Southwest Salad

Our favorite Southwest Salad recipe filled with chicken, peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and topped with a homemade cilantro ranch dressing.

A refreshing, hearty salad recipe with one of our favorite dressings. It can be customized based on the ingredients you love and can be enjoyed all year long!

Southwest salad ingredients in white bowl

Cold, Crisp + DELISH

I have always been a fan of salad recipes. Even when we go out to eat, I often find myself ordering a salad because I usually find them hearty and delicious.

One salad I love, but have never shared on the blog, is a Southwest Salad – which is usually classified as being Southwest if it has beans and or rice and a “Southwest” dressing

I figured it was about time I put one together for y’all since it’s one of my favorites. I knew that our Cilantro Ranch dressing would be perfect, and I was right. It added so much flavor and brought all the ingredients of lettuce, chicken, beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn and avocado all together to become a new homemade favorite!!

Southwest salad dressing in yellow ramekin

Southwest Salad Dressing

As mentioned, our cilantro ranch dressing is our favorite for this particular salad, but having said that, so many other would work well.

It depends on what you love most, but here are some of our other favorite dressings or toppings we think would go well with this recipe:

You can also omit the dressing and keep it more light. We recommend using our pico de gallo to add on tip. It’s also delicious and pairs well with this salad’s ingredients.

If making a homemade dressing, we recommend making this up to 2 days in advance in storing in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

Southwest Salad recipe ingredients in bowl

Tips and storing

How should I cook the chicken breast? Honestly, however you wish! You can use the grill, oven or stove top. If you prefer to use rotisserie chicken, or even canned, those will work just fine, too.

Can I make this ahead of time? You can prepare the salad ingredients 1-2 days ahead of time, except for the avocados. They cannot be cut until right before serving.

Store the ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge. The tortillas strips can be kept at room temperature. When you’re ready to serve cut the avocados and toss the salad ingredients together up to 30 minutes before serving.

How to store leftovers: Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Keep in mind the avocados will not last as long as the other ingredients.

Also, the length that the salad stays fresh will depend on if it has been tossed in the dressing or not. If you think you may have leftover salad I would recommend serving the dressing on the side. This way leftovers last longer.

Southwest chopped salad with cilantro ranch dressing

For more favorite salad recipes, check out:

Southwest Salad Recipe

5 from 10 votes
Simple and delicious Southwestern Chopped Salad filled with chicken, peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and topped with a homemade cilantro ranch dressing.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 494 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna


  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce
  • 15 oz black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 large orange bell pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 2 cups corn
  • chicken breast sliced and cooked
  • avocado sliced or cubed
  • green onions optional
  • cilantro optional


  • 3 tbsp ranch dip mix
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-3 tsp jalapeno diced
  • ⅓ – ½ cup milk


  • Chop romaine and bell peppers. Place all salad ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Make dressing by blending all ingredients in the blender/food processor. Add milk until it’s the consistency you want (I did about ⅓ cup).
  • Add dressing to salad right before serving. ENJOY!


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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    the salad itself has all the right ingredients, but the real winner for me is the dressing! I make this so often so we pretty much always have some on hand (;

  2. I haven’t tried the recipe yet. I am wondering did you cook the corn and beans then let cool or use straight from can

  3. 5 stars
    This salad is so tasty!! I love that it doesn’t call for crazy ingredients & cilantro ranch dressing is my favorite!!

  4. 5 stars
    I looooooove anything Southwest flavored. This salad is no exception! That salad dressing totally put it over the top – so good!