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This is a quick-fix dinner for Cinco de Mayo.  If you have leftover chicken from Sunday dinner, like the Brazilian Bakery Sunday Chicken, then you’re set.  If not, purchase one of those broasted chickens from the supermarket.  This is a perfect patio dinner on a hot summer day.  This is one of those dishes, that is pretty much up to the cook, as to what she/he want to use.  I’ve given you what I used, but feel free to improvise.  You’ll need some cooked chicken, about 2-3 cups.  Tear the chicken in to bite-sized pieces and toss with either some taco seasoning or chile powder and set it aside.  You can, and really you should, do this ahead of time, and pop it into the fridge to chill until dinner.

The dressing is sour cream-based, redolent with garlic, and sweet smoked paprika, as well as some chile powder.  I used both lime and orange juice for that sweet/sour balance.  This is a good little salad dressing or dip to have on hand.  It will keep at least a week in the fridge.  This dressing can be quite sharp, and as you know, The Latin Lover isn’t a fan of sharp.  So, I simply drizzled some honey over his portion and he loved it!

For the base, I like to use iceberg lettuce for taco salads.  But, I also like to toss in some additional greens, scallions and fresh herbs…garlic chives, oregano and mint.  I would absolutely have added cilantro, but I didn’t have any and the cilantro I planted isn’t big enough to use yet…soon.   This, by the way, is my go-to basic salad.  The herbs and lettuce change, depending on what I have and what flavors I want.

We like to have some salsa, with our taco salads.  I had some homemade, from a couple of days ago, but purchased is good, too.

Now that you have the components, layer away!  Even though I listed avocado as an ingredient, I didn’t use one.  Mine will be perfect tomorrow and I slice no avocado before its time!

This is almost a pantry dinner, as you can used canned black, kidney, or pinto beans,  frozen or canned whole kernel corn and a jar of sliced olives.  Also, if you want a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and increase the amount of legumes.

Cinco de Mayo Chicken Taco Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoons taco seasoning or chile powder
  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon good quality chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh garlic (about 1 large clove)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salad:
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped lettuce (I use iceberg and Romaine)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives (I prefer garlic chives)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3-4 fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (include some of the green part)
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn (I used cooked frozen)
  • 1/2 can drained black beans, kidney or pinto beans
  • 4 Little Sweetie® peppers, sliced
  • Shredded cotija or sharp cheddar cheese (which I forgot!)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 oranges, skin and pith removed, cut into sections
  • 1 ripe, but firm avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Slice green, pimento stuffed olives
  • For service:
  • Salsa
  • Corn chips (we like Fritos®)

Combine the chicken and seasoning; toss to coat.  Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or longer.

Stir the dressing ingredients together, until thoroughly combined.  Set aside, or cover and chill.  This can be doubled or tripled and refrigerated.  Will keep for at least 1 week.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl; toss the lettuces, fresh herbs and the scallions.  Toss…this can be done earlier in the day; cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Divide the lettuce mixture evenly between two large plates or bowls.  Sprinkle with the corn, beans, peppers, shredded cheese, seasoned chicken, tomatoes, avocado and orange sections.  Drizzle with some of the creamy dressing and/or salsa.  Serve with corn chips on the side (or place them under the lettuce at the bottom of the bowl).  Serve immediately.

Cinco de Mayo Chicken Taco Salad Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020.  All rights reserved.