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