I made us more salad!

Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips I howsweeteats.com

More CHOPPED salad, to be exact. My favorite kind. Everything is in little bits and oh-so cute.  

However… if you came over for lunch, I doubt I’d ever make salad because entertaining people is the perfect excuse to eat something rich and delicious. Calories don’t count when eaten with friends. I’m thinking pizza.

Yes, pizza.

Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips I howsweeteats.com

If you haven’t figured it out already, this is sort of my copycat version of Chili’s quesadilla explosion salad, which I haven’t had in eons but used to loooooove. I mean, I was eating that back in the day long before I was consuming vegetables, which makes perfect sense since it now always tops the lists of those “highest calorie foods” and “things to avoid at chain restaurants” and [insert scary music here] “salads that aren’t what they seem.” Whatever. That’s why it was so good.

I used to love going to Chili’s for the chips and salsa but three or four years ago, after driving around for an hour and not really knowing what we wanted to eat (know that feeling?), my husband and I ended up there and had one of the worst meals of our lives. Which rarely happens because surprisingly, I am not a high-maintenance restaurant eater. Unless it’s at brunch.

So we haven’t been back since and more than once I have wanted one of those salads. Mainly for the quesadillas. Of course.

Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips I howsweeteats.com

Also, don’t listen to me, because this isn’t a copycat version at all, it’s just my version. You know I like to make stuff up.

There are a ton of ingredients here, but I find they are all pretty necessary and “a ton” does not always equal “time consuming.” You’re gonna marinate you’re chicken overnight (or not), add your salad junk together, toss in a little dressing and crush tortilla chips over top.

Now we are best friends. Right?

Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips I howsweeteats.com


Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips

Yield: serves 2

Total Time: 30 minutes


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 whole wheat tortillas
4 ounces monterey jack cheese, freshly grated

4 cups butter lettuce, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
2/3 cup sweet corn
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive olive
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
a few tortilla chips, crushed


The night before (or a few hours before) combine cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add chicken to a large ziplock bag or baking dish and cover with olive oil and lime juice, then add in garlic. Sprinkle seasoning over top and marinate in the fridge for 2-24 hours.

When ready to make the salads, heat a large skillet over medium-heat heat and add a little olive oil. Sear chicken both sides then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through. Additionally you can bake or grill the chicken - whichever you prefer! Once chicken is finished, let cool for a few minutes and then cut into chunks.

While the chicken is cooling, add a tortilla to the same skillet (add a little olive oil or butter if you'd like, then add the grated cheese and the second tortilla on top. Cook until both sides are golden and cheese is melted, then remove from the skillet and slice into strips.

To make the salads, combine lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, corn and onion in a large bowl, then toss with the salt and pepper. Add olive oil, red wine vinegar and lime juice, tossing well to coat. Add in chicken and toss well, then separate on to two plates or bowls. Add crushed tortilla chips on top and quesadilla slices.

Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips I howsweeteats.com

Thought so.

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100 Responses to “Chopped Chicken Taco Salads with Cheese Quesadilla Strips.”

  1. #
    Jenna — June 12, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    That shot of the cheesy quesadillas – want now! Going to make this on the weekend, my husband will totally think it’s healthy too… haha


  2. #
    Sophie — June 12, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    You had me at cheese quesadilla strips. Now every time I make a salad I’m going to come up with an excuse to make quesadilla strips. genius.


  3. #
    Luv What You Do — June 12, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

    This salad looks restaurant worthy! YUM!!!


  4. #
    Lauren @ Dallas Duo Bakes — June 12, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

    I LOVE taco salad! I’ve never made one with chicken though, and yours looks delicious!!


  5. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — June 12, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

    Fantastic-looking salad!


  6. #
    Patrice — June 13, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    The salad was a huge hit! I made it last night and everyone in the family loved it. They all loved the flavor of the chicken!


  7. #
    nessa — June 13, 2013 @ 7:09 am

    I’ll have to try this!


  8. #
    Kelly Jo — June 13, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    I used to work at Chili’s and that salad was my favorite! So glad you made your own version, can’t wait to eat this.


  9. #
    Alyssa — June 13, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    That looks like a very filling salad! Well done!


  10. #
    Angela @ another bite please — June 13, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    quesadilla strips on a salad….yes…and I am such a brunch snob picky person.


  11. #
    Chels R. — June 13, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

    Loving this right now!!!


  12. #
    Kate — June 13, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

    You are some kind of genius !


  13. #
    Laurie E. — June 17, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    Eh, I could take or leave Chili’s. I do love their mango margarhitas though.


  14. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — June 18, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

    Oh my! I love taco salads so much and this one just looks packed full of delicious flavors :)


  15. #
    Rae — June 19, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

    Tried this tonight with what I had on hand. My reaction is… eh, it was ok. Didn’t taste bad though.


  16. #
    Amazing hair loss treatment — July 31, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    Awesome website listed here! Likewise your internet site loads right up very quickly! Exactly what coordinator will you be using? Can I get your affiliate marketing hyperlink in your host? I would like this site filled up as speedily because your own house lol


  17. #
    Nubia — July 21, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

    I just wanted to say that I have made this salad like ten times since last summer (no joke) and it’s so good every time! Thanks for sharing. Also, completely unsolicited suggestion: have you tried switching the monterrey jack with Chihuahua cheese? It doesn’t have the same kick as the monterrey, but it’s more of a traditional quesadilla cheese and it’s SO gooey!



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