I’m SO excited to share this delicious recipe from my friend Gaby’s newest cookbook, Eat What You Want. One word to describe this cookbook: fun! It’s filled with beautiful recipes that are perfect for everyday cooking or feeding a group. The title, “Eat What You Want,” says it all. These recipes are seriously crave-able.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of Gaby’s cookbook, you can grab one here. As a little preview, we’re making a gorgeous chicken taco salad that you’re going to want to make all summer long.
Everything you’ll need to make this chicken taco salad
When I say this healthy chicken taco salad recipe is loaded with all of the goods I mean it’s loaded. Gaby didn’t skimp on the deliciousness here:
- For the chicken: this taco salad recipe uses ground chicken in this recipe which I absolutely love. You’ll cook it with olive oil, onion, garlic and your fav taco seasoning (aka my homemade taco seasoning recipe).
- For the salad: the base of the chicken taco salad is made with lots of shredded romaine lettuce, then you’ll top it with fresh cherry tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, fresh corn off the cob, avocado, scallions, cilantro, red onion and black beans. YUM.
- For the dressing: Gaby’s book also has this amazing cilantro vinaigrette that you’ll toss in the salad. It’s made with shallot, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes. Per Gaby’s recommendation: feel free to double the dressing for this salad!
Customize your chicken taco salad
The best part about giant salads packed with tons of fun ingredients is that they’re super easy to customize. Here are some easy ways to do so:
- Make it vegetarian. Simply swap the chicken for tofu (cook it the same way!) add some cooked quinoa, a can of chickpeas, or an extra can of black beans.
- Make it vegan. Use my suggestions for making it vegetarian and then just omit the cheese or use vegan shredded cheese.
- Add some crunch. I think this chicken taco salad would be delicious with some tortilla strips or even broken-up tortilla chips.
- Choose your dressing. You know I’m a huge cilantro lover, but if you’re not feel free to toss this salad with my homemade greek yogurt ranch or my chipotle ranch dressing!
- Spice it up. Add a kick of spice with some fresh diced jalapeño and your fav hot sauce. SO GOOD.
Can you eat raw corn?
Yep! Corn is perfectly okay to eat raw, and I do so in tons of salads. If you’re not a fan of raw corn or don’t digest it well, feel free to grill it before cutting the kernels off. Try my street corn seasoning and grilling instructions in this recipe.
How to make the best chicken taco salad
This easy chicken taco salad recipe comes together so quickly and will be a new summer staple. Here’s how to make it:
- Make the dressing. Add all of the ingredients for the cilantro vinaigrette to a food processor or blending and processing it until it’s well combined.
- Cook the chicken. Next, you’ll cook the ground chicken in a skillet with the onion, garlic and taco seasoning until it’s fully cooked. You may want to add water after adding the taco seasoning so that the chicken can simmer in all of the flavors.
- Assemble the salad. Add all of those yummy salad ingredients to a large bowl or platter in two layers, starting with romaine at the bottom and half of the rest of the toppings. This will ensure that everything tosses together well.
- Add the chicken and dressing. Finally, top the salad with your taco seasoned ground chicken and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Toss again and taste the salad to see if you want to add more vinaigrette, then serve!
Make it ahead of time
Crunched on time? I’d recommend chopping all of your ingredients and making the dressing separately, then simply storing them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
How to store this chicken taco salad
This healthy chicken taco salad will stay fresh in airtight containers in the fridge for about 2-3 days. I recommend enjoying it as soon as you can so that the romaine stays nice and crisp.
Make your salad prep a breeze with these tools
- Salad spinner
- Lettuce chopper
- Food processor
- Dressing shaker
- Salad bowl
- Salad servers
- Meal prep containers
Check out all of our favorite kitchen essentials here.
More salad recipes you’ll love
- Italian Chopped Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Spicy Ranch Chopped Chicken Cabbage Salad
- Avocado Peach Tomato Salad with Dilly Tahini Dressing
- Damn Good BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Jalapeño Cashew Dressing
- Fiesta Mango Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Get all of our delicious salad recipes here!
I hope you love this delicious chicken taco salad recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. And remember to get your copy of Eat What You Want to try more of Gaby’s incredible recipes!
Gaby’s Chicken Taco Salad
Hearty and delicious chicken taco salad loaded with taco seasoned ground chicken, juicy tomatoes, fresh corn, savory cheese and a wonderful cilantro vinaigrette. This protein-packed chicken taco salad recipe makes the perfect healthy lunch or side dish for your next BBQ!
- For the chicken:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- For the salad:
- 3 heads baby romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese (or sub cojita)
- 2 ears of corn, shucked and corn kernels sliced off the cob
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
- 3 scallions, sliced
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- A few tablespoons chopped or sliced red onion
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- For the cilantro vinaigrette*:
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (stems removed)
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly cracked black pepper
To make the vinaigrette: add all ingredients for vinaigrette to a food processor and process until well combined.
To make the chicken: heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the ground chicken and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until fully cooked. Finally, add the taco seasoning and ¼ cup water, or as needed, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes while you assemble the salad.
To make the salad: to assemble this salad in one large serving bowl, layer half of the lettuce on the bottom of the bowl followed by half of all of the other toppings. Add the second layer of lettuce on top and finish with the remaining toppings. Top with the cooked ground chicken and toss the salad together or drizzle salad with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Add more vinaigrette as needed and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
*Feel free to double the dressing in this recipe if you'd like. Gaby's recipe doubles it!
Feel free to use my homemade taco seasoning recipe!
To make vegetarian: cook a package of firm tofu just as you would with the ground chicken. Or add quinoa, a can of chickpeas or another can of black beans.
Make it ahead of time: I'd recommend chopping all of your ingredients and making the dressing separately, then simply storing them in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the salad.
To store: store the salad in airtight containers in the fridge for about 2-3 days. I recommend enjoying it as soon as you can so that the romaine stays nice and crisp.