Gluten-free Crunch Lover’s Chopped Chicken Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette is a fresh and filling salad that’s full of satisfying crunch!
Attention all crunch lovers: your Chopped Chicken Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette is calling!
Oh my gosh, have you seen the ecard that’s floating around – “I love you until you start eating“? Story of my life. Hearing chewing noises is akin to licking cloth on the shudder scale in my book. Which is weird because I LOVE crunching. To the point where I look up from my nightly bowl of chips and Ben’s pale. I never crunch out loud in public of course, I’ve got more self awareness than that, but sometimes at home I just can’t help myself!
Anyway, in case you overindulged in food, drinks or both this past holiday weekend, I’ve got a healthy salad recipe for you to get back on track, that tastes anything but.
You’ll love the combo of a convenient, store-bought chopped lettuce blend that’s tossed with crispy toppings like cucumber, apple, green onion, homemade crunchies, and a to-die-for Chili-Lime Vinaigrette. Plus avocado. It’s the anti-crunch but I can’t stop putting it on, well, everything.
Normally in salads I eat all the lettuce first, saving the crunchy toppings for last as “dessert”, but in this salad every bite tastes like your last. Audibly crunchy and seriously delicious. It tasted way better than I thought it would as I wrote the recipe.
If you want a huge bowl of healthy that’s crunchy to the last drop, this salad’s for you!
Start with the crunchiest part of the chopped salad – DOLE Asian Blend chopped lettuce mix. I spied this ultra–crunchy combo of green cabbage, red cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, snap peas, and kale at the store last week and this salad almost immediately started coming together in my mind. The kale in there is what really sold me!
Add the salad to a big bowl (might want to do two batches if you don’t have a massive one,) then add 1 cup chopped cooked chicken. This is a great way to use leftover grilled, sauteed, or rotisserie chicken. I used leftover smoked chicken that Ben made on Memorial Day.
We were going to grill but at the last minute he decided to snag a couple chickens from Costco and smoke ’em low and slow for 5 hours, finishing with a BBQ glaze. OMG best thing to come out of his smoker EVER!
Toss in 1 small cucumber that’s been seeded and chopped next. I left the skin on because it’s not only good for you, but super crunchy too.
In goes 2 chopped green onions – crunchy and zesty.
And 3 Tablespoons chopped salted peanuts. Have you ever had chopped peanuts in your salads? Dynamite! You can totally taste them through all the other toppings, too. If you don’t like peanuts for whatever reason, use crunchy sliced almonds, pepitas, or pistachios instead.
I can’t have a salad without something crispy and sweet so in goes 1 chopped red apple.
Now this is a crunch-lovers salad, but nothing makes the crunch more fun than a creamy contrast so add 1 chopped avocado on top!
I decided to dress the Crunch Lover’s Chopped Chicken Salad with my favorite Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, as suggested by the salad bag. That’s just 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoons honey, the juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt and pepper added to a jar or bowl then shaken or whisked to combine. This dressing is a little sweet and a little smokey, and so easy to shake together real quick.
Drizzle as much of the dressing as you want over the salad then toss to coat.
Finally add the pièce de résistance – chili-lime crunchies! Oh yes, the same ones I used to top my Peppercorn-Crusted BBQ-Ranch Burgers. They are perfection in this salad and stay perfectly crunchy even after being tossed with the vinaigrette which echoes it’s mouthwatering flavor. The crunchies take just 10 minutes to prep and bake so don’t skip ’em.
After giving the salad one last toss to incorporate the chili-lime crunchies, scoop into a big bowl then dig in!
Crunch Lover’s Chopped Chicken Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette
Gluten-free Crunch Lover's Chopped Chicken Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette is a fresh and filling salad that's full of satisfying crunch!
- 12oz bag DOLE Chopped Asian Blend salad mix
- 1 cup cooked and cubed chicken breast
- 1 red apple, chopped
- 1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons salted peanuts, chopped
- 2 white corn tortillas, cut into 1/2″ strips lengthwise then cut in half
- extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lime
- chili powder and salt
- For the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette:
- 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees then add tortilla strips to a bowl. Mist or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray then drizzle with lime juice and season generously with chili powder and salt. Toss to coat then spread out on a baking sheet and bake until crunchy, 7-8 minutes, then set aside to cool. My tortillas did not turn golden brown so make sure you don’t over-bake and burn the strips.
- For the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette: combine ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients with the vinaigrette then toss to coat. Add baked tortilla strips then toss again and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
This salad is HUGE, so bring your love for crunching as well as your appetite. I know you’ll love each bite. Enjoy!