Trade in your boring salads for this bright and flavourful Healthy Southwest Chicken Salad recipe. It’s packed with filling protein and fibre, nutritious veggies, and smoky southwest-inspired flavours. Paired with a creamy & healthy southwest dressing that takes 5 minutes to make, this salad is simple to throw together but oh so satisfying.

bowl of southwest chicken salad topped with southwest dressing

If you’ve been around for a while, you already know how I feel about salads. I guess you could say that making healthy salad recipes that actually taste good and leave you feeling satisfied is kind of a passion of mine.

This includes my Crispy Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch, my Chicken Avocado Caprese Salad, and of course, this Southwest Chicken Salad recipe.

overhead image of southwest chicken salad in a white bowl drizzled with southwest dressing

What Makes a Satisfying Salad Anyways?

A bed of veggies is great and all, but if you want to make that salad stick (i.e. fill you up), you need to include some other things.

As a Registered Dietitian, I have a formula for making a healthy and filling salad. It includes several vegetables (try adding at least 2-3), protein – which is a must, a good salad dressing recipe, and my favourite: the satisfaction factor.

The satisfaction factor comes from things that add flavour, texture, and enjoyment to your salad. Some examples include cheese, nuts or seeds, perhaps some crunchy carbs, or fresh herbs.

The great news? This recipe for Southwest Chicken Salad includes all of the above!

ingredients for southwest chicken salad measured out into bowls

The Healthy Southwest Chicken Salad Dressing:

As I mentioned, one of the keys to a healthy, filling, and actually satisfying salad is a good dressing. These days, we can do so much better than just a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.

The creamy Greek-yogurt based smoky Southwest Salad Dressing is one of the key ingredients to this salad recipe, too. It adds a bit of a kick in addition to creamy texture and a smoky yet sweet flavour to every bite.

And all you need to make it is plain Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, honey, lime juice, and a simple blend of spices like paprika, chipotle powder, and coriander.

Ingredient Substitutions:

There is definitely some flexibility when it comes to the ingredients for this southwest salad recipe. Here are my suggestions:

  • Chicken: I use chopped up baked boneless, skinless chicken breast. But you can really use any kind of cooked chicken in this recipe. Like shredded chicken, cut up rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or even sliced up chicken tenders! Why not?
  • Beans: I use canned black beans in this recipe. Alternatively, you can use dried beans that you’ve soaked and cooked yourself. If you don’t prefer black beans, you can use pinto beans or omit the beans altogether and add more chicken.
  • Chips: I use corn chips in this recipe and cannot get enough of them! If you can’t find corn chips or prefer to use something else, crumbled up tortilla chips work just the same.
  • Cilantro: I have made this salad both with and without fresh cilantro, and both versions were delicious. If you aren’t a fan, feel free to omit it.
chopped southwest chicken salad in a bowl tossed with dressing

Make it Ahead of Time:

If you’re packing the salad for lunch or prepping it ahead of time, my only suggestion is to wait and add both the corn chips and the dressing right before serving. This will help to keep the chips crunchy and ensure that none of the veggies get soggy as they soak up the dressing.

Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you try it, let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review in the comments below.

Oh, and be sure to take a photo and tag me at @hannahmagee_rd so I can re-share on my stories!

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bowl of southwest chicken salad topped with southwest dressing

Healthy Southwest Chicken Salad with Chipotle Southwest Dressing

Trade in your boring salads for this bright and flavourful Healthy Southwest Salad recipe. It's packed with filling protein and fibre, nutritious veggies, and smoky southwest-inspired flavours. Paired with a creamy & healthy southwest dressing that takes 5 minutes to make, this salad is simple to throw together but oh so satisfying.
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Ingredients

For the Southwest Chicken Salad:

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup corn, if from a can: drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup black beans, if from a can: drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chicken breast, chopped up
  • 3 tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1/4 medium avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup corn chips
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, stems removed

For the Chipotle Southwest Dressing:

Instructions 

  • Add chopped romaine lettuce to a salad bowl. To the bed of lettuce, add tomatoes, chicken, corn, black beans, avocado, and red onion. Then top with shredded cheese, corn chips, and cilantro leaves.
    salad bowl containing un-dressed southwest salad
  • Drizzle with the Southwest Salad Dressing.
    salad bowl containing southwest chicken salad with chipotle southwest dressing drizzled on top
  • Toss to coat salad with the dressing, then enjoy!
    chopped southwest chicken salad in a bowl tossed with dressing
Did you make this recipe?Be sure to take a photo and tag me at @hannahmagee_rd so I can see!