Mexican and Tex-Mex Recipes/ Salad

Chicken Fajita Salad

2 February 2022 | Last Updated: 17 February 2022 By Aleksandra

Chicken fajita salad is such an amazing salad – it’s made with well-seasoned juicy chicken, crunchy lettuce, sauteed bell peppers and onion, crispy tortilla strips, creamy avocado, and flavorful cilantro lime vinaigrette. You could easily have this salad for dinner – it’s filling, yet light, and absolutely delicious!

A close up photo of chicken fajita salad.

What are chicken fajitas?

Fajitas is a popular Tex-Mex dish. The name is referring to a piece of skirt steak, that is cut into thin strips – the real fajitas are made from beef. Chicken Fajitas (Fajitas de Pollo) is a popular variation of the dish.

We are making a spin on this recipe by making a salad with all the ingredients you would use to make chicken fajitas!

Labeled ingredients for Spätzle.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this delicious salad:

Labeled ingredients for chicken fajita salad.
  • Chicken breast – you can also use chicken thighs (but I prefer chicken breast), you need to cook them a little bit longer. You can also use leftover chicken/rotisserie chicken for this recipe – spice it with the spice mix and warm up.
  • Fajita seasoning – I love my homemade Fajita seasoning, it so much better than store-bought and you only need 6 spices that you probably already have in your pantry to make it. It’s so flavorful, I’m using it all the time. Store-bought seasonings are usually stuffed with salt, corn starch, sugar, and other weird ingredients, instead of just spices. You can also use taco seasoning instead of fajita seasoning, these two seasonings are very similar.
  • Lime juice – to finish the chicken – it adds great flavor and freshness to the chicken.
  • Vegetables – Bell peppers (prefarably colorful), onion, avocado.
  • Romaine lettuce hearts – crunchy and sturdy lettuce is perfect for this salad.
  • Tortilla strips – store-bought or homemade fried/baked tortilla strips.

How to make it vegetarian: swap the chicken for a can of chickpeas! Toss the chickpeas with spices and cook on a pan or roast in the oven until crispy. You could also use sweet potatoes – roast them at 425°F/220°C for about 15 minutes.

This recipe would also work great with steak or shrimp.

For the cilantro lime vinaigrette you will need:

Labeled ingredients for cilantro lime dressing.
  • fresh cilantro – finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • lime juice – must be freshly squeezed
  • honey (maple syrup can also be used but I think honey is better)
  • fresh garlic – pressed through garlic press
  • Dijon mustard
  • dried coriander

You could use a small piece of deseeded Jalapeno instead of garlic and mustard.

If you’d like your dressing creamy, you could make this avocado cilantro lime dressing (from my southwest chicken salad) which is very similar to this recipe but it’s creamy thanks to avocado and yogurt.

How to make it

Chicken breast cut into strips with spices in a bowl. Chopped veggies for a salad on a chopping board.

STEP 1: Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) strips. In a large bowl combine 1 tablespoon of oil and Fajita seasoning, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

STEP 2: Cut bell peppers into 1/4-inch (7mm) strips, cut the onion in half then into 1/4-inch (7mm) slices. Slice avocado, wash and dry the lettuce.

Chicken is being cooked in a pan. Bell peppers and onions are being cooked in a pan.

STEP 3: Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When hot add the chicken (in one or two batches, depending on the size of the pan). Cook until browned then turn over and cook until cooked through, transfer to a plate, drizzle with lime juice.

STEP 4: Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the bell peppers and onions, season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes or until softened but still a little bit crunchy.

Assembled chicken fajita salad on a white plate. Cilantro lime vinaigrette is being poured oved the salad.

STEP 5: Assemble: On a large platter, arrange the lettuce, cooked chicken, cooked bell peppers and onions, sliced avocado, and tortilla strips.

STEP 6: Make the vinaigrette: Add all the ingredients into a mason jar, close the lid and shake for 1 minute until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the sweet-sour ratio when necessary (add more honey if it’s too sweet and add more lime juice if it’s not sour enough).

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.

Enjoy!

Chicken Fajita marinade

You could marinate chicken for this recipe: combine chicken strips, 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil (for frying), 1 1/2 tablespoons Fajita seasoning, and 1 Tbsp of lime juice. Toss until evenly coated, let marinate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of wet marinades that include citrus juice for pan-frying, because it all splatters during frying and it’s harder to brown the chicken. Such marinades are great for grilling and baking (like this lemon-thyme marinade for baked chicken breast). I’ve tried this recipe with marinaded chicken and it hasn’t brought much to the recipe – sure, the chicken was a little bit more tender and flavorful but the difference was not huge so I went with a simpler preparation method.

Chicken breast cut into thin strips cooks evenly and when not overcooked it’s perfectly tender and juicy, plus you get packed-with-flavor browning all over the chicken. I really recommend cutting the chicken into strips then cooking it versus cooking whole breasts and cutting them into strips afterward. After the chicken has been cooked it’s immediately drizzled with fresh lemon juice – which makes it more tender, adds refreshing flavor, and doesn’t inhibit browning.

Cook the chicken strips briefly, over high heat, brown them properly – and the chicken will be at its best!

Grilled chicken salad – if you’d like to cook the chicken on the grill then it would be better to marinate it, cook it whole then cut it into strips.

Storage

You can store the cooked chicken and veggies for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat slightly before serving.

Cut avocado and clean lettuce just before serving.

The vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 days but it tastes best freshly made.

This salad also tastes great cold and it’s great for lunch boxes.

More Fajita-flavored recipes

A close up photo of chicken fajita salad on a white plate.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Chicken Fajita Salad

Chicken fajita salad is such an amazing salad – it’s made with well-seasoned juicy chicken, crunchy lettuce, sauteed bell peppers and onion, crispy tortilla strips, creamy avocado, and flavorful cilantro lime vinaigrette. You could easily have this salad for dinner – it’s filling, yet light, and absolutely delicious!
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Chicken fajita salad on a white plate.
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RATE THE RECIPE

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 large servings
Calories 866kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the salad:

  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Fajita seasoning
  • 2 large chicken breasts 1lb/450g
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bell peppers preferably red and yellow
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 baby romaine hearts
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fried/baked tortilla strips

for the cilantro lime vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small clove garlic pressed through garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 dried teaspoon coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare the ingredients: Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) strips, bell peppers into 1/4-inch (7mm) strips, cut the onion in half then into 1/4-inch (7mm) slices. Slice avocado, wash and dry the lettuce.
  • Make the vinaigrette: Add all the ingredients into a mason jar, close the lid and shake for 1 minute until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the sweet-sour ratio when necessary (add more honey if it’s too sweet and add more lime juice if it’s not sour enough).
  • Cook the chicken and vegetables: In a large bowl combine 1 tablespoon of oil and Fajita seasoning, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When hot add the chicken (in one or two batches, depending on the size of the pan). Cook until browned then turn over and cook until cooked through, transfer to a plate, drizzle with lime juice.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the bell peppers and onions, season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes or until softened but still a little bit crunchy.
  • Assemble: On a large platter, arrange the lettuce, cooked chicken, cooked bell peppers and onions, sliced avocado, and tortilla strips. Pour over the vinaigrette.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Fajita seasoning: 2 Tbsp chili powder (this is a spice mix not pure ground chili peppers), 1 Tbsp of EACH: cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika. You will not use all the seasoning, just 1 1/2 tablespoons.
  • This salad tastes great also cold (lunchbox-friendly).
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/2 of the recipe) – this is one large serving (dinner-size). This is only an estimate!
Course Salad
Cuisine tex-mex
Tried this Recipe? Rate the Recipe and tell us what you think in the Comments!

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