Southwest Chicken Salad

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  • This Southwest Chicken Salad is a delicious salad made with seasoned chicken breast and bold flavors of the southwest. It’s paired with a cilantro lime dressing and tortilla strips for added crunch!

    angle close up of southwest chicken salad with avocado

    If I am going to eat a salad for a meal, it needs to be very filling and super flavorful. This Southwest Chicken Salad checks both those boxes.

    Serve creamy sliced avocado, flavorful seared chicken, bean and corn salad, and crisp tortilla strips on a bed of shredded romaine lettuce. I paired this hearty southwest salad with a simple and creamy cilantro lime dressing.

    Making Juicy Chicken on the Stovetop

    To make the seared seasoned chicken for this salad I first pound it thin with a meat tenderizer. The thinner chicken breasts are easy to sear quickly in the pan without drying them out.

    how to make southwest chicken

    Just season the chicken breasts on both sides with a seasoning mixture. Then sear them in a cast iron skillet for a few minutes on each side.

    When the chicken breasts reach 165°F, take them out of the pan and let them rest on the cutting board. They should be cooked through and juicy when sliced into strips for the salad.

    Making your own is super simple, but you can also pick up a packet of fajita or taco seasoning and call it a day. The same seasoning also works on steak, pork or even shrimp or salmon. Make it vegetarian, if you want!

    angle of southwest chicken salad

    Southwest Chicken Salad Ingredients

    These ingredients are very verstile and can be omitted or increased as needed.

    • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – I used 2 breasts for this recipe that together weighed about 1 pound.
    • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika and chili powder – to make a dry seasoning blend for the chicken.
    • Red onion, sweet corn and black beans – mix these three together with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt. I use canned corn and beans, but frozen or fresh is fine too. Just make sure they are cooked!
    • Romaine lettuce – the perfect hearty base for any salad, I like to chop mine for easier eating.
    • Oil for searing the chicken- any neutral oil will do.
    • Sliced avocado – creamy avocado pairs perfectly with the seasoned chicken.
    • Tortilla strips – for an extra crunch – just mash up some tortilla chips.
    • Cilantro Lime Dressing- made super quick in a blender with cilantro, lime, olive oil, honey, rice vinegar and plain Greek yogurt, it comes together in a snap.
    ingredients for southwest chicken salad

    How to Make a Southwest Chicken Salad

    1. Season and sear the chicken. Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and chili powder in a small mixing bowl. Take chicken breast and place under a sheet of plastic wrap or in a plastic bag and pound with a meat tenderizer until the chicken is half its original thickness.

    Season the chicken on both sides with the seasoning blend. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan over medium heat.

    When the oil is warm add the chicken to the pan. Cook chicken on each side for 6 minutes each side.

    seared southwest chicken on a plate

    Ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F then remove from the pan.

    1. Prepare other southwest chicken salad ingredients. While the chicken cooks combine beans, corn, diced red onion, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

    Finely chop the romaine lettuce and slice the avocados. Prepare the dressing by blending all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

    creamy cilantro lime dressing
    1. Slice Chicken and assemble salad. Slice the slightly cooled chicken breast into strips. Assemble the salads by placing the lettuce on a serving plate.
    overhead of southwest chicken salad on an oval plate

    Top with the bean and corn salad, chicken, avocado, and tortilla strips. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve.

    Making Ahead of Time

    If you would like to make this Southwest Chicken Salad ahead of time, I recommend cooking the components head of time and assembling the salad just before eating. Chicken will be good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

    angle of chicken salad with cilantro lime dressing

    Prep the chicken breast, bean and corn salad, and dressing store separately in the fridge. Chop all other ingredients just before serving and assemble the salad.

    southwest chicken salad for pinterest

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    green dressing pouring over salad

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    dressed southwest chicken salad
    Print Recipe
    5 from 5 votes

    Southwest Chicken Salad

    This Southwest Chicken Salad is a delicious salad made with seasoned chicken breast and bold flavors of the southwest. It's paired with a cilantro lime dressing and tortilla strips for added crunch!
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time20 mins
    Total Time30 mins
    Course: Salad
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: chicken salad, southwest chicken salad
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 545kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Southwest Chicken Salad

    Cilantro Lime Dressing

    Instructions

    • Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and chili powder in a small mixing bowl. Take chicken breast and place under a sheet of plastic wrap or in a plastic bag and pound with a meat tenderizer until the chicken is half its original thickness. Season the chicken on both sides with the seasoning blend.
    • Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan over medium heat. When the oil is warm add the chicken to the pan. Cook chicken on each side for 6 minutes each side. Ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F then remove from the pan.
      how to make chicken in a skillet
    • Combine lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, honey, rice vinegar and yogurt in a small food processor or blender. Pulse until fully combined.
    • While the chicken cooks combine beans, corn, diced red onion, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Finely chop the romaine lettuce and slice the avocados.
    • Slice the slightly cooled chicken breast into strips. Assemble the salads by placing the lettuce on a serving plate. Top with the bean and corn salad, chicken, avocado, and tortilla strips. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve.
      assembly of salad
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 668mg | Potassium: 807mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1778IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
    overhead of dressed southwest chicken salad

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