Chipotle Chicken Salad

May 27th, 2009 by katie

Can you believe I have been wanting to try this recipe since August 2006?  That was when it was first featured in Cooking Light and I knew then that it would be great.  Back then we didn’t eat as wide a range of foods as we do now, especially mrChaos.  I knew better than to even suggest a salad for dinnerThe horror.

These days we eat much more adventurouslyand can appreciate lighter dinners and dishes that don’t fit the box of our usual routine.  Not that there is anything adventurous about this taco salad-it is simply a fresh, filling salad that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy or stuffed.  We made cilantro-lime rice on the side for those who needed something a bit more substantial.  Combined on the plate, it was like eating at mrChaos’s favorite burrito place.

I think the success of a dinner salad relies heavily on powerful flavors and textures.  The ingredient list below appears long but this salad is easy and quick to put together.  I marinaded chicken breasts and grilled them before making the salad, however any chopped, cooked chicken will do.  You also don’t have to make the tortilla strips, but I think they lend a nice crunch to the mix.  I gave some proportions below but it is a salad, so feel free to adjust to your tastes.  Cooking Light also suggests adding rinsed, canned black beans and using grilled corn kernals.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

serves 4, prep 20 min, cook 5-10 min, adapted from Cooking Light, August 2006

Chicken Marinade (optional, marinade overnight)

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

Tortilla Strips

  • 4 corn tortillas, sliced into strips
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • oil


  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 4 tsp lime juice, I added the juice from 2 limes
  • 1 chipotle chili, minced (canned in adobo sauce)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste (quite a bit more than the 1/4 tsp called for)


  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
  • 4 cups shredded romaine
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  1. Marinade your raw chicken breasts if using, store in the fridge overnight.
  2. Heat about one inch of oil in a skillet for frying.  Fry tortilla strips until golden brown and crisp.
  3. Toss with spices and salt.
  4. While preparing salad, place chicken breasts on a hot grill pan and cook until opaque all the way through.
  5. Prepare dressing by combing all ingredients in a small bowl.
  6. In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients, toss with dressing to taste.
  7. Slice cooked chicken breast and toss with salad or serve over salad.
  8. Top with tortilla strips.

This recipe is really cheap if made with leftover dark meat, such as chicken leg quarters. So what are you guys thinking about the Cost Analysis(es? Analysi?), do I need to keep them up? Are they helpful or interesting or have you gotten the point and enough already don’t you know it’s tacky to talk about money?

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Posted in Easy, Main Dish, Salads

14 Responses

  1. zoe

    That marinade sounds delicious. I just found your blog and love it! You are so talented!

  2. Michelle

    Sounds great. I’m bookmarking right now.

  3. sweetbird

    I’m usually fairly anti-salad, but that dressing does sound tasty.

    I’m kind of meh about the cost analysis. I think it’s interesting, but I’m not one of those people who’s been hit by the recession and needs to trim costs in the food budget area.

    I imagine that for people who are really looking to cut back money-wise it’s very helpful though. If not for those recipes specifically, than to establish a base line for the types of meals that they can fit into their budget.

  4. Stephen

    love the salad. I thinks it’s important to look at cost but not to ignore the fact that we simply over consume in this country. if we focused on less volume and good quality ingredients then the pocket book should be just fine. Eating out at expensive restaurants is what kills you.

  5. Melissa

    “a salad for dinner. The horror.”


    Seriously. *Sigh*

    I made a really similar dressing with an amazing salad I did last summer. I need to do more like this. Great light meal!

  6. Nancy

    I want to make this. It’s going on my list right now.

  7. Nancy

    Forgot to mention….i like the cost analysis feature that you typically include.

  8. noble pig

    Sounds yummy! I find the CS interesting but it’s not something I personally use when deciiding to make a certain recipe. For many it might and it is a unique feature of your blog. If you like doing it, keep it up. If you hate it, drop it like a bad habit.

  9. Kevin

    That salad looks so tasty!

  10. kim

    Just found your blog via foodgawker and made this salad last night with chicken and shrimp. it was delicious! I will definitely be back for more!

  11. Kevin

    That is one tasty looking salad! So many great flavours!

  12. Julie

    I just tried by accident the Santa Fe Chipotle Salad from McDonald’s and loved it. I wanted to mimic it at home. Been searching for receipes and found yours….looks great…can’t wait to try it.. Thank you.

  13. Elaine from Cookware Help

    Chipotle is pretty much good on everything these days! I just made this tonight and it was so delicious! Almost all the ingredients are my favorites. Although I’m not a fan of avocados, they taste great in salads. I think this is also good for tacos. I’ll try that next time. Thanks!

  14. the Santorini condo

    I do consider all the ideas you’ve offered to your post.
    They are very convincing and will certainly work.

    Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for starters.
    Could you please extend them a little from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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