Chicken Enchilada Taco Salad is what every single salad you eat should look like. Packed with protein, yummy toppings, plenty of texture and a healthy dressing you don’t have to feel guilty about.
At least once a week, we forgo the traditional protein + starch + veggie meal in lieu of an epic salad topped off with some sort of healthy protein. The past six months or so, we’ve been doing a lot of this or this salad topped off with a super crispy piece of buttery salmon. It’s super satisfying, SO good, and it’s something I ALMOST never get sick of, but just like any good thing, I eventually do.
So on to the next!
I haphazardly threw this Chicken Enchilada Taco Salad together a few weeks ago after discovering I had almost all of the fixings for tacos on hand, but didn’t really want tacos, and thought it just made sense to toss everything together in salad form.
It’s quickly become our new go-to.
I mean, can’t you see why?? It’s PACKED with good stuff.
In addition to all of the typical taco toppings – tomatoes, cheese, lettuce – I loaded it with corn, tons of black beans, sliced avocado, ground chicken and tons of freshly chopped cilantro. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole salad, once tossed, is covered in crispy tortilla chips.
It’s the perfect balance of sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy and I’m in love.
So as aforementioned, I had everything on hand for tacos, except I didn’t have the actual meat, which may present a problem, but actually ended up being great, because instead of loading the “healthy” salad with tons of taco beef (not healthy), I thought I could use ground chicken breast to keep things super light.
Also instead of a traditional taco seasoning, I essentially “seasoned” the chicken with all of the same ingredients I use to make classic enchiladas, which in my case means, tomato paste, lots of chili powder, salt, garlic powder and apple cider vinegar for an acidic kick I crave in enchilada sauce.
I feel like your first instinct is to question whether or not putting something hot on a cold salad makes sense, but let me assure you, IT DOES. I actually love the way a hot dressing or hot piece of protein sort of wilts the ingredients a little bit, but also permeates every square inch of the salad.
Once the chicken is tossed with the assembled salad, it’s topped off with plenty of sliced avocado, another squeeze of lime and plenty of crushed tortilla tips. Note: You can also make your own tortilla strips by slicing up corn tortillas, tossing then with some olive oil and baking then until crispy and brown. It’s what I did, but it’s totally not necessary.
This obviously easily serves two people, but if you’re dealing with smaller appetites, it could feed upwards of four people.
Chicken Enchilada Taco Salad
Chicken Enchilada Taco Salad: What a salad SHOULD look like! A loaded taco combined with spicy enchilada chicken, veggies and a zesty lime vinaigrette.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground chicken breast
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup water
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 medium roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Heat a medium skillet to a medium heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add ground chicken. Use a wooden spoon to bread the meat up. After 1 or 2 minutes, add onion, stir to combine. Sauté until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, and onion is soft, about 6-7 minutes.
Add tomato paste, stir and cook for one minute. Add water, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Cook another 1-2 minutes and add vinegar. Stir and turn heat off.
Toss romaine with tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, beans, corn and dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss one more time. Top salad with crushed chips and sliced avocado.
Whisk lime juice, honey, cumin and salt together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.