This easy cilantro chicken chopped salad recipe is ready in 20 minutes! With plenty of veggies and a creamy homemade dressing of greek yogurt, avocado, and cilantro. Perfect for busy summer evenings!
This easy chopped chicken salad is like summer in a bowl!
It's our go-to when we have some meal prepped shredded chicken in the fridge (it's also great with leftover grilled chicken or a rotisserie chicken!) and is hearty enough to eat for dinner while still feeling bright and fresh.
Also: It takes all of ten minutes to make. Just chop a few veggies, blend up a quick dressing, and toss everything together.
Ingredients you'll need:
- For the dressing: Plain Greek yogurt, avocado, fresh cilantro, and lime juice get blended together in a food processor with a pinch of salt and a splash of water.
- For the salad: We're using cooked chicken, sweet corn (bonus points if you grill it first!), romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro (plus our homemade dressing!)
How to make this chopped salad dressing
This quick dressing is the star of our cilantro chicken salad!
- Throw half a cup of Greek yogurt, half an avocado, and a generous handful of fresh cilantro into the bowl of a food processor with the juice of one lime and a pinch of salt.
- Blend until smooth, adding a few teaspoons of water to thin the dressing out if needed.
- Store dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days (it's a great meal prep item to make in advance!)
A few tips
- This is a relatively thick sauce: Use a food processor (not a blender) for best results, and don't be afraid to add a bit of water to thin it out.
- Double, or triple this recipe to have extra dressing all week! Serve it on salads, tacos, or as a dipping sauce (we love it with veggie platters, crab cakes, or crackers!)
Riffs and substitutions
This chopped salad recipe is so forgiving: mix it up with whatever you have on hand! Some of our favorite swaps:
- No chicken? Use tuna, shrimp, or salmon in its place.
- For a vegetarian salad, swap the chicken for black beans, chickpeas (bonus points for crispy chick peas!) hard boiled eggs, farro, or quinoa.
- Add extra veggies! This salad is great with cucumber, bell peppers, green onions, carrots, radishes, you name it!
- Mix up the greens by using spinach, cabbage, or kale in place of some or all of the romaine lettuce.
- For a spicy southwest spin on this salad, add roasted bell or poblano peppers, black beans, and green onions. You can also blend some roasted poblanos or sliced jalapeño into the dressing for an extra kick.
- Use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead of lime juice in the dressing.
A few FAQs
We recommend eating this salad as soon as you toss it together: As it sits, the dressing will cause the lettuce to wilt, so it doesn't keep well in the fridge. You can prep this salad in advance by cooking the chicken, chopping the veggies (except tomatoes, which should be sliced and added when you're ready to eat), and making the dressing ahead of time - when everything is prepped, tossing it all together is a breeze!
If you're making it for a potluck, BBQ, or anywhere it might have to sit for awhile, we recommend swapping the romaine for heartier greens like kale or cabbage (they won't wilt as quickly as romaine), or serving the dressing on the side. You can also serve all the components individually for a DIY chopped salad bar!
Video: How to make cilantro chicken chopped salad
This easy chicken chopped salad is perfect for summer!
For the dressing:
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ large avocado, pitted and removed from peel (save the other half for your salad!)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tablespoons)
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup water (you may not need it all)
For the salad:
- 2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 large tomatoes, diced)
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cups fresh sweet corn (about 3-4 ears, depending on size)
- ½ avocado, sliced
Make the dressing:
- Combine Greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth. If dressing is too thick, add water a Tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Set aside or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Assemble the salad:
- Combine chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, and corn in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing (recipe above) and toss to combine.
- Top salad with fresh avocado slices. Serve immediately.
What kind of chicken should I use? We typically use our meal prepped shredded chicken in this salad, since it’s what we usually have on hand. You can also use leftover grilled or roasted chicken or grab a rotisserie chicken from the store to keep things easy here!
Additions and Substitutions. Use tuna, shrimp, hard boiled egg, or salmon in place of chicken here. Add extra veggies (cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, carrots) grains (farro, quinoa) or beans (chickpeas, black beans) to make this salad a bit heartier. Swap some or all of the romaine for spinach, cabbage, or kale. Use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead of lime juice in the dressing if you prefer.
If you don't like cilantro, use spinach and/or parsley in its place for the dressing, and leave it out of the salad.
Make the salad dressing ahead of time if you like: Blend as directed and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
This recipe was inspired by this Chickpea Chopped Salad from Ambitious Kitchen.
Keywords: salad, summer, healthy
This recipe was originally published in 2013. It was updated in 2022 with additional photos and notes.
The photos for this recipe were taken by Casey at The Mindful Hapa!