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Santa Fe Chicken Salad

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This Copycat Chili’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad is loaded with tasty ingredients. Grilled chicken pairs with pico, tortilla strips, and a homemade Santa Fe sauce that will quickly become your favorite homemade topping! Perfect meal prep recipe or easy weeknight dinner.

Searching for more salads and dressings? Check out the list of 10+ go-to salads right here on my site, including my favorite homemade vinaigrette dressing!

Close up photo of grilled chicken that is stacked on top of a salad in a white bowl

Recipe Features:

  • Perfect Copycat Recipe: My husband loves this salad when we eat at Chili’s and claims this tastes EXACTLY like the original, if not better.
  • Great way to use leftovers: We make large batches of grilled chicken and keep it stored in the freezer for salads and sandwiches.
  • Quick Weeknight Dinner: Even if you grill the chicken, total prep time is under 30 minutes.

This salad has so much flavor and is perfect to add to your menu. We’re always hunting for ways to keep salads fun and tasty, this one checked all of the boxes. It is extremely easy to make, wins over even our pickiest eater, and keeps you FULL for hours.

You can get really creative by switching up the way you grill your chicken. We like to use my Margarita Chicken recipe, but have also tossed a little taco seasoning onto the chicken with great success. Use your favorite recipe and watch how easily it pairs with the salad ingredients.

top down image of a southwest style salad with grilled chicken in a white bowl

What is in the Santa Fe Chicken Salad at Chili’s?

I’m going out on a limb and saying this is the best salad ever. Not only does it win in the flavor department, but the ingredient list isn’t too long. Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Grilled Chicken– I love using my margarita chicken for this salad, but we also love grilled fajita chicken. All you need for that is a little fajita or taco seasoning, lime juice, and oil.
  • Lettuce– Romaine is my go-to. It’s crisp and delicious, but any lettuce will work here.
  • Pico– We have a few amazing local pico brands that I always have on hand, but if you can’t find any don’t worry! Making your own is super simple. We like this recipe from Show Me The Yummy
  • Avocado, Lime and Cilantro– These are all technically optional, but really add to the salad. A fresh squeeze of lime goes a long way.
  • Tortilla Strips– Can’t find these? No worries! Just break up a few tortilla chips for the same crunchy texture.
  • Ranch– Bottled will be ok, but this will truly shine with a homemade ranch dressing.
  • Santa Fe Sauce– Recipe included in the recipe card below.
homemade santa fe sauce in a glass bowl

Chili’s Santa Fe Sauce Recipe

This sauce is GOLD. So delicious and pairs beautifully with all of the other ingredients. It’s what takes this recipe from a good salad to a great one.

  1. Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, and onion powder in a small bowl until combined.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Set aside until ready to use.

How to make this salad:

Ready to make this salad without having to leave your home? You’ll have everyone thinking you picked up Chili’s take-out!

  1. Grill the chicken. I have a few fantastic grilled chicken recipes here and here OR you can find frozen grilled chicken strips in the freezer section of most grocers.
  2. Combine the romaine, picco, avocado, cilantro, and lime in a large bowl.
  3. Top with grilled chicken and sprinkle with tortilla strips.
  4. Drizzle with Santa Fe Sauce and Ranch.
  5. Toss to combine and serve.

TIP: I love time saving tips, here’s one for this recipe: When you are grilling chicken next, add an extra pound or two. Grilled chicken will freeze for up to 4 months. This makes dinnertime extra fast on busy weeknights.

close up photo of grilled chicken laying on top of a santa fe salad

Recipe Tips and FAQs

Preparing a salad could not be easier. A few tips before you start:

  • Invest in a salad spinner or allow the lettuce to dry completely after washing.
  • In fact, let all of the fruits dry as well. Adding less water to the salad will let the dressing shine.
  • You can slice the fruit and toast the pecans up to 3 days in advance, which makes prep time even easier.
  • Store chopped lettuce with a paper towel to help keep it crisp.

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More Salad Recipes

More Copycat Recipes

Still hungry? Follow One Sweet Appetite on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for more great recipe ideas!

Chili's Santa Fe Chicken Salad Recipe

Chili's Santa Fe Chicken Salad Recipe

Yield: 2 servings

This Copycat Chili’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad is loaded with tasty ingredients. Grilled chicken pairs with pico, tortilla strips, and a homemade Santa Fe sauce that will quickly become your favorite homemade topping! Perfect meal prep recipe or easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

Santa Fe Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad

  • 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • 4 cups romaine, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pico
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup tortilla chip strips
  • Ranch dressing

Instructions

For the Santa Fe Sauce:

  1. Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, and onion powder in a small bowl until combined.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Salad:

  1. Grill the chicken. I have a few fantastic grilled chicken recipes here and here OR you can find frozen grilled chicken strips in the freezer section of most grocers.
  2. Combine the romaine, picco, avocado, cilantro, and lime in a large bowl.
  3. Top with grilled chicken and sprinkle with tortilla strips.
  4. Drizzle with Santa Fe Sauce and Ranch.
  5. Toss to combine and serve.

Notes

TIP: I love time saving tips, here’s one for this recipe: When you are grilling chicken next, add an extra pound or two. Grilled chicken will freeze for up to 4 months. This makes dinnertime extra fast on busy weeknights.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 573Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 789mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 11gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g
pinterest graphic image of a santa fe salad with text overlay
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