It's time again for The Salad Bar, hosted by Wendy of The Weekend Gourmet.
This month's theme was Mexican salads. I kind of struggled with this because the only Mexican salad I could think of was the usual taco salad. But I wanted to do something more interesting than that. I even searched Pinterest and wasn't finding anything inspiring. Then one day I was cleaning out some of my paperwork and I found a list of recipes that I had wanted to pin from an old Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. One of them was Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Salad. It was perfect! Lettuce, onion, avocado, and cilantro topped with taco seasoned chicken, dressed with a spicy sweet chipotle dressing, and finished off with crunchy tortilla strips. I made a few changes, of course, so here's my adaptation.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
⅓ cup + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
Green leaf lettuce, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Crunchy tortilla strips
Season the chicken with the taco seasoning. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook through, about 5 minutes, flipping once. Remove from heat and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
In a small container with a lid, combine the chipotle in adobo, vinegar, brown sugar, and remaining ⅓ cup olive oil. Put the lid on the container and shake to emulsify the dressing.
In a large bowl, place the lettuce and onion. Add the avocado and tomatoes, cilantro, and tortilla strips. Pour on the dressing and toss. To serve, top the salad with the chicken.
Makes 4 servings.
This salad is so good! Rachael used a combination of cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper on the chicken, but I simplified things by using my own taco seasoning. I always have it ready to go in my spice cabinet, so it was just easier. The other major thing I changed was that the dressing was supposed to be made in the skillet as a warm dressing. I didn't feel that was necessary. It was just great at room temperature.
I cheated and didn't actually mince the chipotle for my dressing. I just used about a tbsp of the adobo sauce. The adobo sauce is super flavorful and has some heat to it and lots of the chipotle flavor. I made this salad for my family, so I didn't want it to be too spicy for my little ones. And my husband and I are kind of wimps when it comes to spice anyway. The one tbsp of adobo sauce was perfect for us, but if you like things hot, then mince up some of the chipotle pepper. It also called for 1 tbsp of brown sugar, but that was a little bit sweet for me. So next time I will just do 2 tsp.
If you have never used tortilla strips before, they come in bags just like croutons, either in the produce section or the salad dressing aisle. They have different flavors, but since there was already a lot of flavor going on here, I just got the plain ones. I didn't want the flavors clashing.
This salad was a big hit with my family. They all loved it. It's a great healthier alternative to taco night.
Be sure to check out all the other great Mexican salads below!