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an entrée Southwest Salad with chicken and lots of veggies

Southwest Salad with Chipotle Chicken and Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • Author: amycaseycooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


An awesome and delicious Southwest Salad! With smoky, spicy chicken, crunchy greens, avocado, black beans, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, pepper jack cheese, and a cool, creamy and zesty cilantro lime dressing, you will be making this entrée salad over and over again.



  • 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce and baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 avocados, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup black beans
  • Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing


  1. Place the chicken in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the chipotle powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the seasoned chicken. Sauté the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side, stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate.
  3. On a large platter, assemble the salad. Add the romaine lettuce and baby spinach and scatter the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and cheese on top. Place the chicken on two sections of the salad. Divide the avocado and beans evenly next to the chicken.
  4. At this point, the salad can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
  5. Before serving, drizzle the salad with the Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.  


  • The spice mixture for seasoning the chicken includes many spices in a well stocked pantry. Use a taco seasoning packet in place of the spices if desired.
  • Sautéing the seasoned chicken in a cast iron skillet is my first choice. But sautéing in a large sauté pan, grilling on a grill or baking in the oven are options too.
  • Use any variety of salad greens in the recipe.
  • Feel free to add, leave out, or substitute for any of the salad toppers. Change the kind of bean, use cheddar or colby cheese, even add some crushed tortilla chips if you would like.
  • The Southwest Salad can be assembled up to 4 hours in advance. Just make sure the chicken is cool before adding it. Also drizzle with the Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing right before serving.
  • Category: entree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 760
  • Sugar: 7.1 g
  • Sodium: 1236 mg
  • Fat: 39.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 12 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.2 g
  • Fiber: 16.9 g
  • Protein: 59 g
  • Cholesterol: 127 mg

Keywords: southwest salad, southwest chicken salad, entrée salad, chicken salad

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