This southwest chicken salad is like a little party for your taste buds! It has loads of veggies, cubes of chicken, some blue corn tortilla chips (for crunch) and a delicious smoky chipotle lime dressing. It’s a big salad, hearty enough for a satisfying and delicious dinner.
Popping in with this quick salad recipe for ya right before the weekend! I love big salads (and this mixed green salad with fruit is one of my faves, especially in the summer months).
I remember years ago having a dinner-sized salad (somewhat similar to this one) at a restaurant, only it had breaded chicken, bacon and cheese. Super tasty but not the healthiest salad in the world.
I wanted to lighten things up a bit with this southwest chicken salad. It has all the flavour with less of the nasty stuff. Sounds good to me!
Why We Love Southwest Chicken Salad
- The recipe uses leftover chicken (great for reducing food waste).
- It comes together quickly, perfect for an easy lunch or dinner.
- It’s loaded with simple ingredients, like chicken, veggies and beans.
- Of course, it tastes delicious!
Chipotle Lime Dressing
You’re going to want to put this chipotle lime dressing on everything!
What makes it so good? Chipotle peppers!
Chipotle peppers are actually jalapenos that have been smoked and dried. Typically, you can find them in the supermarket where you would find tortillas and salsa. You can purchase them dried in a bag or in a can with adobo sauce (how I like to get them).
What’s adobo sauce? Like the chipotle peppers themselves, the adobo sauce has a smoky heat. It’s typically made with ancho chilies, spices like salt, pepper and oregano. It has a rich reddish or brownish hue and adds so much flavour to recipes. We regularly stock our pantry with cans of chipotle peppers and use them in sauces like this homemade dressing, in soup and in chili.
I would recommend tasting one (like, a small nibble) before adding to a dish. Not all chili peppers are created equal. And, even amongst the same variety of chili peppers, the heat level can vary.
I remember one time hubby and I bought fresh jalapeno peppers and there was literally no heat to them. Like, hubby bit into it as he would an apple. Nothing (though, hubby can eat some spicy stuff, let me tell ya).
Chipotle peppers are something I regularly use in sauces, especially for salads and tacos. I hardly ever buy store-bought dressings. Once you make your own, there’s no going back. Plus, you can make enough for what you need at any given time without a bunch of extra bottles in your fridge.
To make this dressing, you simply combine everything together in a mini food processor and process until smooth. Then it’s ready to use!
Tips for Making This Recipe
- This salad is super easy to put together, especially since it uses leftover rotisserie chicken. Don’t have any? You can cook a couple of small chicken breasts if you like. Let them rest and cool slightly before adding to your salad. You don’t want the lettuce to wilt.
- I used red and green leaf lettuce, but you can easily swap out for arugula, spinach or your favourite lettuce.
- The quantities of each ingredient, especially the toppings are a suggestion. Like more corn, add it! Not fussy on avocado, omit. Feel me?
- Fresh or frozen (thawed) corn works here. Frozen won’t have that same pop of freshness but will do in a pinch.
More Easy Salad Recipes
- Apple and Gouda Mixed Green Salad
- Winter Green Salad With Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
- Blueberry Spinach Salad
If you make this southwest chicken salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
Southwest Chicken Salad With Chipotle Lime Dressing
Southwest Chicken Salad
- 8 cups chopped red and green leaf lettuce
- 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
- ⅓ cup bell pepper, diced
- ⅓ cup canned no salt added black beans , rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup corn kernels
- ½ avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
- 6 tortilla chips, or to taste
Chipotle Lime Dressing
- 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, depending on how spicy you like things
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from about half a lime
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- pinch salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped cilantro
- Make the salad: Distribute lettuce between two bowls. Top with cooked chicken, bell pepper, black beans, grape tomatoes, corn kernels, avocado and tortilla chips, distributing equally between bowls.
- Make the chipotle lime dressing: Place the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, Greek yogurt, lime juice, water, mayonnaise, sugar, salt and black pepper into a mini food processor and process until smooth. If you don't have a food processor, finely chop chipotle peppers and whisk in a bowl with remaining ingredients until smooth.
- Drizzle chipotle lime dressing over top of the salad. Garnish to taste with cilantro, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!