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.
Basically, you mix a little bit of your favorite salsa with some ranch, and that's it! Easy peasy. You can use your own homemade ranch and salsa or your favorite brand.
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
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
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!
Miz Helen says
Hope you have enjoyed your new Red Plate and your feature at Full Plate Thursday this week. We pinned your post to our features board and thanks so much for sharing it with us!
Michelle Goth says
My favorite salad to get at restaurants is a southwest salad. This looks just as delicious as any of them!
Thanks, Michelle! I either go for the SW or the Asian. 🙂
Sharon @ What The Fork says
I love loaded salads, this one looks great!
Thanks so much, Sharon! It's one of my favorites. 🙂
Des @ Life's Ambrosia says
What a perfectly flavorful lunch idea! Love it!
Cathy @ Lemon Tree Dwelling says
What a flavor-packed PERFECT salad!
Erin @ The Speckled Palate says
I just adore salads that are so flavorful and this Southwest Chicken Salad is just that! YUM!
It's definitely one of my favorites. Thanks! 🙂
Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious says
I am always looking for new ways to make a salad. This looks amazing! All of those great flavors!!!
I may have gotten a little carried away, but the more toppings, the better! Thanks, Dorothy.
Paula - bell'alimento says
If I'm going to eat salad it's going to be loaded up!