This Southwest Chicken Salad is a big zesty salad full of flavor
This salad is packed with all the Southwest flavors you love. It’s better than any salad you could order from a restaurant.
The good news is it’s super easy to make at home and is ready in 30-minutes.
This fun salad has it all, including lots of protein thanks to the chicken and beans. It makes a great complete lunch or dinner and you likely have most of the ingredients on hand.
We topped this Southwest Salad with our homemade tangy Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle. It’s a super versatile dressing with a few simple ingredients that you can make in 5-minutes. You can also use a quick Lemon Vinaigrette with this salad if you want something less creamy.
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Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle and Classic Lemon Vinaigrette
Ingredients for Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
This salad is extra flavorful with lots of healthy ingredients. My garden was blooming with fresh romaine lettuce which is the base and inspiration for this salad.
Ingredients for Chicken:
- Chicken Breasts
- Taco Seasoning Mix – try our easy recipe blend
- Olive Oil
Ingredients for Salad:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Black Beans
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Shredded Cheese ~ Cheddar or Jalapeño Jack work well
- Lime Wedges
- Our homemade Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle
How to make our Southwest Salad:
This delicious salad is quick to assemble once you have all of the ingredients ready.
Step One – Prep and cook the chicken
- Blend Taco Seasoning Mix with half of the olive oil to make a seasoning paste for the chicken. We like to use our easy blend and you can make it as spicy or mild as you would like.
- Coat the chicken breasts with the seasoning mixture
- Heat a sauté or grill pan over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil, and once shimmering, cook the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes on each side. Allow chicken to cool and then slice.
Looking for a great stovetop grill pan? We swear by this Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Deep Round Grill Pan. It provides even heating and gives your meat beautiful grill marks.
Step Two – The Dressing
Prepare the Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle. Click here for the recipe, which can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
Step Three – Prep the Salad
- Clean, dry and tear the romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces
- Drain the black beans
- If using frozen corn, cook, drain, and cool
- Quarter the cherry tomatoes and slice the avocado and scallions
- Shred the cheese – we love the spicy kick of jalapeno jack cheese or use your personal favorite.
- Quarter the lime and clean the cilantro leaves for garnish
Step Four – How to Assemble the Southwest Chicken Salad
- Divide the lettuce between 2 large shallow bowls or plates
- Divide the remaining salad ingredients and layer chicken, beans, corn, tomato, cheese, avocado, and scallions into the 2 bowls
- Drizzle with 2-3 Tablespoons of dressing. Toss if desired.
- Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves
- Serve with additional dressing on the side if needed
This salad is really versatile so add or subtract any of the ingredients to suit your taste.
- Substitute grilled steak or grilled tofu for the chicken. Or skip it altogether for a meat-free salad
- Add sliced red, yellow, or green peppers
- Substitute the black beans for pinto beans
- Add sliced red onions for a bit of extra zest
- Try Queso Fresco or Cojita cheese
- Swap the romaine lettuce for your favorite greens
- Sprinkle with pepita seeds for added protein
Great recipes to pair with this Southwest Salad:
This salad is a complete meal, however, if you want to add a side of bread here are some easy ideas:
- This traditional Irish Soda Bread is quick to make because it has no yeast
- Try our sky-high Baking Powder Biscuits with Flavored Butter on the side.
- Need an easy bread for dinner? Try our 4-ingredient Beer Bread or Beer Bread Rolls.
Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe
For the Chicken:
- 2 medium chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning mix *see link in notes for our recipe
- 2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 3 cups Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup black beans, drained
- ½ cup corn, cooked and drained
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ¼ cup pepperjack cheese, shredded
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons scallions, sliced
- 4 lime wedges, quartered, for garnish
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- ⅓ cup Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle **See link in notes for recipe
- Blend taco seasoning mix with 1 teaspoon olive oil and coat chicken breasts with the mixture.
- In a skillet, over medium heat, add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken breasts and sear until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side, or until an internal temperature of 160°. Remove from pan and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, cut chicken into 1/2" slices.
To Assemble Salad:
- Add lettuce to 2 shallow salad bowls or plates.
- Divide the remaining salad ingredients and layer beans, corn, tomato, cheese, avocado, and scallions into the 2 bowls.
- Drizzle with 2-3 Tablespoons of Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges
All of my favorite flavors in salad form! Made a great light weeknight dinner.
This salad is one of the best salads I ever made and tasted. And I tried hundreds of salads. 🙂 Thanks for your delicious recipe.
I love everything about this salad! It’s super easy to make, flavorful, filling and perfect for lunch or a light dinner!
This is our favorite Salad! I love how healthy it is while at the same time being loaded with great flavors!
This salad looks absolutely amazing! So many flavors and colors. I love that it comes together in 30 minutes too.
I love -ALL- the flavors in this salad which is so hearty, it’s hardly like a salad at all! Dinner time can’t come fast enough for me to make this recipe!
The dressing that you made here is amazing! I made extra of that and the chicken so I can make lunches for the week. So good.
This was everything a gourmet salad should be, and then some! Easily, a new favorite salad recipe; so delicious!
I love this salad! My husband would wipe off the whole bowl…so nourishing!
This salad is packed full of so much goodness! Love the chipotle flavor in the dressing!