Loaded Taco Salads with Marinated and Grilled Chicken (Gluten Free)

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Salads are usually something I think of serving in the summertime. But, this meal salad is satisfying for a lunch or dinner any time of the year! It has flavorful marinated chicken, lots of vegetables, and dressing and salsa of your choice.

You can use whatever is available when you are making this loaded taco salad! Try it with pinto beans or kidney beans, red onion in place of the green, avocado salsa if avocados aren’t available (or are too expensive!). Even frozen corn could do in a pinch! I love the Mexican cheese crumbled on top, but you could also use grated cheddar if that’s what you have in the fridge.

If you prefer to use purchased tortilla chips instead of frying the strips of corn tortillas, definitely an option too! Keep it as simple as you want it. A purchased dressing is a time saver too. Try a green salsa, red salsa, gluten free ranch dressing, or avocado salsa for dressing the salad.

I like to let people make individual salads. Simply put all the toppings out in small bowls with large bowls to dish up and let each person go to town! My husband prefers to make his a few tacos (so we let him have his in warm tortillas!) Set the dressings and salsas as well as the tortilla strips or chips at the end of the table or bar for ease. Each person can make their own salad based on what they like and everyone is happy.

You could also make this in a big platter style salad or toss together in a very large bowl with most of the ingredients and the dressing. Then top with the cheese, avocado, and tortilla strips.

Loaded Taco Salads with Marinated and Grilled Chicken (Gluten Free)

Delicious healthy meal loaded with vegetables and flavor!
Servings 6 -7 servings
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 11 mins
Chicken Marinate Time: 1 1/2 -3 hours 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients

Chili Lime Marinade:

  • 1 dried guajillo chili, seeded gf
  •  ¾-1 dried California chili, seeded gf
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive or avocado oil
  • ½ small white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano, gf
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, gf
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin, gf
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder, gf

Loaded Taco Salads with Marinated and Grilled Chicken

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, halved
  • 1 recipe of Chili Lime Marinade
  • 2 – 5 oz. packages of spring mix
  • 2-3 ears of corn, cooked kernels cut from cob
  • 1 can black beans or pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
  • 5 oz. Casera or Cotija cheese, gf, crumbled
  • 5-6 green onions, sliced
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 oz. cherry tomatoes, in halves
  • 1 recipe of Chili Lime Dressing or gluten free dressing of your choice
  • Fried Tortilla Strips or gluten free tortilla chips
  • Salsa of your choice

Fried Tortilla Strips

  • 5-6 gluten free corn tortillas, cut into ¼” strips
  • Vegetable oil to fry the strips

Chili Lime Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons plain or Greek yogurt, Mexican Crema, or sour cream
  • ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions

Chili Lime Marinade

  • Soak the seeded chilis in the boiling water. Blend with the remaining ingredients in a Vitamix or food processor until smooth. Pour over the chicken and turn the pieces a few times to coat. 

Loaded Taco Salads with Marinated and Grilled Chicken

  • Place the chicken in a bowl or pie plate. Pour the Chili Lime Marinade over the chicken and turn the pieces a few times to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 ½ -3 hours.
  • Grill the chicken on high heat. Turn after 5-6 minutes. Cook for 4-5 minutes on the other side or until done. This will depend on the chicken breast thickness and the temperature of the grill. Check the chicken for doneness with an instant thermometer or meat thermometer. Remove when the thermometer registers 165 degrees F. 
  • Cover to keep warm. Slice in ½ inch strips prior to putting salads together.

Fried Tortilla Strips

  • Heat a skillet or cast iron on medium high heat with 1/4 “ of oil.
  • Fry the strips until light golden, turning as needed. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. 

Chili Lime Dressing

  • Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl or 2 cup measure. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: grilled chicken salad, taco salad, taco salad with chicken

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