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