Salads taste so much better in the summer. There is a crunchy coolness to them that is perfect for evening meals on a hot day. My favorite salad recipes are the ones that work as a whole meal. I have a few different taco salad combinations that I like to use. The Mexican Chopped Salad and the Baja Chicken Salad are good options, but I played around with a new layered chicken taco salad recipe this weekend while my mom was visiting. I made a version that serves a group in a trifle dish, and I also tested it out in Mason jars to make single servings to take to school for school teacher lunches. It was a hit both ways.
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce chopped (or amount needed for number of people serving)
- ~3 c. chopped fresh spinach (or amount needed for number of people serving)
- 1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (11-oz) can white shoepeg corn, rinsed and drained (or any type of canned corn)
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2 c. cooked chicken, diced (I used 2 roasted chicken breasts)
- 1-2 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 T. fresh cilantro chopped
- ~3/4 c. salsa
- ~1/2 c. ranch salad dressing (or dressing of your choice)
- tortilla chips, ( ~1/2 c. broken into smaller pieces)
Directions for Assembling in a Trifle Dish
- Sprinkle black beans on the bottom layer of the trifle dish. You might not use the whole can. Add the amount of beans you like.
- Mix the chopped Romaine and spinach together in a separate bowl. Add half of the lettuce mixture on top of the black beans.
- Sprinkle a layer of corn on top of the lettuce.
- Sprinkle cherry tomato pieces on top of the corn.
- Add the chicken.
- Cover the chicken with the remaining lettuce.
- Drizzle ranch salad dressing over the top layer of lettuce. I like a light salad dressing layer.
- Cover dressing with a layer of cheese.
- Spoon desired amount of salsa in the center of the trifle dish on top of the cheese.
- Sprinkle green onions and cilantro over the salsa. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips around the edges. Sprinkle a little more cilantro in the center for garnish.
- Offer additional whole tortilla chips, salad dressing, and salsa on the side.
Directions for Assembling in a Mason Jar
- Spoon ~1 T. ranch dressing in the bottom of the jar.
- Add ~2 T. black beans.
- Add a layer of lettuce followed by corn, tomatoes, chicken pieces and another layer of lettuce. Do not overfill.
- Sprinkle the top with cheese, green onions, and cilantro.
- Put one spoonful of salsa on the top, add the lid and tighten.
- To eat, pour salad into a bowl or out on a plate, so the dressing on the bottom will drizzle over the top. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.
- You do not need exact ingredient amounts. Use amounts you need for the number of people you are serving. 2 heads of Romaine lettuce and 3 c. of spinach will serve 5-6 adults.
- You can add/delete any toppings. I think diced red pepper would be a good addition and possibly seeded and diced cucumber.