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Southwest Chicken Salad

Southwest Chicken Salad is full of flavor and is filling enough to be served for lunch or dinner. Juicy, marinated chicken tops a bed of fresh salad. Black beans, sweet corn, diced onion, and bite sized tomatoes are mixed in, drizzled with a splash of lime juice and spicy ranch dressing. Easy to prepare in under half an hour!

While this salad can certainly stand on its own, try serving with an appetizer of flavorful Taco Dip with Meat. Serve along with a dinner or Chorizo Tacos or Mexican Stuffed Peppers.  Or pair this refreshing Cucumber Margarita with a salad for a laidback lunch option.

Close up view of spicy ranch dressing drizzled over chicken salad.

Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe

Flavorful salads are great year round, but there’s something about the fresh vegetables and spices that really hit differently in the summertime.

This Southwest Chicken Salad is loaded with juicy tomatoes, savory onions, sauteed sweet corn and black beans. Add in the seasoned chicken with an amazing kick of southwest flavor, splash some lime juice on top and kick up the heat with spicy ranch dressing.

Easy to toss together and light enough to enjoy as the weather stays warm.

How to Make Southwest Chicken Salad:

  1. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or into a large plastic bag. Use a meat mallet to pound the thicker sides until they are about as thick as the thinner sides. The more even you can get the thickness of the meat all around, the more evenly the chicken will cook.
  2. Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle both sides with the cumin, chili powder, salt, and chipotle powder. Rub the seasonings in to ensure that they stick to the chicken.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat and add the chicken and lime juice to the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.
  4. Remove the chicken and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing into long strips.
  5. While the chicken cools, add the corn and beans to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until heated through.
  6. Divide the salad mix between 4 shallow bowls and evenly top with the chicken, corn and beans mixture, halved tomatoes, diced onion, and dressing.
  7. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of freshly minced cilantro for garnish and lime wedges if desired. Enjoy!
Collage showing how to make a Southwest Chicken Salad.

Tips and Variations:

  • Try some variations when choosing your salad dressing. We love:
  • The thinner your chicken, the faster it will cook and vice versa. You may need to adjust your cook time slightly to compensate. 
  • For an extra crunch, add tortilla strips as a garnish. 
  • A sprinkle on monterey jack cheese adds a nice flavor as well. 
  • If you aren’t serving this salad right away, hold off on adding the dressing so the ingredients don’t absorb too much and get soggy before everyone can dig in.
Top down view of dressing drizzled over a chicken breast.

Storage

Storage: The salads should be served as soon as they are prepared, but the chicken and corn and bean mixture can be stored separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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Side view of spicy ranch dressing drizzled over salad.

Southwest Chicken Salad

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup sweet corn canned (drained)
  • 1 cup black beans canned (drained and rinsed)
  • 10 cups spring mix
  • 10 ounces grape tomatoes halved
  • ½ red onion diced
  • 1 cup [spicy ranch dressing]

Instructions

  • Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap or in a large plastic bag. Use a meat mallet to pound the thicker sides until they are about as thick as the thinner sides.
    1 pound chicken breasts
  • Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle both sides with the cumin, chili powder, salt and chipotle powder. Rub the seasonings in to ensure that they stick to the chicken.
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over low-medium, and add the chicken and lime juice. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness. 
    2 tablespoons cooking oil
    2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Remove the chicken and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing into long strips.
  • While the chicken cools, add the corn and beans to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until heated through.
    1 cup sweet corn
    1 cup black beans
  • Divide the salad mix between 4 shallow bowls and evenly top with the chicken, corn and beans mixture, tomatoes, onion and spicy ranch dressing.
    10 cups spring mix
    10 ounces grape tomatoes
    ½ red onion
    1 cup [spicy ranch dressing]
  • Serve immediately with a sprinkle of freshly minced cilantro for garnish and lime wedges if desired.
  • See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 small salad (including 1/2 a chicken breasts and 1/4 cup of dressing). Actual calories will vary.
 
*Doubling or tripling this recipe has not been tested. Therefore, we can not guarantee the outcome of adjusting the ingredients.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
 
*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.

Nutrition

Serving: 1small salad | Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 1172mg | Potassium: 1067mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2119IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg

Don’t forget to check out our Southwest Chicken Salad web story!

Recipe Rating