Kelly’s Cilantro Lime Chipotle Adobo Chicken Salad

Kelly’s Cilantro Lime Chipotle Adobo Chicken Salad

This delicious salad is so refreshing, easy and adds a slightly healthier twist to this fabulous cilantro lime chipotle adobo chicken salad.  Bright and colorful veggies are paired with juicy chicken all smothered in a creamy, smoky, tangy dressing to make this the perfect healthy and refreshing yummy salad! 

Inspiration and thoughts

This salad is so good!  Yes it’s fall and it’s cooling down a bit and everyone wants something nice and warm, but does anyone ever really not crave a delicious and refreshing salad every once in awhile?  Nope. 

This fabulous recipe was inspired by my sister, Kelly, who not only loves salads, but especially any salad that resembles anything similar to a taco (should I rename this Kelly’s deconstructed taco salad?).  Kelly loves tacos, and that is putting it lightly. But would Kelly make her own tacos at home instead of going to her favorite local taco spot?  No.  Would she make a taco salad resembling a taco?  More likely!

For this salad, with Kelly in mind, I wanted to make a fresh and delicious salad that is easy to whip up but has a ton of flavor.  The chipotle adobo lime ranch dressing really adds a great smoky, creamy tang to the salad and is so good.  Hope you love it as much as I do!

salad ingredients side view

How it’s made, notes:

Start with the chipotle adobo lime ranch dressing first.  Mix everything together in a small bowl until all of the ingredients are combined nicely.  You can adjust the salt, pepper and lime to your liking.  I also have a few notes on the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  If you’ve ever bought these canned from the grocery store, the peppers come smothered in the delicious adobo sauce.  I actually prefer to use mostly the adobo sauce and only a small pepper or two from the can.  I finely chop the pepper, try to remove most of the seeds, and then add in the sauce for the 3-4 tablespoons that you’ll need.   If you like a really spicy dressing, definitely add more of the chipotle peppers.    

I also used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream with just a bit of mayo, to keep it healthier.  You can definitely substitute sour cream for the Greek yogurt and add more mayo if you prefer, I just like to sub Greek yogurt in when I can because I love it so much. 

salad image on plate

Set the dressing aside and cook the chicken tenders.  Remember to salt and pepper them before you add them to the hot pan.  Cook time will differ based on the size of your tenders, but these don’t take too long to cook and are easy to over cook, so keep an eye on them.  You can also use chicken breasts if you prefer or have those on hand.  After the tenders are done cooking, let them rest a bit and cut them into bit sized pieces. 

Lastly, cut up the green onions, cabbage, cilantro, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and wash and drain the corn.  I used canned corn, which is why I made sure it’s clean and dry, but if you use fresh that’s great too!   Add all of these into a big bowl or plate, add the chicken, and toss generously with the dressing.  You can also serve the dressing on the side and add less or more to your liking – I just love this dressing so I like a lot of it on there!  Garnish with extra cilantro, shredded cheese and lime wedges.  Enjoy!

cilantro lime chicken chipotle salad on plate

Kelly's Cilantro Lime Chipotle Adobo Chicken Salad

This delicious salad is so refreshing, easy and adds a slightly healthier twist to this fabulous cilantro lime chipotle adobo chicken salad.  Bright and colorful veggies are paired with juicy chicken all smothered in a creamy, smoky, tangy dressing to make this the perfect healthy and refreshing yummy salad! 
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, Salad
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 8 ounces chopped red cabbage
  • 1 avocado sliced into pieces
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups corn
  • 3-4 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 green onions finely chopped

Chicken

  • 6-8 chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Chipotle Adobo Lime Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup cilantro + optional extra for garnish finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt you can also use sour cream (see notes!)
  • juice of 3 limes adjust this to your liking
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce finely chopped or just use the adobo sauce that the peppers are in; adjust to your liking; (see notes!)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

Optional Garnishes

  • lime wedges, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese

Instructions
 

Make the Lime Cilantro Chipotle Dressing

  • Add all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside.

Cook the chicken

  • Season the chicken tenders with a salt and pepper. Heat up the olive oil in a medium sized skillet on medium high heat. When it is nice and hot add the chicken tenders. Cook 5-6 minutes on each size (see notes) until nice and browned and completely cooked through. Set aside.

Chop the veggies and Serve!

  • Chop the cherry tomatoes, green onion, radishes and avocado.
  • To serve, add the red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, corn, green onion, radishes and cheese to a large plate or bowl. Chop the chicken tenders into bite-sized pieces and add them to the salad. Pour the cilantro lime chipotle dressing generously over the top of everything and mix together. You can also serve with the dressing on the side and add more or less to your taste. Top with the avocado, extra shredded cheese, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish. Serves as 2 large main salads or 4 as a side dish. Enjoy!

Notes

I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and additional mayo to make it a bit healthier.  If you don't prefer this, feel free to substitute sour cream for the Greek yogurt.  
For the lime and chipotle peppers in the dressing:  depending on your limes and liking of spiciness, the amount of both of these ingredients is depending on your taste, so feel free to add more or less lime or chipotle peppers!  For the peppers, they come in a small can in adobo sauce.  I actually prefer to use just the adobo sauce with a small bit of peppers with it and not just all peppers, but if you like it spicy add more pepper than sauce!  I also prefer to remove the seeds - but again, adjust to your liking.  
You may need to alter the cook time on the chicken depending on how large or small you tenders are.  You can also use chicken breasts instead of tenders if you prefer or have those on hand.  
Keyword chicken, chipotle, cilantro, dressing, easy, healthy, lime, quick, refreshing, salad


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