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What is Chipotle salad made of?

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a popular fast casual restaurant chain known for its burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads. The Chipotle salad is a delicious and nutritious option for customers looking for a lighter meal. But what exactly goes into a Chipotle salad? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients that make up this salad.

The Base of a Chipotle Salad

The base of a Chipotle salad begins with lettuce. Customers can choose between romaine lettuce or spinach to serve as the foundation. Romaine lettuce is crunchy and lightly sweet while spinach provides a slightly more bitter and earthy flavor. Both are great options in terms of nutrition, providing fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

In addition to greens, a Chipotle salad also includes tomato, onion, peppers, and/or corn salsa. The pico de gallo tomato salsa adds a juicy tomato flavor along with onion, garlic, and lime. The mild salsa fresca contains chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime. Corn salsa provides a sweetness from the corn blended with onion, red and green bell peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Onions offer a sharp, pungent bite while the peppers add a subtle spicy kick.

Protein Options

Protein can be added to a Chipotle salad for a more filling meal. There are several protein options to choose from:

  • Chicken – Chipotle’s chicken is responsibly raised with no added hormones or antibiotics. It is grilled fresh in the restaurant.
  • Steak – The steak is also responsibly raised with no added hormones or antibiotics. It is grilled and diced into bites.
  • Barbacoa – Shredded beef barbacoa braised to tenderness.
  • Carnitas – Tender pieces of pork simmered in a spice blend.
  • Sofritas – Organic tofu braised with spices inspired by Mexican sofrito.
  • Fajita veggies – A blend of grilled red and green bell peppers, onions, and poblanos.

The variety of proteins allows customers to customize their salad based on their tastes and dietary preferences. The chicken, steak, barbacoa, and carnitas offer hearty meaty flavors while the sofritas and fajita veggies cater to vegetarian and vegan diners.


One of the best parts about a Chipotle salad is loading it up with delicious toppings. There are a variety of flavorful toppings to choose from:

  • Cheese – Cheddar, queso fresco, or queso blanco can be sprinkled on top.
  • Salsa – The tomato, corn, and salsa fresca add a spicy, tangy kick.
  • Guacamole – Made fresh daily with ripe Hass avocados, onion, cilantro, and lime.
  • Lettuce – Romaine or spinach.
  • Beans – Pinto or black beans can be added for more fiber and plant-based protein.
  • Rice – Cilantro-lime rice adds a lime zest flavor.

With all of these tasty toppings, customers can really customize their salad to their preferences. The guacamole, salsas, beans, and rice make the salad even more substantial. The cheese and lettuce add extra texture and flavors.


To complement all the fresh ingredients, Chipotle offers two tasty dressing options:

  • Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette – This is Chipotle’s signature dressing made with a blend of honey, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chipotle chile pepper, and more spices. It has a slightly sweet yet acidic flavor with a smoky kick.
  • ranch dressing – The ranch is cooling and creamy with a tangy and herbaceous flavor. It’s made with buttermilk, mayonnaise, and ranch seasoning.

The spicy, smoky Chipotle vinaigrette pairs especially nicely with the proteins and toppings. But the ranch dressing is also a refreshing option. Customers can choose to get one or both dressings drizzled or served on the side.

Nutrition Information

One of the healthiest attributes of a Chipotle salad is that even though there are so many tasty ingredients, it can still be relatively low in calories. Here is the nutrition information for some standard Chipotle salad combinations, without dressing:

Salad Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Romaine lettuce, chicken, pico de gallo, cheese 290 8 14 34
Romaine lettuce, carnitas, corn salsa, cheese 420 24 28 28
Spinach, barbacoa, black beans, salsa 330 12 36 28

As you can see, even a salad with meat, beans, salsa, and cheese can come in under 500 calories. The ingredients provide a good balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats to keep you full. And of course, the nutrition counts will vary depending on exact ingredients and quantities chosen.

Low-Calorie Salad Options

For an even lighter salad, customers can opt for just greens and salsa with fajita veggies. A spinach salad with pico de gallo and fajita veggies provides under 200 calories. Other low-calorie options include:

  • Romaine lettuce, chicken, pico de gallo (~230 calories)
  • Spinach, carnitas, salsa fresca (~240 calories)
  • Romaine lettuce, barbacoa, corn salsa (~260 calories)

Going light on cheese, oil-based dressings, rice, beans, and heavier meats keeps the calorie count down. But there are still lots of flavorful ingredients to make tasty low-calorie salads.

Higher Calorie Salads

On the other hand, customers can also construct more indulgent higher calorie salads with ingredients like:

  • Double meat
  • Guacamole
  • Extra cheese
  • Chips
  • Full servings of beans and rice

For example, a salad with double chicken, guacamole, cheese, chips, pinto beans, and cilantro-lime rice can top 700-800 calories. While these salads are higher in calories, the nutrition is still balanced and comes from whole food ingredients.


A Chipotle salad can be a delicious, nutritious, and satisfying meal. With its fresh ingredients like romaine or spinach, salsa, cheese, beans, rice, and your choice of protein, the options for creating a customized salad are endless. The nutrition counts will range depending on the ingredients selected, but in general Chipotle salads provide a flavorful blend of lean protein, fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats. A Chipotle salad makes for a lighter alternative to a burrito or bowl, while still packing a flavorful punch. Next time you’re dining at Chipotle, don’t forget to consider one of their fresh and tasty salad options.