mexican and tex-mex/ Salad

Southwest chicken salad

24 March 2021 By Aleksandra

Delicious southwest chicken salad with juicy, well-seasoned chicken breast, colorful crunchy vegetables, and flavorful avocado cilantro lime dressing.

Southwest chicken salad in a violet bowl.

Ingredients:

Chicken breast – can be substituted for chicken tenders or turkey breast / tenderloin.

Spices for chicken – I used my homemade Fajita seasoning. It’s really simple to make, it contains only 6 spices that you probably already have in your pantry (chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, cumin). You can use these spices just for this recipe or make a bigger batch of the seasoning and use it for many other dishes (I have many on my site, for example: chicken fajita pasta, chicken fajita quesadillas, Mexican zucchini boats. You can also use just store-bought fajita seasoning.

Vegetables – I used canned corn, canned beans (use black beans or kidney beans), cherry tomatoes (you can use any type of tomatoes), crunchy baby romaine salad (iceberg salad would also be great, use a crunchy salad and not delicate leaves), and avocado. Just use any veggies you have on hand! This recipe uses 1/2 can of beans and corn. You can use leftover beans and corn for these vegetarian quesadillas (this recipe also uses the same Fajita seasoning!).

You could also use fresh corn on the cob for this recipe, I have a recipe for roasted corn on the cob and corn on the cob cooked in an Instant Pot.

What could you also add: bell peppers (cut into strips), shaved carrots, thinly sliced red onions or cucumbers.

Cilantro lime avocado dressing – a have a separate post for this delicious dressing! You’ll have more than you need for this recipe, but it’s so good you won’t regret it! Serve it with other salads and dishes (it’s great with any meat).

Ranch dressing would be a quick and good alternative.

Optional topping ideas: crunchy fried tortilla strips!

How to make it vegetarian: swap the chicken for a can of chickpeas! Toss the chickpeas with spices and cook on a pan or roast in the oven until crispy. You could also use tofu or sweet potatoes (it would be best to roast sweet potatoes, at 425°F/220°C for about 15 minutes).

Labeled ingredients for southwest chicken salad.

How to make southwest chicken salad step by step:

A collage of 4 photos showing how to cut avocado.

STEP 1: Prepare the veggies: Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Cut avocado into slices, reserve the other half for the dressing. Drain the corn and beans. Rinse the beans with water.

How to cut avocado: Cut avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Cut one half of the avocado into slices.

Vegetables on a wooden board. Chicken strips tossed with spices in a bowl.


STEP 2: Prepare the chicken: Combine 1 tablespoon of oil with spices. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch (2.5cm) strips. Toss the chicken with the spices and oil until coated on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.

Cooked chicken on a plate. All the ingredients for the salad in a violet bowl.


STEP 3: Cook the chicken: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the chicken strips in a single layer. Cook over high heat for about 1-2 minutes or until browned (don’t stir the chicken). Turn on the other side and cook, stirring from time to time, until the chicken is cooked through.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Alternative preparation method:
– you could grill the chicken
– or bake it (at 425°F/220°C for about 8 minutes or until cooked through).

STEP 4: Assemble the salad: place all the ingredients for the salad in a shallow bowl (divide them between two bowls): cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, lettuce, beans, and corn.

Pour the dressing over the salad.

Enjoy!

How to serve it: you could serve it as shown on the photos (for a nicer presentation) or you could chop all the ingredients and toss with the dressing.

Avocado cilantro lime dressing is being poured over southwest chicken salad.

Storage / Make it ahead:

This salad is great to make ahead! Just prepare all the ingredients and store them separately from the dressing. Pour the dressing over just before serving. You can store the chicken, dressing, and veggies for about 2 days in the fridge (for the best flavor). You can reheat the chicken in the pan or in a microwave. This salad also tastes good cold so it’s perfect for work lunch!

Southwest chicken salad with avocado cilantro lime dressing in a violet bowl.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Southwest chicken salad with cilantro lime avocado dressing

Delicious southwest-style salad with juicy and flavorful chicken breast, colorful veggies, and tangy creamy avocado cilantro lime dressing.
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Southwest chicken salad in a violet bowl.
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Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 generous servings
Calories 897kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the chicken:

  • 2 large chicken breasts 1 lb (450g)
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 2 tablespoons homemade Fajita seasoning or 1.5 ts chili powder, 1 ts garlic powder, 1 ts paprika, 1 ts oregano, 3/4 ts cumin, 3/4 ts onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the salad:

  • 1 head baby romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 (14-oz/400ml) can kidney beans, or black beans
  • 1/2 (14-oz/400ml) can corn
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado

for the dressing:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • a handful of cilantro 20g
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Make the dressing:

  • Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a food processor or blender.
  • Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Make the salad:

  • Combine 1 tablespoon of oil with spices. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch (2.5cm) strips. Toss the chicken with the spices and oil until coated on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the chicken strips in a single layer. Cook over high heat for about 1-2 minutes or until browned (don’t stir the chicken). Turn on the other side and cook, stirring from time to time, until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Take the pan off the heat and stir in the lime juice.
  • Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Cut avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Cut one half of the avocado into slices, reserve the other half for the dressing. Drain the corn and beans. Rinse the beans with water.
  • Assemble the salad: place all the ingredients for the salad in a shallow bowl (divide them between two bowls): cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, lettuce, beans, and corn. Pour the dressing over the salad.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • This salad is great to make ahead! Just prepare all the ingredients and store them separately from the dressing. Pour the dressing over just before serving. You can store the chicken, dressing, and veggies for about 2 days in the fridge (for the best flavor). You can reheat the chicken in the pan. This salad also tastes good cold so it’s perfect for work lunch!
  • Whole batch of homemade Fajita seasoning: 2 Tbsp chili powder (this is a spice mix not pure ground chili peppers), 1 Tbsp of each: cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika.   
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/2 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, Tex-Mex-inspired
Keyword chicken salad with veggies, southwest chicken salad

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