Southwest Salad is a super flavorful Tex-Mex Salad, loaded with grilled chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers over a bed of crunchy romaine lettuce! It’s so good as a salad, or wrap it in flour tortillas! This Southwest Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing is a must-try!

southwest salad in a large mixing bowl with black beans, corn, grilled chicken, bell peppers, tomatoes, chipotle ranch dressing, and romaine lettuce

Salads like this make the perfect summer salad to bring to a potluck, gathering, or party! This Southwest Salad was a church potluck find, and makes a large batch! Use leftovers for meal prep or invite friends over, it’s so tasty! Try our Taco Salad that is also guest friendly or our favorite chicken salad that is always a crowd-pleaser!

Southwest Salad with A Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Summer is here and there is nothing more refreshing to eat than a crisp cold salad made with crisp lettuce, grilled fajita-style chicken pieces, black beans, vibrant veggies, like tomatoes and bell peppers, then topped with a vibrant orange chipotle ranch dressing! This is one delicious summer dish and did you know how easy it is to prepare?

Delicious meals are likely to be a hit with family and friends! I was introduced to this refreshing summer dish at an outdoor Church Gathering and boy was this salad the star of the table! It was warm and sunny and everyone just helped themselves to either make a salad or wrap out of this Southwest Salad. Wheat wraps were the choice of tortillas and ranch or prepared chipotle dressing was the side of dressing to chose from.

southwest chicken salad in a mixing bowl with grilled chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, romaine lettuce and a creamy chipotle ranch dressing

Now, you can totally go homemade with the dressing and season and grill your own chicken breasts, but I’m sharing the original version of Roxanne’s Southwest Salad Recipe. All the veggies were freshly sliced but she used a shortcut with the grilled chicken and Chipotle dressing, which in my opinion makes things easier for us busy moms when it comes to making a complete meal!

 

Homemade Chipotle Dressing and Grilled Chicken

Southwest Salad is a Tex-Mex flavor inspired dish that is going to have some Mexican flavors. To make your own Grilled chicken pieces use a dry rub like a fajita seasoning mix. Also, pureeing some adobe chipotle peppers into your favorite ranch dressing will give you a homemade chipotle dressing so let the creativity prolong once you try this Southwest Salad!

how to make southwest salad in a large mixing bowl with black beans, corn, grilled chicken, bell peppers, tomatoes, chipotle ranch dressing, and romaine lettuce

How to make a Southwest Salad:

Southwest Salad with a Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 50 servings
Southwest Salad is a super flavorful Tex-Mex Salad, loaded with grilled chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers over a bed of crunchy romaine lettuce! It's so good as a salad, or wrap it in flour tortillas! This Southwest Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing is a must-try!

Equipment

  • 20-quart stainless steel mixing bowl

Ingredients

Ingredients for Southwest Salad:

  • 5 Romaine lettuce heads
  • 3 cans black beans (15 oz ea)
  • 3 cans corn (15 oz ea)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 bags grilled chicken strips (12 oz each of Fajita flavored)
  • 3 bell peppers (red, orange, green)
  • 16 oz Chipotle ranch dressing

Instructions

How to Make Southwest Salad:

  • how to make southwest chicken salad with corn, black beans, grilled chicken, bell peppers, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and chipotle ranch dressing
    Drain the black beans and corn. Chop the lettuce, dice the tomatoes, and slice the bell peppers.
  • Toss everything but the dressing into a large stainless steel bowl. Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • how to make southwest salad in a large mixing bowl with black beans, corn, grilled chicken, bell peppers, tomatoes, chipotle ranch dressing, and romaine lettuce
    Toss with chipotle ranch dressing before serving and enjoy as a salad or wrap.

Notes

Party Southwest Salad- this makes the perfect summer salad for a crowd!
To scale the recipe down use:
  • 1 1/2 Bunches of Romaine Heads
  • 15 oz can of corn
  • 15 ounces of canned black beans 
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced
  • 12 oz Chicken Fajita Strips 
  • 1 bell pepper (mix and match by using 1/3 pepper of green, red, and orange bell peppers.) Serves 15.
Homemade Chipotle Ranch Dressing: Puree 1 or 2 adobe peppers with your favorite ranch dressing! 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1servingCalories: 141kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 9gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 116mgPotassium: 244mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 630IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg

Q&A

What is a Southwest Salad?

Southwest Salad is a super flavorful Tex-Mex Salad, loaded with grilled chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers over a bed of crunchy romaine lettuce! It’s so good as a salad, or wrap it in flour tortillas!

Dressings to use for Southwest Salad:

  • Chipotle Ranch Dressing
  • Lime Vinaigrette
  • Avocado dressing
  • Creamy Cilantro dressing
  • Cilantro Ranch Dressing
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Creamy Jalapeno Sauce

How do you make a Southwest Pasta Salad?

To make a complete meal out of a Southwest Salad simple toss with your favorite cooked pasta noodles for a Southwest Pasta Salad.

Make it healthier by incorporating cooked quinoa instead!

What goes into a Southwestern Chicken Salad?

This recipe is super easy and efficient to make! Here is what you’ll need to make a Mex-Tex Southwestern Salad!

  • Romaine lettuce- use any green leaf lettuce you enjoy!
  • corn- canned whole kernel corn is the best or grill and cook your own corn, and slice it off the cob!
  • black beans- use canned black beans rinsed and drained.
  • tomatoes- Roma or beefsteak tomatoes, diced.
  • grilled chicken- I used pre-cooked Grilled Chicken Strips in a Fajita Seasoning but you can make your own grilled chicken breasts by seasoning it with your favorite rub and then grilling it or pan-searing it.
  • bell peppers- make it vibrant and use different colored bell peppers. I used red, orange, and green.
  • Bottle of Chipotle Ranch Dressing- Mine was from Walmart the Great Value Brand. Make your own chipotle dressing by pureeing a couple adobe chipotle peppers with your favorite ranch dressing.

ingredients for Southwest Chicken Salad

 

How to make a Party-Sized Southwest Salad, to feed a crowd?

This Southwest Salad recipe makes a large batch since it calls for 5 heads of romaine lettuce! If you ever shop at Costco there Romaine lettuce comes in a bulk package of 6. Canned beans and corn are pretty efficient and you only need tomatoes and bell peppers as the fresh veggies. The ready-to-use grilled chicken pieces can be found at Aldi grocery stores in the fridge section. I purchased fajita-style grilled chicken pieces.

Making a large batch is not only a very cost-efficient way to feed a crowd, but it is also a great way to use leftovers as meal prep through the busy week. Just toss with your favorite salad dressing before serving!

To scale down Southwest Salad use:

  • 1 1/2 Bunches of Romaine Heads
  • 15 oz can of corn
  • 15 ounces of canned black beans
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced
  • 12 oz Chicken Fajita Strips
  • 1 bell pepper (mix and match by using 1/3 pepper of green, red, and orange bell peppers.)

How to Grill Chicken?

Don’t be intimidated to use a grill! It’s quite simple. Just turn on your grill and set the flame to high. (Most grill settings will take care of that for you unless you’re using a charcoal grill.)

Pound the Chicken- Boneless Chicken Breats come in thick sections. Pound the chicken breasts with a meat mallet for even cooking. Or you can simply skip all of this and use pre-packaged grilled chicken strips.)

Season the chicken- toss the chicken in oil and 1 Tbsp of Fajita seasoning mix. Mix to coat.

Grill the chicken- place chicken breasts onto the pre-heated grill and lower the temperature down to medium heat. Close the grill and set the timer to 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Chicken is done when inserting a thermometer and it reads 165°F.

Rest the Chicken- place the chicken breasts onto a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This helps the juices settle in well.

Can I Make-Ahead South West Salad?

Absolutely! Southwest Salad is a great salad to make in advance. Make sure to drain all the canned goods first, and wipe dry any veggies before combining. Add the dressing just before serving so it doesn’t sog up the lettuce leaves. Keep stored in the fridge.

Since this recipe makes a big batch, it’s likely not to fit in the fridge with the bowl. Toss the salad without the dressing into a clean grocery bag or gallon-sized freezer bags and keep cool in the fridge until serving. This will be a huge space saver!

Storing leftovers: place salad into individual containers for meal prep or into a smaller bowl to store in the fridge when you have leftovers.

How to make Homemade Chiptole Ranch Dressing?

I took a shortcut and used Great Value prepared Chipotle Ranch Dressing for the dressing to this Southwest Salad. If you would like to make homemade Chipotle Ranch Dressing, try to puree an adobe Chipotle pepper with your favorite ranch dressing. Use as many peppers to get the right color and taste of your dressing!

What Seasoning Rub is Best for Grilled Chicken in a Southwest Salad?

Since a Southwestern Chicken Salad is Tex Mex kind of salad, Mexican flavors go best. If preparing your own chicken breasts rub or season your chicken with a taco seasoning or Fajita Seasoning Mix.

Tips for Southwest Salad Recipe:

  1. Host a party with this Southwest Salad!
  2. Let guests pick and dress it up as a salad or Southwest wrap!
  3. Make it in advance by tossing everything but the dressing together and keeping it cold.
  4. Make your own Chipotle Ranch Dressing by adding pureed Chipotle Peppers to your favorite ranch dressing!

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