Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos

Tacos de Pollo en Ensalada Enchipotlada
When I created basically this exact recipe on a lark for my book Mexico: One Plate at a Time, I had no idea that it would become the wild hit it has. I was inspired by two things: the room-temperature fillings that cooks fold into tacos in the Yucatan, and the creative fillings I’d been seeing pop up in carts and store-front taquerias specializing in tacos de guisados. Though that book focuses on recipes for classic dishes followed by contemporary spin-offs, there’s no classic equivalent for this filling. It’s just crowd-pleasing flavors wrapped in the comforting embrace of warm tortillas. If a creamier version appeals, you can replace the vinegar and oil with 1/2 cup (or a little more) of good-quality mayonnaise.
Servings: 4cups, filling 12 to 16 tacos, serving 4 as a casual meal


  • 2 to 3tablespoons balsamic vinegar (no need to use your very best balsamico here)
  • 1/3cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
  • 2canned chipotle chiles, removed from the adobo canning sauce and finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2small head Napa cabbage thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1large carrot, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4cup cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken, preferably grilled, roasted or rotisserie chicken
  • 1large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1/3cup coarsely grated Mexican queso añejo or other dry grating cheese like Romano or Parmesan
  • 12 to 16 16 fresh, warm corn tortillas


In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and chipotles. Season highly with salt, usually about a generous ¼ teaspoon. Add the cabbage, carrot, onion, cilantro, chicken and avocado. Toss everything together and let stand for 15 minutes.  Taste and season with additional salt if necessary.  Scoop into a shallow, wide serving bowl and dust generously with the cheese. Set on the table with the warm tortillas and you’re ready for some great roll-them-yourself tacos.


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