This Mexican chopped salad is topped with juicy chicken, sweet corn, avocado, tomato, and roasted red pepper then tossed with a smokey creamy poblano dressing for a colorful fiesta in a bowl. If you’re looking to spice up your dinner options this salad is it!
Want more amped-up salad recipes? Try out my BBQ Chicken Salad with a Cilantro Lime Dressing, Blackened Grilled Salmon Salad or my Asian Chicken Salad with a Sesame Dressing.
Easy Mexican Chopped Salad
Served chilled with a homemade poblano dressing, this Mexican chopped salad is packed with black beans, peppers, and tender chicken for a 35-minute protein-filled meal. Cooked on the grill with little oil, the roasted veggies make every bite extra healthy.
Seasoned with ancho chile powder, paprika, and cumin, every slice of golden chicken is coated in a sweet and mildly smokey layer of flavor. Paired with the crunchiness from the onions and the burst of juiciness from the cherry tomatoes, it’s the tiny pepitas that bring everything together with the perfect amount of nuttiness.
Made fresh or in advance, this chopped salad recipe is a quick solution for your weeknight dinners even with the dressing. Topped with creamy avocado, you’ll be getting through entire bowls of it as quickly as you can make it.
Why You’ll Love This Salad Recipe
This recipe will substitute your regular salad in no time. It’s super yummy and requires very little effort.
- Quick. It’s ready in about half an hour, making it the perfect lunch or dinner for the week even if you’re preparing it on the spot.
- Fresh. Served straight out of the fridge and packed with crunchy veggies, this is an ideal summer salad if you’re craving something light and fresh.
- Healthy. The simple homemade dressing automatically makes this salad way healthier than anything you can find at restaurants.
- Easy. All you need to do is blend the dressing, grill the chicken, and toss it all together.
What Is A Chopped Salad?
Chopped salads, like this one, get their name from all of their finely chopped vegetables like lettuce, onions, and bell peppers. They can contain any number of other veggies like carrots, corn, or cucumbers as long as everything is cut into small pieces. This makes each spoonful (or forkful) a lot more bite-sized and easy to eat. Possible add-ins include croutons, almonds, seeds, etc. They can be served with a dressing but it’s not necessary.
Time to hit the spice cabinet and use lots of fresh veggies! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.
To Prepare the Chicken
- Chicken breast
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika – Use your favorite kind.
- Dried cilantro
- Ancho chili powder – Check the Tips section for a quick how-to on homemade chili powder.
- Black pepper
- Sea salt
For the Salad
- Olive oil – Don’t use corn, canola, or vegetable oil.
- Red onion
- Red pepper – Any color of bell pepper works.
- Corn – Canned corn is a great swap but you won’t be able to grill it.
- Lettuce – I love Romaine lettuce for this.
- Green onions
- Cherry tomatoes
- Black beans – Feel free to use homemade or canned.
To Make the Dressing
- Fresh cilantro
- Raw poblanos
- Olive oil
- Lime juice – Lemon juice works too.
- Red wine vinegar – Feel free to use apple cider vinegar instead.
- Honey – Raw honey or agave syrup are best. Please don’t use maple syrup.
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic – Don’t use garlic powder for this.
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Mexican Chopped Salad
Depending on what your week looks like, you can prepare all of the components to this chicken chopped salad with smokey poblano dressing fresh or in advance. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.
- Make the dressing. Blend the cilantro and poblano until finely chopped. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and process until smooth and emulsified (the oil and vinegar shouldn’t be separated). Set it aside.
- Prepare the chicken. Heat the grill to medium-high. Whisk the spices, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until well combined. Pat the chicken dry on all sides with a paper towel. Rub it with the spice mix.
- Grill the veggies and chicken. Drizzle olive oil over the red onion, pepper, and corn. Place the veggies and seasoned chicken on the grill. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side and the veggies for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove them from the grill and set them aside to rest for 5 minutes before slicing the chicken.
- Chop the veggies. Use a knife to cut the red pepper and onion into small pieces. Cut corn from the cob.
- Toss the salad. Add the chopped lettuce, kale, roasted veggies, green onions, cherry tomatoes, black beans, pepitas, avocado, and sliced chicken to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Serve with poblano dressing on the side.
Tips & Variations
This section is all about making your life easier while making this chopped salad recipe a lot simpler to prepare.
- Use spinach. Change things up by switching the kale for spinach or your favorite salad mix.
- Make homemade chili powder. Toast the ancho chiles until lightly charred on all sides. Remove the seeds and stems. Blend the chiles until you get a fine powder and sieve it to remove any large pieces. Use the powder as homemade ancho chile powder. Store any leftovers in an airtight container away from any humidity.
- Swap the protein. Grilled shrimp or turkey make amazing swaps for chicken in this recipe.
- Frozen poblanos. Make sure they’re completely thawed and well-drained, but you can definitely use them instead of fresh poblanos.
This Mexican chopped salad is the perfect main dish because it’s packed with protein from the chicken and beans, plus lots of nutrients from the veggies. Served in smaller portions, it makes the perfect side dish for any of my taco recipes. Try my Steak Street Tacos, Pork Carnitas Tacos, or Chicken Street Tacos for inspiration.
Can Chicken Chopped Salad Be Assembled In Advance?
Absolutely! Chop the veggies in up to 3 days in advance and make the dressing up to 4 days in advance. Don’t cook the chicken or toss the salad until right before serving. This is so that the chicken is nice and juicy and the veggies stay crunchy.
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Store the salad and dressing separately if possible. Keep them away from heat and sunlight when on the counter for serving. Serve it straight out of the fridge or at room temperature.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
This Mexican chopped salad is topped with juicy chicken, sweet corn, avocado, tomato, and roasted red pepper then tossed with a smokey creamy poblano dressing for a colorful fiesta in a bowl.
Chipotle Chicken Breast:
- 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dry cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 red pepper
- 2 ears of corn
- 4 cups finely chopped romaine
- 2 cups finely chopped kale
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 2 avocados, sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup roughly chopped raw poblanos
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 garlic clove
- salt & pepper to taste
- To make the dressing, add fresh cilantro and poblano to a food processor. Blend until finely chopped. Next add olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, honey, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic clove, salt and pepper. Blend until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. (meaning there is no oil and vinegar separation) Set aside.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat, about 350-400°F.
- Add garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, dry cilantro, ancho chili powder, black pepper, and sea salt to a small bowl. Mix together.
- Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel and season both sides of the chicken with your spice rub.
- Drizzle olive oil over red onion slices, red pepper and corn. Rub the oil into each vegetable.
- Place seasoned chicken breasts on the grill as well as vegetables.
- Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Grill the vegetables for 4-5 minutes per side until they are slightly charred. Remove from grill. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes to let juices redistribute then slice.
- Chop the red pepper and red onion into small pieces. Cut corn from the cob.
- Add chopped romaine lettuce, chopped kale, roasted vegetables, sliced green onions, cherry tomatoes, black beans, pepitas, sliced avocado and sliced chicken breast to a large bowl.
- Toss the salad together. Serve with poblano dressing on the side.
- Serving Size: 2 cups
- Calories: 339
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 305 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 23 g
- Cholesterol: 43 mg
Keywords: Mexican chopped salad, chicken chopped salad, chopped salad recipe
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