Mexican Chicken Salad

This is my favorite kind of salad because it has so many ingredients—and each with a different texture, from the creamy avocado to the crispy homemade tortilla chips. I have cheated here by using leftover or rotisserie chicken. It would work just as well with leftover pork, shrimp, or beef. And if you really want to speed up the recipe, here’s another cheat: Swap store-bought tortilla chips for the homemade kind.

Makes 4 to 6 Servings
Hands-on Time 15 minutes
Total preparation time 25 minutes

1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
Four 6- or 7-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup packed, rinsed, and dried fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce*
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small head Romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)
2 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1 Hass avocado, cut into cubes
One 14 1/2- or 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 large plum tomatoes, chopped
4 ounces crumbled queso fresco or soft goat (about 1/2 cup) or coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stir together 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, the chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Brush one side of each tortilla with the mixture and cut each tortilla into 12 wedges. Arrange the wedges in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp.

Puree the remaining 1/2 cup oil, the cilantro, lime juice, chipotle and adobo sauce, and sugar in a blender; add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the cilantro dressing to a large bowl. Add the romaine, chicken, avocado, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese to the cilantro dressing and toss well. Divide the mixture among 4 bowls; top each with some of the tortilla chips.

*You can freeze the remaining chipotles in an ice cube tray (preferably metal, because plastic might pick up the heat from the chiles). Put one chipotle into each slot with a little sauce, let them freeze completely, then pop out the cubes and put them into a resealable plastic bag.
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