Today: Get My No Fail, Easy Cookbook Series for 60% OFF
Buy Now

Southwest Salad

Pin RecipeReview Recipe
overhead shot of Southwest Salad in a bowl
This delicious Southwest salad is loaded with fresh veggies and grilled chicken before being smothered with a tangy and creamy cilantro lime dressing to create the perfect meal. 
Jump to Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. Southwest Salad Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Southwest Salad Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This Southwest salad is the perfect mix of flavors and textures. With juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, crispy bacon, tender chicken, and a cilantro lime dressing that gives it just the right amount of zing, it’s a salad you’ll love to eat!

overhead shot of Southwest Salad in a bowl

Southwest Salad Ingredients

Southwest Salad raw ingredients on white surface and labeled

You’ll need:

For the Cilantro-Lime Dressing

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 (0.4-ounce) ranch salad dressing packet
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 7 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

For the Salad

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1½-2 pound package)
  • 1 (0.87-ounce) Southwest ranch chicken taco seasoning packet (McCormick)
  • ½ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 (24-ounce) package of romaine lettuce hearts, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans in seasoned sauce, liquids drained
  • 1 cup canned whole kernel sweet yellow corn, liquids drained
  • 1 cup (from 4-6) Campari tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 Hass avocado, diced
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • Optional garnish – Santa Fe-Style tortilla strips and a lime wedge

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

TACO SEASONING: If you cannot find the seasoning packet of Southwest ranch chicken taco seasoning, then you can substitute a standard packet of taco seasoning. They will both taste delicious. They can both be found in the same section in your local grocery store.

TOMATOES: You can use any variety of small fresh tomatoes you have available in season, such as grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, in place of the Campari tomatoes. You would only need to cut them in half.

SOUR CREAM: Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream in the creamy Southwest dressing.

How to Make This Southwest Salad Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

This Southwest chicken salad recipe makes four very hearty large salads. If you only plan to eat one of the salads at a time, you can easily prepare additional servings for meals for the week. 

STEP ONE: In a medium mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, packet of ranch salad dressing mix, fresh lime juice, and fresh chopped cilantro.

buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch salad dressing mix, lime juice and cilantro mixed in a bowl

STEP TWO: Whisk together to fully incorporate all the ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour while preparing the remainder of the Southwest salad recipe.

PRO TIP:

The dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge. You can keep leftovers or prepare the dressing ahead of time.

STEP THREE: Add the boneless skinless chicken breasts to a large, heavy-duty, zip-top bag.

STEP FOUR: To a small bowl, add the packet of Southwest ranch chicken taco seasoning, light olive oil, and water. Stir to combine.

southwest ranch chicken seasoning, olive oil and water combined in a bowl

STEP FIVE: Pour the seasoned marinade over the chicken breasts inside the zip-top bag. Seal the bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible, and place it into the refrigerator to allow the chicken to marinate for 1 hour.

chicken placed in a zip loc bag with the marinade

STEP SIX: Once your chicken has marinated, you can preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat (approximately 425°F to 450°F, depending on how your grill runs).

STEP SEVEN: Grill your chicken breasts for 8 to 9 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from the grill and slice each chicken breast into ½-inch thick slices. Try to keep your chicken breast together to transfer it to your salad for a pretty presentation when assembling your salad.

grill chicken grilled in a skillet grill

STEP EIGHT: While the chicken is grilling, you can prepare the romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and red onion slices. You will need to divide the romaine lettuce equally into 4 large salad bowls.

STEP NINE: Top each bowl of lettuce with ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup corn kernels, ¼ cup sliced tomatoes, a quarter of the chopped Hass avocado, and some red onion slices.

PRO TIP:

A little lemon juice on the avocado will prevent it from browning.

lettuce, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and onions added to the salad in a bowl

STEP TEN: Place one sliced grilled chicken breast onto the top of your salad and garnish your salad with a drizzle of the homemade cilantro lime dressing.

STEP ELEVEN: You can add an optional garnish of the Santa Fe-style tortilla strips and a lime wedge to squeeze over the entire salad.

How To Serve

This hearty salad would make a full meal on its own. You could serve it for a filling lunch or dinner for a busy weeknight. A batch of our dinner rolls would be a great addition to this delicious salad.

For more tasty salad recipes, you will love our Big Mac salad and our loaded pasta salad.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: It is best to eat this delicious salad immediately after it is made for the freshest flavors. You can pre-assemble the salad (lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and red onion slices) ahead of time and cover the bowls with a piece of plastic wrap while your chicken breasts are marinating to save time. You can also make the homemade dressing and store it in a mason jar in the fridge. I would wait to dice your avocado until you are ready to eat your salad so that the avocado does not start to brown before you are ready to serve your southwestern chicken salad.

MAKE AHEAD: To prepare the ingredients in the salad ahead of time, I would grill all the chicken breasts at one time, allow them to cool, and package the sliced chicken breasts into an airtight container. You would need to prep all your other ingredients and store them in separate lidded containers in the refrigerator. Once ready to eat, you can assemble your salad and top it with the Southwest salad dressing and optional garnishes.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend freezing any components of this salad. It is best made fresh.

close up shot of Southwest Salad in a bowl with dressing poured on top

This Southwest salad is everything you love about Tex-Mex food—fresh, vibrant, and loaded with so much flavor. With a rainbow of colors on your plate and a creamy dressing, it’s not only stunning to look at, but it’s healthy too! The perfect meal for any day of the week that the whole family will love.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I add other toppings to my salad?

This easy Southwest salad is very flexible. You can add or subtract any of the toppings you’d like to make this a customized salad.

How do I store this salad?

If you’d like to make this salad ahead of time, you can prepare the components and store them in separate containers in the fridge. Assemble it right before you are ready to enjoy it. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Could I use leftover or rotisserie chicken for this recipe? 

While it would alter the taste of the chicken since this recipe marinates the raw chicken breasts before grilling them, you could use leftover chicken as a time saver and leave out the marination.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Get Recipes on Pinterest

get recipes on pinterest
get digital lazy cookbooks
overhead shot of Southwest Salad in a bowl

Southwest Salad

No ratings yet
This delicious Southwest salad is loaded with fresh veggies and grilled chicken before being smothered with a tangy and creamy cilantro lime dressing to create the perfect meal. 
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, approximately 1½ to 2 pound package
  • 0.87 ounce Southwest Ranch Chicken Taco seasoning packet (McCormick)
  • ½ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 24 ounces Romaine lettuce hearts, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans in seasoned sauce, liquids drained
  • 1 cup canned whole kernel sweet yellow corn, liquids drained
  • 1 cup Campari tomatoes, from 4 to 6 quartered
  • 1 Hass avocado, diced
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • Santa Fe Style tortilla strips and a lime wedge, optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, packet of ranch salad dressing mix, fresh lime juice, and fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Whisk together to fully incorporate all the ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour while preparing the remainder of the Southwest salad recipe.
  • Add the boneless skinless chicken breasts to a large, heavy-duty, zip-top bag.
  • To a small mixing bowl, add the packet of ranch chicken taco seasoning, light olive oil, and water. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the seasoned marinade over the chicken breasts inside the zip-top bag. Seal the bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible, and place it into the refrigerator to allow the chicken to marinate for 1 hour.
  • Once your chicken has marinated, you can preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat (approximately 425°F to 450°F, depending on how your grill runs).
  • Grill your chicken breasts for 8 to 9 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from the grill and slice each chicken breast into ½-inch thick slices. Try to keep your chicken breast together to transfer it to your salad for a pretty presentation when assembling your salad.
  • While the chicken is grilling, you can prepare the romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and red onion slices. You will need to divide the romaine lettuce equally into 4 large salad bowls.
  • Top each bowl of lettuce with ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup corn kernels, ¼ cup sliced tomatoes, a quarter of the chopped hass avocado and some red onion slices.
  • Place one of the sliced grilled chicken breasts onto the top of your salad and garnish your salad with a drizzle of the cilantro-lime ranch salad dressing.
  • You can add an optional garnish of the Santa Fe-style tortilla strips and a lime wedge to squeeze over the entire salad.

Notes

  • This Southwest chicken salad recipe makes four very hearty large salads. If you only plan to eat one of the salads at a time, you can easily prepare additional servings for meals for the week.
  • The dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge. You can keep leftovers or prepare the dressing ahead of time.
  • A little lemon juice on the avocado will prevent it from browning.

Nutrition

Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 899mg | Potassium: 1386mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15832IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg
Have You Tried This Recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Get Recipes on Facebook

get recipes on facebook

Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

You May Also Like

get digital lazy cookbooks

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Comments