This Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe is filled with so many delicious textures and flavors that everyone will love. It’s bound to be your new go-to dish!
This is a recipe I’ve been making for years, but for some reason have never shared it. I finally decided it was time because this is the recipe that turned my son, Luke, into a salad lover. Whenever I make it, in fact, I call it “Luke’s salad.” Meghan still won’t eat salad much, but she eats this deconstructed. (SO weird. I don’t get it.) Regardless, it’s worth sharing the recipe that got one kid hooked on salad, wouldn’t you say?!
This Southwest Chicken Salad recipe is sooo easy to throw together for a last minute meal. It’s filled so much nutrients and has an incredible flavor your whole family will love. I know what you’re thinking….there’s no way this meal can be healthy, taste good, and my whole family will eat it. Believe me, it’s a winner!
Ingredients-What You Need
- Romaine Hearts– Romain hearts are the perfect salad base for this recipe. They are also an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin c, folate, and phosphorous.
- Bacon– You can’t go wrong when adding bacon!
- Corn– It wouldn’t be a Southwest Chicken Salad without the corn! It also contains so much fiber and vitamin b.
- Black Beans– Not only do black beans add great texture and flavor, but they are a great source of healthy protein, fiber, and carbs.
- Chicken Breasts– Chicken breasts are a great source of lean protein.
- Grape Tomatoes– Grape tomatoes have a firmer texture and aren’t as sweet as cherry tomatoes. They are perfect for this recipe.
- Red Bell Pepper– Red bell peppers taste delicious, contain so many vitamins, and are super low calorie.
- Avocado– Avocado adds great texture, flavor, and they’re a great way to get your healthy fat intake.
- Salt and Pepper– The only seasonings you need to bring this dish from good to great!
- Dressing– This dressing contains olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, maple, syrup, and minced garlic. It goes perfectly with this salad.
How to make this Southwest Chicken Salad
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon until it’s crisp on both sides (or however you prefer your bacon to be cooked). Remove and allow to cool on a towel-lined plate.
- In that same skillet, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the corn, sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking, and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To that same skillet, add your black beans, more salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Roughly chop the cooled bacon into bits.
- Add your chopped romaine and all of the salad ingredients to a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add all of the dressing ingredients to a container with a lid (I use a mason jar) and shake until well combined.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss until well combined, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe FAQs
Can I use a different Dressing?
Yes! Sometimes people like to use some sort of avocado dressing or southwest ranch. Whatever you prefer!
Can I make this recipe spicy?
Absolutely! I always love a little spice. I would recommend adding in some chopped up jalapeños.
Can I substitute a different lettuce for romaine?
Of course! Romaine hearts have a crunchy texture that I think works well for this type of salad. You’re welcome to use any sort of mixed greens if you would prefer!
Can I prep this for later?
Yes! If you do this, you should hold off on adding your salad ingredients to the romaine. Keep all of your ingredients separate and add them along with the dressing once you’re ready to eat it.
How many will this recipe feed?
This recipe makes 4-6 servings. It feeds my whole family: Me, my husband, and my 2 kids. For a larger crowd, you can always double or triple the recipe!
Looking for more southwest recipes and delicious salads? Try my Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Jalapeño Coleslaw, and Lentil Salad.
If you make this recipe, please leave a star rating below! It’s so helpful for other readers to see which recipes are tried and true! I’d also love to see it–share your photo of this dish and tag me on Instagram, and I’ll feature you!Print
Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
This Southwest Chicken Salad is one that is a crowd pleaser with so many contrasting textures and flavors.
- 8 cups chopped hearts of romaine
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 (15 ounce) corn kernels
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
- 2 cooked skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 10 ounces grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- salt and pepper
For the Balsamic Dressing
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon until it’s crisp on both sides. Remove and allow to cool on a towel-lined plate.
- In the same skillet, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the corn, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the black beans to the same skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Roughly chop the cooled bacon.
- Add the chopped romaine and the rest of the salad ingredients to a large bowl*. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Mix the dressing: add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, and minced garlic to a container with a lid and shake until well-combined.
- Drizzle the salad ingredients with the dressing**and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately.
*You can also create individual salad servings, but one big bowl is quicker and easier.
**A lot of dressing go well here, so if you want to use your favorite store-bought dressing that’s great. Ranch is fantastic with this as well.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: recipes
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Southwest
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 593
- Sugar: 12.2 g.
- Sodium: 1406.4 mg.
- Fat: 34.1 g.
- Carbohydrates: 51.6 g
- Fiber: 17.1 g
- Protein: 26.7 g.
- Cholesterol: 57.6 mg.
Keywords: Southwest Chicken Salad
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Danielle Brown says
Added some roasted salted pepitas in place of bacon. Fantastic!
Oh that’s a great idea. YUM!
Deena Paull says
The perfect summer salad!