Chicken Taco Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

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Admitting to grilled chicken night about once a week is not a sin because – it’s easy, there are great left-overs for a quick lunch, and It can always be turned into another dinner. Some dinners are more successful, like enchiladas, gumbo, and white chili. Grilled chicken potpie turned out to be kind of a loser and grilled chicken spaghetti was not met with friendly faces. So, it’s always a gamble when a new “left-over” tries out for a spot on the menu. However, there is one that never fails to please, in fact we like it so much that it’s always in demand after grilled chicken night.

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That prized dinner is Chicken Taco Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing. The dressing is almost the best part. I try to keep it around for dipping veggies and topping burgers as well as salads. The dressing is easy to shake up in a jar and it keeps for at least a week. It’s just mayo and buttermilk with parsley, lemon juice, green onions and garlic salt. When Chicken Taco Salad is for company, you can stir a little salsa into the dressing for a Tex-Mex version with a little snap. Speaking of company and dinner - a good friend just gave me the best tip - she serves a Cobb Salad as a buffet where the host puts out the fixings and guests create their own version. This works perfectly with this recipe and solves many food issues like gluten, sugar, salt, and just diets in general.  None of these are a problem in my house, but picky eating can be another story. The good news is that this is a menu that satisfies everyone. It starts with – of course – grilled (or roasted or pan-fried chicken). Besides the chips, the rest of the ingredients are frequently determined by the contents of the fridge. Lettuce is pretty necessary and after that tomatoes, onions, avocado, and corn are all good players. Black beans, cilantro, and jalapenos make excellent side-kicks. This fabulous Ranch Dressing reigns supreme, making cheese optional. Salsa added to the dressing is okay, but so is salsa on the side. Obviously, this is a forgiving recipe – designed to be altered to fit your salad personality (is that a thing?). But you will love it and so will your friends, family – whoever is lucky enough to be your guest. Enjoy!

Chicken Taco Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Dressing Ingredients *

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½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup buttermilk

Juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

2 green onions, chopped

½ tsp garlic salt (more to taste)

½ tsp cracked ground pepper

Add to a clean 16 oz jar and shake to combine.

Keeps a week in the refrigerator.

*May stir in salsa if desired for more of a Tex-Mex dressing. (It’s pink!)

Salad Ingredients

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Grilled chicken, sliced (one breast per person is usually plenty)

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Tortilla chips

All the following are topping we enjoy. Feel free to use some or all of these and add to the list.

Grilled corn (or blackened slightly in a skillet)

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Black beans (rinsed and drained)

Tomatoes, chopped

Onion, sliced

Avocado, sliced



Black olives




Either pre- mix all ingredients and serve with dressing on the side, or serve as choices in separate bowls or platters and let your dining companions create their own masterpieces!

© Deer One Publishing 2019