I don't mean to toot my own horn but I make some tasty salads. I eat them regularly so I have to make sure they're delicious enough for me to keep eating them. It can be difficult to come up with a new combination of ingredients every time. But when I do find the perfect match, I make sure to write it down and share it with you all. Today's chipotle ranch chicken salad is a flavorful balanced salad with a myriad of textures. It's loaded with grilled chicken, sweet corn and green beans, creamy avocado, and even pickled pepperoncini. Finish the salad with a chipotle ranch dressing and you have one winning meal.
Chipotle Ranch Chicken Salad
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt plain
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup fresh dill
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley
- 1 canned chipotle pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- juice of ½ lime
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb chicken breast or thighs skinless, boneless
- 6 ounces green beans trimmed
- 2 cups corn kernels
- 1 large romaine lettuce chopped
- 2 avocado pit removed, chopped
- 2 medium shallots thinly sliced
- ¼ cup sliced pepperoncini
- ½ cup crumbled cotija
- Make chipotle ranch dressing. In a blender combine all ingredients for dressing including yogurt, buttermilk, dill, parsley, chipotle, garlic, onion powder, and lime juice. Puree until smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Reserve half of the dressing and set aside.
- Pour remaining dressing over chicken, tossing to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare remaining salad ingredients. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and cook for 2 minutes. Add corn and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and immediately shock green beans and corn in ice water. Drain and set aside.
- Heat grill to medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook until juices run clear, about 5 minutes. Season chicken with salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks.
- Portion chopped romaine into 4 bowls. Top with green beans, corn, avocado, sliced shallots, pepperoncini, and chicken. Sprinkle cotija on top and serve with reserved chipotle ranch dressing.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
A lot of the time, I feel like the salad dressing is what makes a salad delicious. It's what adds most of the flavor. But in this instance with my chipotle ranch chicken salad, everything plays a role and the dressing helps complement each component.
I'm not a big fan of mayo-based dressings so to keep this ranch on the lighter side, I used yogurt as the base. You can use mayonnaise and sour cream for a richer dressing but I found that this version still did the job.
Blend together all of the ingredients including plain Greek yogurt, buttermilk, fresh herbs, chipotle, garlic, onion powder, and lime juice. This dressing is fairly spicy with just one chipotle but you can bump it up to 2 if you like. If you want a milder version, use 1 tablespoon of the canned adobo sauce instead of the actual chile.
Feel free to prepare the dressing the day before or up to 5 days in advance.
Now we're going to use half of the dressing to marinate the chicken and reserve the other half for the actual salad.
You can use chicken breast or thighs, just make sure that it's boneless and skinless. Shrimp, beef, pork tenderloin, salmon, and even tofu would all be great substitutes as well.
Since it's the summer, I chose to grill my chicken; however, you can use any cooking method you prefer.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the chipotle ranch chicken salad ingredients. Blanch green beans for 2 means or until almost done. Then, add the corn and cook for another minute. If fresh corn isn't available, use canned or frozen instead.
Chop fresh romaine lettuce, thinly slice pepperoncini and shallots, prepare the avocado, and crumble the cotija.
Assemble the salads by portioning the lettuce into 4 bowls and arranging the toppings on top. I prefer to chop the chicken into bite-size pieces to make it easier to eat. Serve the salad with chipotle ranch and dig in!
I absolutely loved every bite of this chipotle ranch chicken salad. It's a simple salad but the combination of ingredients is pure magic. Meal prep this salad at the beginning of the week and you'll be happy to enjoy this all week long!
For more salad inspiration check out this grilled apricot couscous salad!