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Chipotle Chicken Salad

This spicy Chipotle Chicken Salad is a flavor explosion with a sweet chipotle-lime vinaigrette, crisp corn, spiced beans, creamy avocado, tangy red onion, crunchy pumpkin seeds, rotisserie chicken, and citrusy cilantro.
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Healthy
Keyword chipotle chicken salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 as a side dish (2-3 as a main dish)
Calories 519kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $6.73


  • 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce (~1 large head)
  • 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (~1/2 small cabbage)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 can (15.25 oz) black beans, drained & rinsed Note 1
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onions
  • 1 ear fresh corn (or 3/4 cup canned or frozen corn)
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (measured before chopping)
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pepitas Note 2
  • Optional: sprinkle of cotija cheese and tortilla strips for extra crunch if desired!


  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, dried oregano
  • 1 clove coarsely chopped garlic
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon 1 large chipotle pepper (with surrounding adobo sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice


  • DRESSING: Add all the dressing ingredients to a small blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add about 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to your preference.) Blend until smooth. Store dressing in a sealed Mason jar in the fridge until ready to use. (The heat from the chipotle pepper will intensify as this dressing sits.)
  • SALAD: Add the cut, washed, and completely dried cabbage and romaine to a large bowl. (If either is still wet from washing it will make the salad soggy; I like to use a salad spinner.) Add the remaining salad ingredients: chicken, black beans, red onion, corn, avocado, cilantro, and avocado (See Note 3).
  • ENJOY: Drizzle dressing over salad and gently toss to combine. Once tossed, add a sprinkle of cotija and/or some crunchy tortilla strips if desired. Enjoy immediately!



Note 1: If you prefer, use these tasty from-scratch black beans
Note 2: Or add crunchy salad tortilla strips! Pepitas can generally be found in the bulk section of a grocery store, or with other salad toppings like candied nuts and dried cranberries. Make sure they’re roasted and salted (not raw) for the best flavor.
Note 3: This salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing and avocado mixed into it. If you aren't planning to eat the entire salad at one sitting, toss and add dressing to only what you’ll be eating at this time. If you keep the dressing separate, this salad can store in the fridge for up to 3 days (with the exception of the avocado). The avocado browns and takes on an odd texture, so I add half the avocado one day and place the other half in a plastic bag (squeeze some lemon or olive oil on the exposed side) in the fridge until I’m ready to prepare another serving.
Here's how I store this salad to eat throughout the week:
  • Prepare the salad as the recipe indicates, but leave out the avocado and don't add the dressing.
  • Divide the salad evenly into four containers, leaving space for the dressing 
  • Add the dressing to small containers or snack-sized bags and then add the sealed cheese and dressing packets to the meal prep containers.
  • Seal the containers and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • For the avocado: On the first day you'll be enjoying the salad, halve the avocado. Chop 1/4th of the avocado and add it to the salad. Take the remaining avocado and squeeze lime juice over it all and refrigerate it in an airtight plastic bag. Add 1/4 of the avocado each day, slicing off the top layer if it's browned.
  • To enjoy a portion of salad each day: Add the avocado, pour the dressing over everything, toss to combine, and enjoy!


Calories: 519kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 1288mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 15291IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 5mg