Southwest Chicken Salad

This Southwest Chicken Salad is a hearty mix of fresh veggies and chicken. Black beans, cheese and a creamy avocado dressing give even more southwestern flair to your colorful meal!

We love one-bowl meals. If you like this chicken salad, you’ll want to make my Southwest Chicken Chowder recipe soon too.

Southwest Chicken Salad with a creamy Avocado Dressing

Why this Salad is Best

  • Homemade avocado dressing. The dressing on our Southwest Chicken Salad is what sets it apart from your everyday dinner salad. You’ll want to put it on anything and everything.
  • Nourishing and satisfying. No one will leave the table hungry after enjoying a big bowl of this salad!
  • Eat the rainbow! If you’re trying to get more color on your family’s plate at meal times, this salad is the perfect way to go.
  • Delicious variety of textures and flavors. With tender chicken and beans, juicy corn and tomatoes, crisp greens and a creamy dressing, every bite of salad gives you a little something different!
  • Easy to make. It takes minutes to toss together Southwest Chicken Salad with avocado dressing, especially if you have the chicken cooked ahead of time.
Southwest Chicken Salad with a creamy Avocado Dressing

Ingredient Notes

For the salad itself we start with staples of southwest cuisine like black beans, corn and cherry tomatoes.

  • Chicken breast. Cook and dice the chicken using your preferred method. Or cut up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to make the recipe even easier! Swap out the chicken and use leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving or holiday turkey!
  • Salad mix. Use any blend of salad greens you enjoy like romaine lettuce or a spring mix.
  • Tortilla strips. We love the ones with southwest seasoning for a crunchy, flavorful salad topping!
  • Cheese. Shredded cheddar cheese or a shredded Mexican cheese blend are my preferences salads like this one.
  • Avocado. Make sure it’s ripened for a creamy base to the homemade dressing.
  • Greek yogurt. Plain unsweetened yogurt adds the perfect tangy flavor to the dressing. Sour cream can also be used.
  • Tabasco sauce. Or use any other hot sauce you like in the dressing for a spicy kick.

How to Make Avocado Dressing

Homemade salad dressing is one of the easiest things to make! Avocado dressing takes a little more effort than my Homemade Italian Salad Dressing but a blender does most of the work.

STEP 1. Get your ingredients ready.

Peel your avocado, mince a glove of garlic and snip off a handful of cilantro leaves.

STEP 2. Puree

Add the avocado, Greek yogurt and lemon juice to a food processor. Process until the mixture looks smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and process again until it’s nice and creamy.

That’s it!

Southwest Salad and creamy Avocado Dressing

Recipe FAQs

How do I know if my avocado is ripe?

To tell if your avocado is ripe, give it a gentle squeeze. If it yields a bit, it is ripened enough to use in avocado dressing.
Avocados darken as they ripen, so the color can give you a good idea of your avocado’s status. It should be dark green or nearly black before eating.

How do I store this avocado dressing?

If you aren’t planning to use all the dressing right away, store it in a mason jar or other sealable container in the refrigerator.
The ingredients may separate as the dressing sits. When this occurs, give the bottle or jar a good shake to recombine everything before adding it to your salad.

Is the dressing spicy?

This avocado dressing gets its spiciness from the added Tabasco sauce. If you want it to be spicier, just add a little more Tabasco to taste!

What substitution can I make?

There are tons of ways to customize this salad and change up the flavors.
You could substitute pinto beans or kidney beans for the black beans. Swap the chicken for other proteins like cooked turkey or beef. Try it with different combinations of shredded cheese and all kinds of greens.
If you’re not a fan of avocado dressing, top your Southwest Chicken Salad with my homemade Ranch Dressing instead!

More Easy Lunch Recipes

Yield: Serves 4

Southwest Chicken Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

This Southwest Chicken Salad is a hearty mix of fresh veggies and chicken. Black beans, cheese and a creamy avocado dressing give even more southwestern flair to your colorful meal!


For the salad:

  • 4 cups salad mix
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • ¼ cup southwest tortilla strips

For the dressing:

  • 1 avocado, ripe
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 6 ounce plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful cilantro, snipped
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Arrange salad ingredients in 4 salad bowls.
  2. For the dressing, in a food processor, add avocado, lemon juice and greek yogurt. Process for about 3 minutes until smooth.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and process an additional 3 minutes. Serve with salad and enjoy!


  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 405mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Southwest Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing comes together in minutes for a nourishing, satisfying meal you’ll love any day of the week.

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on January 17, 2014

Comments & Reviews

  1. Great your site.When i view your article and view your site have good.I like your site.I have feel good in your content the best.thanks for this nice information.

  2. I was wondering what the ratio would be for the garlic and cilantro if not using cubes? I cant get them where I live so I’d have to use the real thing. Thanks in advance.

  3. Just made avocado dressing for the first time yesterday! It’s seriously the BEST dressing ever – I was missing out all these years! Yours sounds delicious too :))

  4. Quick and possibly dumb question – for the Dorot, do you need to microwave them first before mixing for the dip, or do you just go straight from freezer to mixer?

  5. South west flavors are my favorites! I love it in this awesome colorful salad!!! And avocado dressing? I am in love!!!

  6. This looks amazingly delicious – especially the dressing! I love Greek yogurt and have been using it for all kind of new things lately, like salad dressing and dips – such a great alternative to mayo.

  7. What a beautiful salad! I have seen these frozen herbs and garlic at the store but never tried them. Since I also live in the Midwest this is a great option.

  8. With the heatwave we are having here in Australia at the moment we are living on salads! Love the idea of adding tortilla strips to a salad and can’t wait to try the dressing!

  9. I am such a Greek yogurt addict! And avocados disappear when I’m around. Healthy Mexican? Hello happiness! I love all the colors and textures in this salad!

  10. That dressing looks and sounds fantastic! And the frozen herbs…what a convenience! I always buy a bunch of fresh cilantro and just end up using a few sprigs. This seems like a great alternative!

  11. I have to admit that we don’t have as many salads as we should at our house. I’ve been trying to add a side salad to our dinners for the past week. Love the idea of this dressing. I’m definitely going to try it next time I make a shopping trip.

  12. Now here is a salad I can get excited about! And THAT DRESSING OMG WHAT IS THAT?! Can it be directly funneled into my mouth? I guess that defeats the purpose of healthier eating…but..also…I want to eat it all. Right now. 😉

  13. MMMmm, Southwest Salads are one of my favorites!
    The avocado dressing looks perfect….I bet the Greek yogurt addition makes it so thick and creamy.
    Man, now I want salad for breakfast. Maybe that’s weird, but I’m over it.

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