This easy taco salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, juicy chicken, tomatoes, fresh shredded cheese, red peppers, and so much more!

It’s the perfect flexible meal, and it makes the ultimate light but flavorful effortless lunch or easy weeknight dinner. 

taco salad in tortilla bowl with gold utensils
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I love soup and casseroles in the winter, but when the weather starts to warm I find myself craving meals that are light and fresh.

I also start looking for ways to simplify our meals to make dinner at home feel more appealing and less like a chore. I’m drawn to spend more time outside enjoying the warm weather with my family, not inside working in a hot kitchen.

This taco salad recipe fits the bill. It is the perfect combination of light, fresh, quick, and easy – all to make a delicious salad that everyone will love.

Talking about quick and easy, I make this baked chicken breast early in the week, then use it in meals all week long. It’s a huge timesaver and makes throwing together this salad a breeze!

A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

Try the recipe the next time you bake chicken – you’ll love it! It delivers delicious, tender chicken that you can serve on its own or shred to use in meals like taco salad, chicken tacos, chicken nachos, chicken enchiladas, and creamy chicken pasta with Cajun sauce.

This taco salad is hearty enough to hold its own as a main dish, but it can also be served as a satisfying side dish.

A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

Taco Salad Recipe

This is the perfect summer recipe for a family meal or an impromptu get together with friends. It is easy to prepare and light to eat. The flavors are so fresh and satisfying!

Why You’ll Love It

  • Fast – It comes together so quickly. You can throw it all together in less than 30 minutes start to finish. And if you have leftover protein, this salad is on the table in under 10 minutes!
  • Flexible – This is such a great family meal because everyone can customize with their own toppings. It’s great for entertaining, too!
  • Fun – Serving taco salad in a tortilla bowl definitely ups its appeal. There’s just something so fun about eating out of a taco bowl, don’t you think?
A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

Ingredients and Substitutions

See printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  • Chicken Breasts – fresh or frozen, thaw before baking
  • Olive Oil – You can also add (or sub with) Lime Juice for flavor and to help seasoning stick
  • Fajita Seasoning – for that delicious Tex Mex flavor
  • Taco Bowl Shell – You can also purchase premade taco boats – just bake for a few minutes and they’re ready to go!
  • Toppings – See below for our complete guide of suggested toppings!

How to Make

An overview, visit the printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  1. Preheat oven as directed.
  2. Lightly coat chicken in olive oil or lime juice. Sprinkle both sides with fajita seasoning. 
  3. Bake until juices run clear, as directed. Remove from oven and allow to rest, as it will continue cooking. Slice or shred to serve.
taco salad in tortilla bowl with gold utensils

Variations

There are several required components for a taco salad, and lots that are totally up to you! Here’s my favorite necessities, with many more ideas for toppings as you scroll.

A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

How to Layer a Taco Salad

  1. Cook chicken and chop lettuce and vegetables.
  2. Make your taco bowl. Two bowls with tortillas folded into them to bake into taco salad bowls. A taco salad bowl on a white plate.
  3. Fill with a bed of lettuce and top with fresh vegetables. taco salad in tortilla bowl with gold utensils
  4. Top with cheese, sour cream, salsa or salad dressing – like this incredible ranch dressing – plus chicken or your choice of meat. taco salad in tortilla bowl with gold utensils

Tips

  • As always, fresh grate your cheese – it makes a world of difference!
  • Try a variety of toppings for a flavor combo that is out of this world.
  • If you’re eating low carb, skip the taco bowl and use a base of lettuce or sautéed peppers for a delicious option.
A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

Serving Suggestions

The beauty of taco salad is that everyone can tailor it to suit personal taste. Family and friends can serve it with all the toppings or just pick and choose their favorites.

This salad is so easy to customize! Serve it with any of the following toppings, and see our Taco Toppings guide for even more suggestions.

A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is taco salad healthy?

Like a lot of our favorite foods, the answer depends on what we put in the taco salad! This chicken taco salad recipe is made with baked chicken and packed with fresh veggies, so it’s not only delicious, it’s light too!

If you’re on a lower carb diet, it’s important to eliminate the tortilla bowl or choose a low carb version.

What goes with taco salad?

If you serve it as an entrée, simply include all of the food groups to make it a stand alone meal. That includes your meat of choice. If serving as a salad or side dish, I like to serve it with chicken or tacos.

A chicken taco salad in a homemade tortilla bowl on a white plate.

More Tex Mex Inspiration

A chicken taco salad on a white surface, gold silverware and cilantro to the side.
5 from 1 vote

Taco Salad

This Taco Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, juicy chicken, tomatoes, fresh shredded cheese, red peppers, and optional cilantro and red onion for a light but flavorful, effortless lunch or easy weeknight dinner. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

  • 4 taco bowls prepared
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or squeeze of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning
  • 4 cups lettuce chopped
  • 1 cup tomato chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper chopped
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese shredded
  • ½ cup red onion chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped {optional}
  • ½ cup sour cream {optional}

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  • Lightly coat chicken in olive oil or lime juice,. Sprinkle both sides with fajita seasoning. 
  • Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes – it will continue cooking. Slice or shred to serve.
  • Fill taco salad bowls with toppings and chicken or your choice of meat.
  • Toss to serve.

Julie’s Tips

Additional optional ingredients include: avocado, cilantro, beans, corn, pico de gallo, salsa, or salad dressing.
Learn how to make taco bowls with flour or corn tortillas here.
Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 524mg | Potassium: 878mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1880IU | Vitamin C: 34.2mg | Calcium: 419mg | Iron: 4.9mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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Don’t forget, if you try this easy recipe, please come back to let me know what you think using my 5 star rating system, I always appreciate it and know readers do, too!

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