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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Taco-Chicken Salad

As some of you may have heard, there's a 30-Day Salad Swap challenge going around, and I joined in on it. Because I decided that I could certainly stand to lose a little weight, I jumped in on the challenge. That, of course, led to a whole slew of salad ideas and recipes.

Here's the recipe from the salad we had on our first day of the salad challenge. Although in the picture it looks like we piled the dressing on, in actuality it was probably less than 2 tablespoons! Because the bulk of this salad is made up of a zesty vegetable mix, it is both good for you and filling! The tender chicken chunks have a delicately spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with ranch or blue cheese dressing, and an easy cheese quesadilla on the side provides the perfect accompaniment to create a balanced meal.

Taco Chicken Salad

Serves 4

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1-1/2 lbs chicken breasts (frozen chicken works well for this)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 dark-skinned (Hass) avocado or 1/2 of a light-skinned (Hall) avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon of cilantro paste from a brand like +Gourmet Garden Herbs and Spices
  • 2 tablespoons dressing, ranch or blue cheese work well
  • 1 bag fresh salad mix (10 to 12 oz size works best)


Pour water and vinegar into a large shallow pan and put chicken breasts inside. Bring vinegar mixture to a boil and then simmer for eight minutes. Cover the pan during simmering and flip the chicken at least once.

Mix together the chopped tomato, chopped onion, frozen corn and black beans in a colander and rinse well under lukewarm water, until the corn is no longer frozen. Set aside while you wait for the chicken to finish cooking.

Remove the chicken from the pan when it is done simmering, and slice it into 1/2" pieces.

Reduce the liquid in the pan to about 1 cup, and return the chicken to the pan.

Add the taco seasoning and cilantro paste in with the chicken, and stir well. If the spices seem to be too 'sticky', add water in increments of 2 tablespoons until the mixture is a good cooking consistency. Allow the chicken to cook for another 4 minutes (or until the liquid has simmered out), remembering to stir frequently.

Slice the avocado into thin strips.

Dress the salad by creating a bed of lettuce, followed by the vegetable mix and chicken. Top with avocado slices and dressing. Serve with a simple quesadilla on the side for a complete meal.