If there’s a chopped salad on a restaurant menu, then you bet I’m going to be ordering it. I love a big bowl full of crunchy greens, veggies and lean protein. It’s filling, nourishing, healthy, satisfying and especially refreshing during the summer months. A couple of years back I thought it would be fun to recreate some of my favorite go-to restaurant style meals…starting with this ridiculously good and crunchy chopped chicken cabbage salad.
This chicken cabbage salad gets its crunch from green cabbage (or you could also use red!), tons of fresh raw veggies, a hint of sweetness from corn, a kick from jalapeno, creaminess from avocado and finally it’s all tossed together with a homemade spicy greek yogurt ranch.
I personally LOVE cabbage salads because they retain their delicious crunch for days, meaning that you’ll have leftovers that actually taste GOOD. SIGN ME UP!
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Chopped chicken cabbage salad ingredients
This healthy ranch chicken cabbage salad recipe is packing all of the goods and southwest flavors that make it taste like one of those big, delicious restaurant chopped salads (but without the price tag and weird ingredients!) Here’s what you’ll need:
- For the chicken marinade: we’re using a bit of olive oil, honey, fresh lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. It’s basically like a really yummy taco chicken marinade. If you want to make this vegetarian, feel free to skip the chicken and use a can of chickpeas instead.
- For the salad: load up on shredded green cabbage, green onion, cilantro, carrots, red bell pepper, jalapeño, fresh (or frozen) sweet corn and roasted pepitas.
- For the spicy ranch dressing: protein-packed greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh lemon juice, dried dill (or chives), salt, a bit of water to thin and your favorite hot sauce or chipotle chili powder. If you want to skip the ranch, you can feel free to use store-bought ranch of choice.
- Toppings: I love adding crunchy tortilla strips and creamy avocado to balance everything out!
How to make homemade spicy ranch
The delicious, creamy, spicy ranch dressing is the star of the show here. It’s easy to make and you’ll want to drizzle it on everything. To make it simply:
- Add the greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh lemon juice, dried dill, salt, water and hot sauce to a bowl or mason jar. Not into hot sauce? Use chipotle chili powder instead!
- Mix or shake until the dressing is well combined.
- Taste it and add more hot sauce if you like it spicier!
Keys to the perfect chicken marinade
A great chicken marinade requires three key ingredients to make your chicken super juicy and flavorful:
- Fat from oil or even full fat yogurt or buttermilk
- Acid from vinegar or citrus fruit
- Plenty of seasonings like spices and fresh or dried herbs
How to grill perfect chicken
The grilled chicken in this chopped salad makes it extra delicious and filling! Learn how to grill chicken perfectly every time with this tutorial.
Can I bake the chicken?
Absolutely! Marinate the chicken as directed and then get all of my tips and tricks for baking juicy chicken here.
Customize this chopped chicken salad
- Use the summer veggies you have on-hand like tomatoes, different colored peppers, crunchy romaine or even finely chopped broccoli.
- Add a sprinkle of feta or goat cheese for additional creamy, salty or tangy goodness.
- Make it vegetarian by swapping the chicken for chickpeas, black beans or even tofu using the same marinade!
- Try another protein like grilled shrimp or salmon.
How to store this chopped chicken cabbage salad
This healthy chopped chicken salad will stay fresh covered in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
Make it ahead of time
If you want to meal prep this chopped chicken salad or serve it at a bbq or picnic I’d suggest preparing the entire salad the day before and adding the dressing (and avocado) just before serving so that everything stays fresh.
More delicious salad recipes you’ll love
- Street Corn Pasta Salad with Cilantro Pesto + Goat Cheese
- Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Summer Glow Strawberry Kale Salad
- Peach, Tomato & Corn Arugula Pasta Salad
- Healthy Summer Broccoli Salad
Get all of my salad recipes here!
I hope you love this flavorful spicy ranch chopped chicken cabbage salad recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo.
Spicy Ranch Chopped Chicken Cabbage Salad
Spicy ranch chopped chicken cabbage salad made with a rainbow of veggies like bell pepper, carrots, crunchy cabbage, sweet corn and a kick of heat from jalapeño. Top this healthy chopped chicken salad with a homemade spicy greek yogurt ranch dressing for a deliciously filling salad that will keep you satisfied!
- For the chicken:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Juice from 2 small limes
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad:
- 6 cups shredded green cabbage (or a mix of purple and green also works)
- ½ cup diced green onion (or sub diced red onion)
- ¾ cup freshly diced cilantro
- 1 cup shredded carrots (from 2 large carrots)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- ½ cup roasted pepitas
- 1 ½ cups fresh raw corn off the cob (or feel free to use thawed frozen corn)*
- For the spicy greek yogurt ranch:
- ¾ cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon dried dill or fresh chopped chives
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2-4 tablespoons water, to thin dressing
- 1-3 teaspoons hot sauce, depending on how spicy you like it (I love cholula!) or you can sub ½-3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- For topping:
- 1 cup tortilla strips (or 1 cup slightly crushed tortilla chips)
- Optional: 1 avocado, sliced
- Extra cilantro and green onion
Marinate your chicken for at least 30 minutes: in a large bowl, add chicken breast, olive oil, honey, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss well to combine, then place in the fridge until ready to use.
While the chicken is marinating you can prep and chop the veggies for the salad. Place all ingredients for the salad in the bowl, except the tortilla strips (and the dressing).
Make your dressing by combining the following ingredients in a medium bowl or mason jar: greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh lemon juice, dried dill, salt, water and hot sauce. Mix or shake until well combined, taste, and add more hot sauce if you like it spicier, then pour dressing all over the salad and use a tongs to combine salad together with dressing.
When ready to grill chicken: Preheat your grill to 400 degrees F and scrape off any leftover bits from the grates. Place your chicken breasts on your preheated grill, and close the lid. It's important to keep the lid of your grill closed while your chicken is cooking so that no heat escapes. Cook your chicken breast on the grill for 7-9 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Cook time will vary a bit depending on the size of your chicken breast, so be sure to check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the chicken breast using a meat thermometer.
Once chicken is done, cut into strips and top the salad with it, then add tortilla strips. Garnish/top with avocado, cilantro and green onion.
For a vegetarian version: feel free to use a can of chickpeas or black beans instead of chicken.
If you want to skip the ranch, you can feel free to use store-bought ranch of choice. I also love to mix 1/4 cup store-bought ranch and 1/2 cup greek yogurt together when I'm feeling a little lazy. Feel free to add hot sauce too.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on July 17th, 2020, and republished on June 18th, 2022.
I love a crunchy cabbage salad! I’ll be making this with salmon.
Sounds delicious! Enjoy 🙂
It’s delicious! Made as written- added a couple farmers market tomatoes and I’m not mad about it. The spicy ranch is to die for and the chicken marinade is delicious. Perfect summer salad to make ahead- bonus, it’s beautiful too. Thanks for this great recipe!!
Perfect! Love that 🙂
This recipe was super easy to put together. My husband isn’t a big fan of cabbage, but he really liked this. The chicken was moist and flavorful. I will defantly be making this again.
So happy to hear that!
I made this salad tonight for dinner and let me tell ya, it was a HIT! The chicken is so flavorful (I marinated mine for 1 hour) and I already had a greek yogurt-based ranch in the fridge so I used that versus making it from scratch. I would have NEVER thought that adding Cholula to the ranch would be good as I’m not a huge fan of hot sauce but it was SO good. Thank you, Monique, for this bomb ass recipe. I will definitely make it again!
Amazing! So happy to hear that 🙂 some of my favorite flavor combos in here!
Loved it! Thank you for posting this delicious recipe! I made a few substitutions based on dietary restraints and what was available….SoDelicious dairy-free plain yogurt swapped for Greek yogurt (no water necessary since it’s thin), shaved almonds swapped for pepitas, and no hot sauce in the ranch as I felt the chicken was spicy enough (we’re a mild-spicy household). The ranch dressing was AMAZING and something I’m going to make to have on hand.
Absolutely! This one’s great for customizing 🙂 so happy you loved it!
This might be my favorite recipe on this site. Wow – it is so delicious that I made it for meal prep two weeks in a row. The crunch of the tortilla chips was a perfect addition texture-wise, and her spicy ranch is killer. MAKE THIS!
Love that! So happy it’s a favorite!
This salad was delicious, I did add 1 tsp.honey to the dressing to cut the tang in it. We also cooked our chicken in the air fryer. We will definitely be making this again!
Love that! Perfect lunch or dinner 🙂
This recipe is incredible. I probably make it every other week. The sturdiness of the cabbage makes it the perfect side salad to keep around all week for lunches. Love, love, love it!
Absolute home run. Couldn’t get enough of the chicken. That marinade is bomb.com. This salad even impressed the pickiest eater in the house.
I had romaine lettuce on hand so I used that instead of cabbage. I also used sunflower seeds instead of pepitas. My fiancé said this is one of his favorite dishes! The dressing is insanely tasty and tangy.
Perfect! Love that idea!
Delicious salad! I used sriracha sauce in the dressing which gave it just the right amount of spice. I will definitely be making this again!
Perfect! Glad you enjoyed!
Glad you enjoyed!
This was such a yummy salad! I bought the cabbage slaw mixture from Costco that comes with dressing nuts and cranberries and just used the slaw for this recipe. The chicken had great flavor and the yogurt dressing was a good spicy kick! I also changed the corn to chopped zucchini. It was delicious.
Perfect! Glad you enjoyed!
This salad is amazing! I substituted mixed greens for the cabbage and added a can of black beans along with the chicken. I absolutely love all the fresh flavors, and the creamy dressing is a perfect compliment. This will be a repeat for sure!
Perfect! Glad you enjoyed!
This salad! Wow! I have had it every day for the last week and already want more. The chicken marinade is now one of my favorite marinades and I use it all the time. I did change the dressing to a different recipe with chipotle chilis, but love this combo so much.
The best! Glad you enjoyed!
Love your recipes. In your nutritional for recipes you do not list sodium contents in recipes. Could you please list the sodium contents in your nutritional information. I am on a low sodium caradic diet. All your recipes sound delicious, I would love to make them they would be perfect for me if you listed sodium contents.
Hi Sue! The sodium content can really vary depending on the brand of food products are using and the amounts of salt people add when we instruct to “add salt to taste,” which is why we don’t list it in the ingredients. I suggest leaving out any additional salt and making sure to use no/low sodium ingredients in things like tomato sauce, broth, etc.!
Love All and Everything!
I’m so glad!
Incredible recipes. Full of nutrients and flavor. I cook for health and nutrient value. My friends do not know that. They think I am an excellent cook who create incredible taste in my food. Those who know that my first ingredient is nutrients praise me for the flavor of my food. They say “you make food that is sinful in taste and no one would ever know you how healthy the meal. is. That is my goal- I want top make healthy food taste sinful. This website helps me with my goal. I want to eat as close to GOD’S hand as possible. I also shop and prepare food with GOD”S presence, guidance and LOVE. And always end in Thanksgiving. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my way, my truth and my life every day of my life. I have an amazing life in them. Very happy, very healthy and very much in LOVE with life. I have experienced adversity but when you have support you can handle everything that comes your way.
LOVE YOU ALL
So glad you loved this one!
This recipe is a real keeper! I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful it turned out.
So glad you’re a fan! 🙂
The chicken marinade and dressing were both excellent!
Awesome! So happy you loved them, Liane!
Love the recipes, so tasty and made with simple and wholesome ingredients! Thanks for the inspiration!
I’m so happy they’re inspiring you 🥰 Thanks for the love!
This salad is so very good, so fresh – the dressing is delish. Everyone loved – will definitely be adding to the rotation.
Woohoo! So happy you loved it, Caroline!
This is insanely good! I made some substitutions (vegan chicken substitute, avocado for the base of the creamy dressing) and I cannot recommend it enough!
I’m so happy you love it! Those are great subs 🙂
This salad was so delicious and crispy! The whole family loved it!
This salad is absolutely delicious! I love looking for salad recipes like the ones I find in restaurants, and this one hits the spot!!!
Used iceberg instead of cabbage and rotisserie chicken that I shredded, turned out great!
Such great alternatives, I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
This was amazing!! One of our new go to dinners that’s ready in 30 min.
Yay!! I’m so glad that you’re loving this one, McKayla!
This is, without a doubt, my family’s favorite salad! We eat it at least 3 times a month. It is quick and easy to put together and the flavors are AMAZING!
Sooo delicious!!! The flavours just work so well together and it’s so different from what we usually eat!
We made ours less spicy and we also just used bought ranch dressing. So so yummy though. Will be a regular in the rotation now!
Wow. Made exactly as recipe states. Used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn and Late July sea salt and lime chips crumbled on top. Used a lot of curse words eating this. DELICIOUS!!!!!
Yummmm! So happy you loved it, Elizabeth!! 🙂
Such a delicious and healthy meal! We marinated the chicken for 6 hours and it was so juicy!! The salad has so much flavor and helped me get plenty of veggies in after a big weekend LOL! Will make again!
So glad you loved it 🙂 And yes haha give me all the crunchy veggies!!
So refreshing and delicious with a kick! We used siracha and topped with crushed tortilla chips. Can’t wait for leftovers!
The chicken turned out amazing with the marinade!! Highly recommend
YAY I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thank you!
This is my husbands new favorite meal. The first time we made it I used green cabbage, and the second time the cabbages looked extra gross at the grocery store…so I grabbed a Napa cabbage instead. We like it better with the Napa cabbage. Thank you for this recipe we LOVE IT!!!
Ooh love that idea — I’ll try that next time! Glad you both loved it 🙂
I knew I was going to make this recipe after I read the ingredient list. It had at least 4 veggies in it that I had gotten in my CSA box. This is the first salad my 14 year old son has ever eaten 2 servings of. The chicken was so delicious. I wish I would have made more to have leftovers. I added sharp cheddar cheese at the end because, why not. I forgot the tortilla chips and I know they would have added a great crunch. Overall a great salad!
Ahh that is incredible!! I’m so glad you both loved it. Cheddar’s an amazing addition, too! I need to try that 😍
Loved the Chopped cabbage chicken salad.
Yay, I am so glad you are enjoying this recipe ❤️
I fell in love with this recipe the first time I made it and it quickly became one of my family’s go to dinners! Sometimes I cheat and buy a bag of southwest chopped salad because my kiddos prefer to make burrito bowls with the chicken. By far THE best southwest chicken marinade – YUMM!
Yay! I am so glad you and the fam are loving this recipe 🙂
This recipe is wonderfull !! A lot of flavours, really fresh with a twist of spice. If you don’t like chili, you can totally skip it, the dressing is really good without, I tried it. I used skyr instead of greek yogourt and it works well! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I need to ask where do all the carbs come from I. This recipe?
I was so pleased to see that there was an actual dish with the name ranch in it. That wasn’t using ranch seasoning. My god so refreshing.
Hope you enjoy this recipe!