Chicken Tortilla Crunch Salad


Crushed tortilla chips make this punchy chicken salad totally irresistible. 

chicken tortilla crunch salad
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

This speedy salad is loaded with shortcuts, meaning you can get dinner on the table stat. All-in-one fajita spice mix seasons chicken thighs before they hit a hot grill. Then a simple dressing made with mayonnaise, salsa, and sour cream dresses a refreshing napa cabbage and red bell pepper mixture. If you prefer to use a coleslaw blend instead of the cabbage, go for it! Lastly, the best part of this satisfying salad might be the handfuls of tortilla chips tossed in for the surprising texture it brings to each bite. Not up for grilling? No problem. Cook the thighs on the stovetop, or make salad prep even faster by using leftover or rotisserie chicken.


  • Canola oil, for grill grates

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 thighs)

  • 2 tablespoons fajita or taco seasoning

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 6 cups shredded napa cabbage (from 1 head cabbage) or a 14-oz. pkg. coleslaw mix

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup salsa

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 2 cups crushed corn tortilla chips

  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving

  • 2 ounces queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

  • ¼ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)


  1. Oil grill grates and preheat to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Rub chicken thighs with fajita seasoning and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  2. Place chicken on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through and a thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 165°F, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and let cool for 15 minutes.

  3. Place cabbage and bell pepper in a large bowl; toss to combine. Whisk mayonnaise, salsa, sour cream, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add to cabbage mixture and toss to coat.

  4. Thinly slice chicken and add to cabbage mixture. Add tortilla chips; toss to combine. Transfer to a bowl or plates. Top with cheese and pepitas; garnish with more cilantro.

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