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.Jump to Recipe
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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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 – boneless, skinless
- Taco Seasoning Mix – try our easy recipe blend
- Olive Oil
Ingredients for Salad:
- Romaine Lettuce – or any studier variety of lettuce
- Black Beans – we use canned but you can make your own too!
- Corn – frozen or freshly cooked and cut off the cob
- Cherry Tomatoes – use small or pee wees
- Shredded Cheese ~ Cheddar or Jalapeño Jack both work well but cotija would be great too!
- Avocado – we love the creaminess that avocado adds to this salad
- Scallions – you could sub in red onion as well
- Cilantro – don’t love it? Skip it or add flat leaf parsley
- Lime Wedges – gives this salad some fresh zip!
- Dressing – we use our homemade Southwest Ranch Dressing with Chipotle
How to make a Southwest Salad:
This delicious salad is quick to assemble once you have all of the ingredients ready so let’s get chopping!
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 because 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 which can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
Step Three – Prep the Salad
- Clean, dry, and gently tear the romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces
- Drain the black beans and rinse them
- If using frozen corn, cook briefly, drain, and cool to room temperature
- 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
- Make poached and shredded chicken breasts instead of sliced
Great recipes to pair with this Southwest Salad:
This salad can easily be a complete meal, however, if you want to add a side of chips and salsa or a refreshing cocktail here are some easy ideas:
- The citrus flavor of a Paloma Cocktail is perfect with the spiciness of this salad
- Mix up a batch of Mango Margaritas with a spicy chili lime tajin rim
- This lightly spicy Salsa Verde is made the traditional way by roasting tomatillos and jalapenos
- Want a little sweet with that spice? Try this amazing Pineapple Salsa!
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