This Southwest Chicken Salad has a blend of perfectly seasoned, juicy chicken, colorful veggies tossed in a homemade chipotle lime vinaigrette. It's a super easy, healthy, and delicious dinner salad the whole family will love.
- ❤️ Why You'll Love This Southwest Chicken Salad
- 🛒 Ingredients for Southwest Chicken Salad
- 🔪 How to Make Southwest Chicken Salad
- 💡 Tips for Making Southwest Salad
- ☑️ Storage Instructions
- 🍴 What to Serve with This Southwest Salad
- 🔄 Substitutions and Additions
- Can I Marinate the Chicken for Longer Than and Hour?
- Can I Use Bone-in Chicken Breast?
- Is Southwest Chicken Salad Healthy?
- 🍽️ More Salad Recipes
❤️ Why You'll Love This Southwest Chicken Salad
- Perfectly seasoned tender and juicy chicken
- Crispy shredded romaine lettuce
- A fresh and colorful mix of veggies
- Tossed in a quick and easy, tangy chipotle lime vinaigrette
- It makes the perfect healthy dinner
The flavors and texture in this tasty Southwest chicken salad are simply irresistible. Tender chicken is marinated in robust chipotle lime marinade, then baked to juicy perfection. It's paired with crisp Romaine lettuce and topped with Southwest favorites like black beans, sweet corn, and creamy avocado.
The easy homemade chipotle lime vinaigrette adds a delicious finishing touch, bringing smoky and citrusy goodness to every bite. It’s the perfect healthy and wholesome salad, ideal for a fuss-free family dinner.
🛒 Ingredients for Southwest Chicken Salad
- Romaine lettuce
- Black beans
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion
- Smoked chipotle pepper
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Ground black pepper
*Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
🥣 Recommended Tools
🔪 How to Make Southwest Chicken Salad
To Prepare the Chicken
Trim any fat from the chicken, then place it in a food storage bag. In the cup of a bullet blender or immersion blender, add the smoked chipotle pepper, garlic, olive oil, salt, lime juice, and zest.
Pulse until well combined, then pour in the bag with the chicken.
Seal up the bag and make sure it’s well coated with the marinade. Set marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with a baking rack and aluminum foil (for easy cleanup).
Cook for 12–14 minutes or until almost cooked through, then broil for 1-2 minutes until golden.
While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the dressing.
To Make the Dressing
Add all of the dressing ingredients to the bowl of a bullet blender or immersion blender, and blend until well combined and emulsified.
Allow it to sit at room temperature so the flavors can meld while you prepare the salad.
To Assemble the Salad
Wash, dry, and shred the romaine lettuce. I like to use my salad spinner to make it easier. Then add the lettuce to the bottom of a large serving platter.
Once the chicken has cooled and rested for 10 minutes, slice both pieces.
Place them on opposite ends of the lettuce. Add the red onion, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado in groups around the platter. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top and add the dressing right before serving.
💡 Tips for Making Southwest Salad
- Let the chicken marinate in the zesty lime and chipotle mixture for at least an hour. This ensures the flavors infuse into the meat, making it juicy and packed with lots of flavor.
- Avoid any guesswork by using an instant-read meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken, ensuring it reaches 165°F. This guarantees that your chicken is super flavorful and cooked to perfection.
- Allow the chipotle lime vinaigrette to sit at room temperature while the chicken is cooking and you're assembling the salad. This gives the flavors a chance to meld.
☑️ Storage Instructions
Once assembled and dressed, this salad is best served immediately. You can, however, prepare the chicken, make the dressing, and chop the veggies up to a day in advance.
Store the ingredients in separate containers until ready to serve. Slice and gently reheat the chicken if you'd like to serve the chicken warm.
🍴 What to Serve with This Southwest Salad
🔄 Substitutions and Additions
- Grains: Add even more nutrients by adding about a cup of cooked quinoa, farro, or brown rice.
- Cheese choices: Feel free to swap queso fresco for feta, or try shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack.
- Other dressings: This vinaigrette is awesome. Other great Southwest inspired dressing you can try is this Creamy Chipotle Ranch or this Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing.
Can I Marinate the Chicken for Longer Than and Hour?
Yes. For a more intense flavor, you can marinate the chicken for up to 6 hours ahead of time. I wouldn't recommend overnight though, because the citrus in the marinade will start to cook the chicken (like ceviche).
Can I Use Bone-in Chicken Breast?
You can, if that is what you have on hand. Using boneless makes it easier to slice into nice, even slices. But you can shred the cooked chicken from the bone and add it to the salad.
Is Southwest Chicken Salad Healthy?
This Southwest chicken salad is a healthy choice for several great reasons. First, it's packed with lean protein from the chicken breasts.
Second, with a colorful medley of veggies like Romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado, you’ll get all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Lastly, the homemade chipotle lime vinaigrette is made with olive oil and fresh ingredients that provide healthy fat. Plus, by making the dressing at home, you have control over the ingredients, avoiding added sugars and preservatives often found in store-bought brands.
🍽️ More Salad Recipes
- Mexican Street Corn Pasts Salad
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Pickled Beet Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Easy Italian Pasta Salad
Southwest Chicken Salad
For the Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 smoked chipotle pepper
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Salad
- 6 cups Romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ⅓ cup queso fresco
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
To Prepare the Chicken
- Trim any fat from the chicken, then place it in a food storage bag.
- Pulse until well combined, then pour in the bag with the chicken. Seal up the bag and make sure it’s well coated with the marinade.
- Let marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cook for 12-14 minutes or until almost cooked through, then broil for 1-2 minutes until golden.
- While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the dressing.
To Make the Dressing
- Add all of the dressing ingredients to the bowl of a bullet blender or immersion blender and blend until well combined and emulsified.
- Allow it to sit at room temperature so the flavors can meld while you prepare the salad.
To Assemble the Salad
- Wash, dry and shred the romaine lettuce. I like to use my salad spinner to make it easier. Then add the lettuce to the bottom of a large serving platter.
- Once the chicken has cooled and rested for 10 minutes, slice both pieces.
- Place them on opposite ends over the lettuce.
- Add the red onion, black beans, corn, tomatoes and avocado in groups around the platter. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top and add the dressing right before serving.
*Make sure to scroll up and read the post for substitutions, additions and helpful tips for making this recipe.
*Nutritional data is provided as a courtesy and is accurate to the best of my knowledge. You can verify it using the nutrition calculator of your choice. All data is based on net carbs, without sugar alcohol: Swerve, Erythritol, Monk Fruit or Allulose.
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