I love taco salads and I remember my parents eating them when I was a little girl. My mom would buy or make, (I don’t remember which) the huge taco shell to put all of the super tasty taco ingredients in. To a little kid those shells just looked ginormous!! I just thought there was no way they could eat all of that.
Anyway, I made a chicken taco salad the other day and my family really enjoyed it. It wasn’t the traditional taco salad. Usually when I think of taco salad I think of really rich, beefy taco meat full of beans, topped with the usual taco veggies and piled high in that huge and crispy taco shell, but I decided to try a different route. ( aka-I had chicken breasts that needed a new home)
I was going for a really flavorful and healthy salad. Chicken, lots of veggies, a little cheese and some black beans-you know really healthy feel good food- but then I realized I didn’t have that crunch from the taco shell.
I thought to myself the salad doesn’t have to have the crunchy yummy taco shell it already tastes great….but life happened. Just take a look. I had to do it, I had to top it with some chips, nacho cheese Doritos to be exact. Oh the shame.
Then I went even further and topped with with a creamy homemade ranch. Might as well go the whole way, huh. At least I made the dressing!?!? Doesn’t that make it healthier??? Of course you don’t have to do that just use your favorite ranch or other salad dressing if you would like.
Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Ranch
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 heads romaine chopped
- 1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 5 green onions chopped
- 1 avocado sliced
- Crushed nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips optional
- Optional Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pan.
- In a small bowl combine the chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the chicken breasts. Add to the pan and cook until juices run clear and the center is no longer pink when cut. If you have really thick or large chicken breasts you may want to cut them in half to speed up the cooking. Otherwise lower the heat of your pan a little so they don't burn before cooking all the way through.
- While the chicken is cooking assemble your salad with the romaine, black beans, tomatoes, cheddar, cilantro, green onions and avocado (and optional tortilla chips) and distribute between two large bowls.
- After the chicken has rested for 5 minutes slice and lay on top of your salads.
- Optional Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar and shake until combined. **This dressing gets stronger and more flavorful the longer it sits** Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.