Loaded Southwest Chicken Salad is bursting with spicy seasoned chicken, black beans and roasted corn and topped with an easy salsa ranch dressing. Your taste buds will definitely approve!
When the warms up, I'm all about salads for lunch and dinner. We're not talking about ordinary, run-of-the mill salads, either. No way!
We're talking about bright, colorful salads that are loaded with protein, fresh fruit or veggies and tons of flavor. Sound good to you? I hope so, because we've got this amazing Southwest chicken salad on the menu today.
It takes about 30 minutes to make, especially if you do the prep earlier. And it really is light, fresh quick and easy dinner that's perfect for summer.
Whenever we eat out, I love to check out the salad menu, especially in the summerime. The Hubs thinks I'm crazy, since he's usually drooling over the burgers and meaty sandwiches. But I really enjoy digging into a bowl of fresh greens, and I love trying to re-create the same salad at home.
Not long ago, we tried out a new restaurant, and I ordered their Southwest chicken salad. And it was just okay. It wasn't bad, and actually the chicken had a lot of flavor, but it was mostly just chicken on top of lettuce, with a few black beans and tomatoes thrown in. Call me crazy, but I guess I expect more from my salads!
So, I decided to make my own version of this easy dinner salad. I started out by seasoning the chicken really well with a mix of salt, garlic powder, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. This is my go-to blend whenever we have any kind of Mexican or Southwestern cuisine. Sometimes, I'll throw in a pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne for extra spice, but this is a good base that's mild enough that even the kids enjoy.
As the chicken cooks, the seasoning forms a nice crust, so it's almost like blackened chicken -- yum! Right before the chicken was done, I added some jalapenos, a squirt of lime juice and some corn and let the corn cook until it was a nice and golden brown. This really brings out the flavor and adds so much to any dish.
Finally, I threw in some black beans at then end. Then, I spooned the chicken mixture over some fresh greens and added a mix of radishes, avocados, tomatoes and cilantro, plus a little bit of cheese and a drizzle of salsa ranch dressing.
Now this is what I call a salad!
Recipe for Loaded Southwest Chicken Salad
Loaded Southwest Chicken Salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
- ½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup cooked corn or thawed frozen corn
- 1 lime juice
- fresh salad greens
- 1 avocado seeded and sliced
- 4 radishes sliced thin
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Salsa Ranch Dressing
- ¼ cup ranch dressing
- 2 tablespoons salsa
- Cut chicken into strips or smaller pieces, and season with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder and paprika
- Add olive oil to a large skillet, and cook chicken on medium high heat until brown, stirring frequently
- Add corn and jalapenos, and cook until corn is golden brown and jalapenos are slightly soft
- Drizzle lime juice over chicken mixture
- Reduce heat to medium, stir in black beans, cook until just warm, and remove from heat
- Arrange lettuce on plates, and top with chicken mixture and additional toppings
- Serve with salsa ranch dressing
- In a small bowl, mix ranch with salsa until combined, and serve with salad
This hearty loaded Southwest chicken salad makes an easy dinner that your whole family can enjoy. Even my picky eaters love it, so score one for mom!