Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Salad

Ingredients (30)

For the chicken:

  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the cumin dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the sour cream dressing:

  • 1 cup sour cream (8 ounces)
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

For the salad:

  • 1 cup white or yellow corn kernels, cut from the cob (from about 1 ear)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 cup dried, cooked black beans (see Game Plan note)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 medium avocado, large dice
  • 1 medium Roma tomato, medium dice
  • 3/4 cup red onion, small dice (from about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (from about 1/2 bunch), white and light green parts only
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips
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We’re all familiar with the ugly Salad Hall of Shame version of this dish, but now it’s time to try a delicious rendition. We did away with the funky canned ingredients and greasy fried shell and opted for fresh corn, avocado, and tomato and a cumin-flavored Tex-Mex dressing.

What to buy: Pick up a full-sized (17-ounce) bag of tortilla chips so you’ll have enough to serve with the salad and extra to scoop up any leftover sour cream dressing. (Of course, don’t forget the mojito ingredients, too!)

Game plan: The chicken can be cooked, shredded, and refrigerated up to a day in advance. For a slacker solution, use the meat from half of a precooked rotisserie chicken (or about 3 cups of meat).

Both the cumin and sour cream dressings can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

If you’re making the black beans from scratch, you’ll need to do start two days ahead in order to soak the beans overnight before cooking.

Tips for Chicken


For the chicken:
  1. 1Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rub the chicken on both sides with the oil and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook until the chicken registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the breasts from the baking sheet to a cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
  2. 2When the chicken is ready, remove the meat from the bone, discarding the skin, cartilage, and fat. Tear into bite-sized pieces, transfer to a medium container or bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cumin dressing:

  1. 1Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a medium, nonreactive bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously, until all of it is incorporated. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sour cream dressing:

  1. 1Place all of the ingredients in a small, nonreactive bowl and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad:

  1. 1Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking, about 10 minutes. Scatter the corn kernels in the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. 2Add the cooked chicken, romaine lettuce, black beans, cheese, avocado, tomato, and red onion to the bowl. Drizzle in all of the cumin dressing and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with the scallions and crushed tortilla chips and serve with the sour cream dressing passed on the side.
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