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two bowls of southwestern salad recipe with gold fork

Southwest Chopped Salad

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Food Processor, Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Here is an incredibly delectable Southwest Chopped Salad with the right balance of heat, sweet, crunch, crisp and tender vegetables. Tossed with a creamy chipotle lime dressing and finished with taco seasoned chicken, this is an entree salad recipe best served with extra dressing to go around.




2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce

½ cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp garlic powder

12 tsp honey

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp olive oil

Pinch of Kosher salt

4 tbsp water

Chicken Breasts:

23 chicken breasts

2 tbsp taco seasoning, store-bought or homemade

Juice from ½ lime

2 tsp olive oil


8 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce, about 1 large head

½ cucumber, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced (remove seeds for less spice)

1 handful cilantro, finely chopped + more for garnish

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup corn, drained and rinsed

½ cup roasted pepitas

⅓ cup crumbled cotija cheese

1 cup crumbled tortilla chips

1 avocado, sliced (¼ per salad)

Limes, for garnish


  1. Make the dressing: In a food processor, blend together chipotles in adobo sauce, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic powder, honey, lime juice, olive oil and salt together until smooth. Stream in water to thin the dressing out a bit. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to top salads.
  2. Bake chicken breasts: Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub chicken breasts with an even layer of taco seasoning, lime juice and olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the inside of the chicken breast reaches 165 F. Set aside to rest and prepare the salad. 
  3. Assemble salad: In a large bowl, mix together romaine lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, black beans, corn, pepitas, cotija cheese and half of the tortilla chips. Add ½ cup dressing and mix together until tossed and coated. Serve remaining dressing on the side for drizzling. 
  4. Top salad bowls: Finish each serving with remaining chip crumbles, sliced avocado, extra cilantro sprigs and a wedge of lime. Slice or dice the cooked chicken breasts and serve on top or on the side of the salads.


Prep the dressing, chicken and salad ingredients and store them all in separate airtight containers in the fridge.

Keywords: cilantro, lime, lettuce