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Our favorite Southwest Salad recipe is healthy, hearty, and topped with a delicious homemade cilantro ranch dressing.
An ARizona Fav!
I have always been a fan of salad recipes. Even when we go out to eat, I often order a salad because they’re usually hearty but not heavy.
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 rice and a “Southwest” dressing (definitely an Arizona favorite!)
I figured it was about time I put one together for you 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 to this salad and brought the ingredients of lettuce, chicken, beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn, and avocado all together to become a new homemade favorite!!
Quick + Simple
This southwest avocado salad whips up in minutes for a deliciously fresh lunch or dinner!
DRESSING. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender, beginning with ⅓ cup of milk. Blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed until it is the consistency you like. Refrigerate dressing until ready to serve.
COMBINE + SERVE! Place all salad ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Drizzle with dressing before serving.
Note: If you’re making this homemade dressing, we recommend making this up to 2 days in advance in storing it in an air-tight container until ready to serve so the flavors have time to really meld.
Dressing your Southwest Salad
As mentioned, our Cilantro Ranch Dressing is our favorite for this particular salad, but having said that, so many others would work with Southwest Chopped Salad.
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:
Omit the dressing and keep it even lighter. We recommend using our Pico de Gallo to add on top. It’s also delicious and pairs well with this salad’s ingredients.
Chicken breast. Cook the chicken breast however you wish! Use the grill, oven, or stovetop. If you prefer to use rotisserie, shredded, or even canned, those will work just fine, too. Cook it with any seasonings, like taco seasoning, cumin, garlic powder, or salt and pepper.
Corn. Use canned corn, thawed frozen corn, or fresh corn cut off the cob.
Bell peppers. The recipe calls for orange bell pepper, but you can use yellow, green, or red bell pepper!
Tomatoes. Use Roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes.
Variations. Add any of your favorite toppings or fixings to this Southwestern Salad to change it up!
- chopped red onion
- shredded cheese
- freshly squeezed lime juice
- crushed tortilla chips or tortilla strips
- a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream
Make ahead of time. Prepare Southwest Chicken 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. When you’re ready to serve, cut the avocados and toss the salad ingredients together for up to 30 minutes before serving.
STORE. Leftover Southwest Salad recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Keep in mind the avocados will not last as long as the other ingredients.
The length that the salad stays fresh will depend on if it has been tossed in the Southwest Salad Dressing or not. If you think you may have leftover salad, serve the dressing on the side. This way leftovers last longer.
This salad is made of ingredients and flavors common in Southwestern cuisine, such as beans, corn, bell peppers, cilantro, and jalapeno. You can also season your chicken with spices such as chili powder, cumin, or taco seasoning.
For more favorite saladS, try:
- Lemon Poppyseed Salad
- Ultimate Chicken Caesar Salad
- Waldorf Salad
- Strawberry Harvest Salad
- Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Frito Corn Salad
Southwest Salad Recipe
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 large orange bell pepper chopped
- 1 (15.25-ounce) can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 2 cups corn
- 1 avocado sliced or cubed
- 2 chicken breasts seasoned to taste, cooked and cubed
- diced green onions optional
- chopped cilantro optional
Cilantro Ranch Dressing
- 1 packet Ranch dip or dressing mix (or 3 tablespoons)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1-3 teaspoons diced jalapeños
- ⅓-½ cup milk
- For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender, beginning with ⅓ cup of milk. Blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed until it is the consistency you like. Refrigerate dressing until ready to serve.
- Place all salad ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Drizzle with dressing before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.