don't over-mix/pulse/blend the olive oil or it can create a metallic flavor. Taste and adjust any seasonings to personal preference.
  • GROUND CHICKEN: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add in 1 cup finely diced red onion and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic. Stir often, cooking until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat if it starts to burn. Add in the ground chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes or until white and cooked through. Add in the packet of taco seasoning and reduce the heat to low. Stir to coat and season to taste with salt (it will vary depending on the taco seasoning used). Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  • LETTUCE: Wash and chop the lettuce. Cut the lettuce into ribbons and halve the ribbons -- thinner salad pieces allow for more surface area that the dressing can adhere to. Use a salad spinner to ensure the lettuce is 100% dry before adding any other ingredients
  • VEGGIES: Thinly slice the other quarter of the red onion to get about 1/4 cup (See Note 2), drain and rinse black beans, prepare the corn (See Note 4), halve the cherry tomatoes, chop or thinly slice the avocado(s), and grate the cheese. Add to the salad.
  • ENJOY: If eating the salad immediately, pour the dressing over (add to desired preference, you may not want to use all the dressing), toss the salad, and enjoy! Add additional lime wedges and cilantro to individual plates.
  • STORAGE: Unfortunately once dressed, this chicken taco salad doesn’t store well. The dressing makes the lettuce soggy. I’d recommend only dressing what you will enjoy the same day. Store dressing and salad separately. You’ll also want to store the avocado separately as well since it has a tendency to brown and change texture.

Notes

Note 1: If you don't like a lot of dressing, halve the dressing recipe. Any leftover dressing stays good for up to 1 week in the fridge and is delicious over salads, roasted or raw veggies, etc.
Note 2: The red onion is used twice; cut it in half and dice up half to use with the ground chicken. Cut up the other 1/4th of the onion (or all the rest of it if desired) into thin strips. 
Note 3: Either use 1 packet taco seasoning (I use McCormick®) or make your own by mixing together the following spices: 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground  cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon beef bouillon  powder.
Note 4: Thaw and then sauté frozen corn in a skillet Or grill fresh corn. To grill fresh corn: Preheat a grill to medium high heat, around 400 degrees F. Once hot, clean the grill grates. Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Pour about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on each corn cob and rub that oil onto all the sides. Very lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the corn. Place corn on grill grates (nothing needs to go down first/don't wrap in foil) and close grill. Allow to cook (temps remaining at 400 degree F) for about 3 minutes per side undisturbed. Using tongs, rotate and continue cooking, for about 12 minutes total. When all sides are browned, remove from the grill onto a plate. Cut the kernels off the cob once cool.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servings | Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 33.9g | Fat: 38.6g | Cholesterol: 112.7mg | Sodium: 757.7mg | Fiber: 14.1g | Sugar: 9.4g