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.
Table of Contents
Why this Salad is Best
The avocado 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.
How to Make Southwest Salad
You could choose to layer the ingredients in a trifle bowl like a 7 layer salad.
Or serve the salad in individual bowls already prepared and top with dressing upon serving.
Finally, you could make a southwest salad bar. Each topping in it’s own bowl and the family and guests can create a unique salad using topping they enjoy.
Swap out the avocado dressing for our homemade ranch dressing instead!
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.
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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.
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 :))
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?
Freezer to mixer!
This salad looks amazing, packed with flavor! And the avocado dressing…drooling over here!
South west flavors are my favorites! I love it in this awesome colorful salad!!! And avocado dressing? I am in love!!!
Wow, this salad looks awesome! So colorful. And that avocado dressing…. ahh. Amazing.
I love Dorot! Makes things so easy! And avocado is always a favorite! Yum!
I love Dorot too! So awesome to keep them on hand in the freezer!
I am not a huge dressing fan but oh this sounds amazing. And that salad! Sign me right up.
Thanks Emily, I love salad, and the dressing on this one makes it a complete package 🙂
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.
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.
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!
Heatwave sounds lovely!!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I love using greek yogurt in the place of other things. This dressing looks to die for. Yum.
I haven’t been enjoying salads nearly enough but I’m totally craving this one!
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!
I know what you mean, between hummus and avocado I’m an addict 🙂
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!
Cilantro never lasts at our house! If you can find the frozen herbs give them a try!!!
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.
Let me know if you try it!! It’s so creamy and delish!!
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. 😉
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.