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Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

This Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe is a delicious and healthy meal option that combines juicy grilled chicken with fresh greens and a sweet and spicy jalapeno dressing. Perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner!

We love Southwest-inspired recipes. This hearty salad is a great example just like my Chipotle Chicken Tacos.

This Chipotle Chicken Salad post has been updated from 2018 to improve your reading experience. No changes were made to the recipe.

Angled view of a green salad topped with slices of chipotle grilled chicken, sliced avocado, shredded purple cabbage, diced tomato, grilled corn, and tortilla straws and then garnished with fresh cilantro. Fresh tomato and jalapenos sit in the background.

Taste the Perfection. Enjoy the flavors of our perfect Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe! In about 30 minutes, you can have a delicious, healthy meal!

Why You’ll Love This Chipotle Chicken Salad

Full of flavor. The adobo sauce marinade adds incredible depth of flavor to the chicken in this salad and I like to get a little chicken in every bite. It’s so tasty! The honey jalapeno dressing adds the perfect contrast. The flavors of this salad are crave-worthy.

A complete, one-dish meal. You won’t need anything else to complete this hearty salad, the grilled chicken salad recipe stands alone, fills you up, and hits all the right flavor notes for a one-dish meal.

This salad is perfect for dinner or a delicious lunch.

Guilt-Free Eating. Beautiful, fresh greens, crunchy vegetables, and protein make this a guilt-free meal with all the right ingredients for healthy eating. 

Side angle of a green salad topped with slices of chipotle grilled chicken, sliced avocado, shredded purple cabbage, diced tomato, grilled corn, and tortilla straws and then garnished with fresh cilantro being drizzled with dressing. A fresh tomato, jalapeno, and avocado sit in the background,

Equipment Needed to Make Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad

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Ingredients for your Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.
  • Lettuce Greens. I like a variety of lettuce varieties. Since this salad is topped with chipotle chicken, I use sturdier lettuce including Romaine, Ice Berg, and Green Leaf.
  • Fire Roasted Corn. I use frozen corn. If you use canned, be sure to drain it.
  • Red Cabbage. Besides adding a beautiful color, fresh cabbage adds a great crunch.
  • Red Pepper.
  • Avocado. A creamy sliced avocado has health benefits in addition to an amazing flavor.
  • Tomato. You can also use salsa or pico. I prefer freshly chopped tomatoes.
  • Cilantro. Buy a bundle of fresh herbs at your grocery store, rinse the leaves and break them off of the stems. Use the stems for the paste.
  • Chipotle Paste. Ingredients for this homemade paste are listed below.
  • Honey Jalapeno Dressing. Ingredients for this homemade salad dressing are listed below.
  • Tortilla Straws. Make homemade tortilla straws using raw tortillas, or crush tortilla chips to top your salad.

Chipotle Paste Ingredients

  • Chipotle Chilies in Adobo is available in the Mexican food section of my grocery store.
  • Olive Oil. Vegetable oil or canola is fine too.
  • Honey.
  • Onion.
  • Fresh Cilantro. I use the stems for the paste and the leaves for the salad
  • Chili Powder.
  • Ground Cumin.
  • Paprika.
  • Cayenne Pepper.
  • Mexican Oregano.
  • Garlic Powder.
  • Salt.
  • Ground Black Pepper.
  • Zest of 1 Lime. Optional.

Honey Jalepeno Dressing Ingredients

  • Lime Juice and Zest. The acid pairs beautifully with the cilantro.
  • Canola or vegetable oil. The fat.
  • Salt.
  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves and Stems. Flavor.
  • Honey. Sweetness.
  • Dijon Mustard. Tanginess and Flavor.
  • Jalapeno. A little heat.
  • Avocado. More fat and flavor.

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Top-down view of a green salad topped with slices of chipotle grilled chicken, sliced avocado, shredded purple cabbage, diced tomato, grilled corn, and tortilla straws and then garnished with fresh cilantro. A cut avocado sits in the foreground.

How to Make Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

Step 1: First, use a food processor to combine the ingredients in the chipotle paste. Rub it all over your chicken and marinate it for at least thirty minutes. Keep it in the refrigerator to marinate until you are ready to grill it.

Step 2: Next, combine the ingredients of the homemade dressing in a food processor, and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the salad. Brush the tortillas with oil or spray them with looking spray. Season them and then cut them into tortilla strips using a pizza cutter. Bake them until crisp. Once they are finished baking, grill your chicken. We use an outdoor grill but you can bake them on a grill pan.

Step 3: Assemble the various salad ingredients, rinsing the vegetables and chopping as needed. Toss to combine in a mixing bowl. Add chicken, dressing, and tortilla straws on top.

What to Serve with your Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad

Crusty bread or fresh, homemade flour tortillas would go great with this delicious salad. You can also pair this chicken chipotle salad with a bowl of Chili Con Carne or some juicy strawberries.

Substitutions and Additions

  • If you don’t have the ingredients for this amazing Honey Jalapeno Dressing, use any dressing you like that works with Chipotle flavors.
    • Salmon or shrimp can work in place of the chicken in this recipe, or you can even marinate rotisserie chicken, use leftover baked chicken breasts, and shredded chicken breasts.
    • Use your favorite vegetables. I often decide on my ingredients when I’m in the produce section of my grocery store.
    • Toppings may include black beans, sliced green onions, sour cream, and crispy bacon. We have onion in the adobe sauce, but finely diced red onion or pickled red onions would be delicious on this salad too.
    • As much as I love these tortilla strips, you can substitute them with croutons or how about baking up a Mexican Concha? Chopped cilantro or lime wedges can also be used as a garnish.
Partial front view of a green salad topped with slices of chipotle grilled chicken, sliced avocado, shredded purple cabbage, diced tomato, grilled corn, and tortilla straws and then garnished with fresh cilantro. A fresh tomato, jalapeno, and avocado sit in the background.

How to Store Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

Best Way to Store Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad.

This salad should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

How Long Will the Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe Last in the Fridge?

Covered, this salad will last for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze and Thaw the Chipotle Chicken Salad

You can grill and freeze the adobo chicken in bulk, and thaw it as needed to toss in a salad.

Chipotle Chicken Salad FAQ

Should I put the chicken on the grilled chicken salad recipe cold or hot?

This is really a matter of preference. If you prefer to have cold chicken on your salad, you can make and refrigerate the chicken the day before or at least a few hours before you want to eat it.

Can I add cheese to the chipotle chicken salad?

Yes. It would be lovely with cotija cheese, feta, or even a taco cheese blend. Just note, the more goodies you add the higher the calories.

Tips to Make the Perfect Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

Plan ahead. When I make a recipe, I try and repurpose extra ingredients in other recipes. So when I made my Chipotle Chicken Tacos, I created this Adobe paste that adds smoky heat to the dressing. 

This recipe only has 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in it. However, the little can of chipotle peppers that I use has about 12 peppers in it, so I make more of the adobo paste and freeze it in small containers to use on a salad or in other dishes later.

Don’t skip the Chipotle marinade. When I needed to add flavor to this chicken, I pulled one of my containers of chipotle paste out of the freezer and slathered it all over the chicken, and just left it in the refrigerator until we were ready to grill it. The first bite of this salad said I’d found exactly what this salad needed.

Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Chopped lettuce is so much easier to eat. I like using a sturdier lettuce variety so it doesn’t get weighed down by the ingredients. Iceberg, Romaine, Green Leaf, or a salad mix are good choices. Use your favorite salad greens.

Store the extra dressing in the fridge. This creamy dressing recipe yields more than what you need for 4 salads so make plenty. It’s delicious and would even make a great sauce for seafood!

I prefer to make tortilla straws with uncooked tortillas. The seasoning sticks to them and they bake up light and crispy.

Use fresh ingredients. Frozen peppers or other frozen veggies don’t provide that amazing crunch in this salad.

If you enjoy this recipe, you may like these too.

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

Close up of chipotle grilled chicken salad

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad

Author: Hostess At Heart
Chipotle Grilled Chicken salad has a Honey Jalapeno Dressing that makes this salad sweet and spicy.  It’s full of colors, textures, and delicious flavors.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword: Chipotle grilled chicken salad
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
 
 

Salad

  • 2 chicken breasts Skinless boneless
  • 8 cups lettuce Greens of your choice (I like green leaf)
  • 1 cup corn Fire roasted – I find mine in my grocers’ freezer section
  • 2 cups Red cabbage shredded
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • .75 avocado remaining 1/4 is used in the dressing
  • 1 tomato diced – you can also use salsa or pico
  • 1 bunch cilantro

Chipotle paste

  • 3 Chipotle Chilies in Adobo
  • 3 tbsp olive oil vegetable or canola is fine too
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 cup Fresh cilantro I use the stems for the paste and the leaves for salad
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lime optional

Honey Jalapeno Vinaigrette

  • 1 lime juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 jalapeno seeded
  • 1/4 avocado

Tortilla Straws or crushed tortilla chips

  • 2 Tortillas raw

Instructions
 

  • Combine chipotle paste ingredients and process in a blender or food processor until thick. Rub chicken thoroughly with paste. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to several hours. Refrigerate until grilling.
  • Combine Vinaigrette ingredients and process in a blender or food processor. Refrigerate until serving.

Tortilla Straws

  • Preheat oven to 450 °F. Spray both sides of each tortilla with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil. Sprinkle with chipotle chili powder and salt.
    Cut into strips (a pizza cutter works great). Place tortilla strips on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Grill Chicken and allow to cool slightly. Slice thinly.
  • Assemble salad ingredients. Top with grilled chicken and garnish with additional cilantro. Serve with vinaigrette and tortilla straws.
  • Store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes

This dressing recipe yields more than what you need for 4 salads so make plenty.  It’s delicious and would even make a great sauce for seafood!

Nutrition

Serving: 4gCalories: 692kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 31gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 1766mgPotassium: 1386mgFiber: 11gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 4391IUVitamin C: 92mgCalcium: 112mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Years ago salads served as entrees were rare if nonexistent. If only they had known about this grilled chicken salad recipe back then, we would all have been eating differently.

Boy, have times changed. I had no problem eating this beautiful salad for dinner. There are so many colorful veggies that kept me noshing until I couldn’t shove in another bite. I made a honey jalapeno dressing that had a sweet kick and it paired perfectly with the tender grilled chipotle chicken.

Nothing is missing in this salad except for guilt. I actually crave this salad and when I have a batch of the jalapeno dressing made I’ll eat this salad every day until it’s gone. 

3/4 angle of a salad topped with sliced chicken, corn, red cabbage, Cotija, avocado and tortilla straws.
Recipe Rating




Mindy

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

We love it! Even my husband who typically doesn't eat salads enjoyed this!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

That's a win! Thanks, Mindy.

Kathleen

Monday 18th of April 2022

So so delicious, loved the marinade flavors and that dressing! Oh my!!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of April 2022

Thank you, Kathleen!

Megan

Monday 18th of April 2022

Mmm! The extra step of making the chipotle paste is SO worth it!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of April 2022

I'm with you! Thank you, Megan!

Michaela Kenkel

Monday 18th of April 2022

We made this last summer and LOVED it! My hubs and I were just talking about what we are making when we get to FINALLY fire up the grill this week and THIS is on the top of the list!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of April 2022

Thank you! I've got to make it again too.

Susannah

Sunday 17th of April 2022

This is one of my most favorite recipes ever. Such a good salad for weekday lunch!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of April 2022

Thank you, Susannah, It's one of our favorites too.

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