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Chicken taco salad

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I love chicken salads, and one of my most favorite ones is a chicken taco salad with lots of vegetables, crushed tortilla chips, creamy Ranch dressing (or a healthier, Greek yogurt based dressing), served with sour cream and salsa on the side! This salad has everything: protein, carbs, veggies, fiber – it’s a complete dinner meal which will leave you happy and satisfied!

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I like to roll and liberally coat the chicken in a taco seasoning and sear it in olive oil on medium-high heat for only about 3 minutes on each side – then, remove the chicken from heat but still keep it covered for about 15 more minutes to allow it to cook through until it’s no longer pink inside but not dry either.  Alternatively, you can bake the chicken at 375 Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes and then let it sit covered on the counter until the chicken is cooked through and ready to be diced into cubes.

Then, you just mix all salad ingredients together (adding tortilla chips last), and serve the salad with the dressing on the side, just like this:


Chicken taco salad recipe, recipe for taco salad, cold taco salad, easy taco salad, easy chicken taco recipe, spinach salad

Or, you can drizzle the dressing over the salad right before serving, like this:

Chicken taco salad recipe, recipe for taco salad, cold taco salad, easy taco salad, easy chicken taco recipe, spinach salad

Either way, the salad is delicious, flavorful, just a pure comfort food. For a salad dressing, you can use either store-bought Ranch dressing, or, for a healthier version, mix some Greek yogurt with the taco seasoning and chopped cilantro!

Chicken taco salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Chicken taco salad


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable Oil
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • Salad:
  • 6 cups spinach, shredded, or 1 head green leaf lettuce, shredded or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • tortilla chips, crushed
  • Salad dressing option 1:
  • Ranch salad dressing
  • Salad dressing healthier option 2:
  • Greek yogurt mixed with the taco seasoning and chopped cilantro


  1. Season the chicken breasts with taco seasoning on both sides. Heat the skillet on medium-high heat, add oil, then sear chicken about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and keep the skillet covered to allow chicken to continue cooking off heat until no longer pink in the middle. Cool the breasts then slice them into small cubes
  2. Salad:
  3. Layer all salad ingredients (spinach, tomatoes, green onions, red onion, red bell pepper, grated sharp cheddar cheese, and crushed tortilla chips) and cubed chicken in a large salad bowl or on a large serving platter. Drizzle with the desired amount of Ranch dressing and serve.
  4. Or, instead of layering the salad ingredients, just toss them all together, without any layering, with the desired amount of Ranch dressing and serve the salad already tossed and mixed. In this case, add crushed tortilla chips only after you tossed and mixed all other salad ingredients, to make sure tortilla chips don't get soggy.



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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • [email protected] March 6, 2014, 4:05 am

    I agree, this salad has everything I like. Those crushed tortillas is a fabulous idea! 🙂 ela

  • Angie (@angiesrecipess) March 6, 2014, 7:44 am

    wow look at the vibrant bright colour! I am smitten!

  • Monique March 6, 2014, 8:50 am

    How nice.. Spring is around the corner.. I see this on the patio with a nice glass of chilled wine this summer Julia.

  • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking March 6, 2014, 3:20 pm

    This salad looks so yummy! I wish I could get my photographs of salad to look half this crisp, fresh and colorful!

    This salad would also be great to make with leftovers from a fajita night!

  • Emily {Rainbow Delicious} March 6, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Wow, this looks so delicious and simple to put together! I’m definitely adding this to one of my upcoming meal plans.

  • Daniela March 6, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Just looking at the vibrant colors makes my mouth water.
    Thank you for sharing this Julia, it’s like springtime on a plate 🙂

  • Matt @ Runner Savvy March 6, 2014, 7:39 pm


  • Holly Ford March 6, 2014, 11:03 pm

    That is one appetizing salad. It is a totally satisfying dish. Love all the healthy colors!

  • Ashley March 7, 2014, 10:13 am

    This is absolutely my kind of salad! It’s so bright and colorful … and the flavors are just downright awesome. Plus I can never turn down anything with tortilla chips : )

  • The Café Sucre Farine March 7, 2014, 4:53 pm

    I want this for dinner Julia! It looks wonderful.

  • Noel Lizotte March 8, 2014, 11:03 am

    Julia, I shared this on FB the other day – just now added to my Ziplist Recipe box and it’s going on my shopping list for this week!
    Love this salad!

  • Deb March 8, 2014, 12:48 pm

    I’m ready to make this recipe and it’s not even 10 in the morning! The bright flavors and crunch are just fantastic!

  • Beth March 9, 2014, 5:00 pm

    What a gorgeous salad! I can’t wait to try it – looks like something everyone in my family will love.

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook March 9, 2014, 8:01 pm

    What a lively salad! Not just nutritious and delicious, but it give us a happy vibe. 🙂 The chicken with taco seasonings will add nice flavor and this sounds like a great lunch salad!

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu March 9, 2014, 11:53 pm

    This looks SO good, and so pretty with all the bright colors! I’m especially loving the idea for dressing option 2!

  • Shashi @ RunninSrilankan March 11, 2014, 12:03 pm

    This salad makes my heart happy – kinda like a warm day in the middle of freezing ones! loving the colors and textures!

  • Michelle @ The Gathering of Friends March 28, 2014, 12:23 pm

    This salad looks so good! And your photography is amazing, the color of the salad is perfect! I included this salad in our Feature Friday post today for “20 Delectable Salads” Here is the link, I hope you can stop by! http://returntothetable.net/recipes/20-delectable-salads/

  • Stacy Myers August 7, 2014, 8:24 pm

    I was looking for a quick and easy idea for dinner – I just happened to see this one on Pinterest and had everything I needed. Turned out great. Thanks!

  • Jess September 8, 2015, 4:43 pm

    Made this tonight for supper, it was so good! and for once it didn’t take longer (or even as long) as the estimated preparation time! easy, delicious, and full of good nutrition. My kind of meal! thanks so much for sharing!

  • Kathy July 6, 2016, 9:04 pm

    We made this for dinner tonight. So easy and delicious! The chicken was perfectly cooked and moist. We added corn and black beans. Thanks!

    • Julia July 9, 2016, 3:18 pm

      Thank you, Kathy! I am glad you liked it! Corn and black beans sound delicious as an addition!

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