When tender, fresh sweet corn and other tasty summer produce is available, it’s the perfect time to whip up a tasty Southwest Chopped Salad. Chock full of seasonal ingredients like garden tomatoes, juicy ripe peaches, and corn kernels fresh off the cob and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette, this loaded salad makes an amazing side dish or vegetarian lunch!

This Summer Salad Recipe can easily be tweaked with your favorite garden or farmers’ market ingredients. Add it to your menu before the season ends.

Overhead view of Southwest chopped salad in a large white serving bowl

Why You Should Make this Salad

  • A chopped salad is just what you’d expect, a salad full of chopped or diced ingredients. Highly adaptable, shop for beautiful summer produce substituting with what catches your eye.
  • The corn, black beans, tomatoes, peppers, avocados, and a light vinaigrette with cilantro give it a Tex-Mex flair.
  • Tossing in some minced jalapeno can add some heat and mangos instead of peaches work, too. If you don’t like cucumbers, leave them out. You can tweak the ingredients to your palate.

Tips for Making a Chopped Salad

  • Make sure everything is chopped into bite-sized pieces. I also like to remove the skin on the tomatoes and peaches, but it’s not necessary if you’re short on time.
  • PRO-Tip: To make peeling easy, cut a shallow X into the skin on the non-stem side of these fruits, and drop them carefully into a pot of boiling water. After about 30-60 seconds, remove them to a bowl of ice water. The skins can then be easily removed with your fingers or a paring knife.
  • Defrosted frozen corn can be used if fresh corn is not available. Any ingredients can be eliminated due to personal preference without compromising the salad. Just add extra of something else.
  • Toss everything in a large serving bowl or make a composed salad by arranging the different components on a platter.
  • Whisk the oil into the other ingredients when making a salad dressing. By drizzling the oil in while whisking, the mixture will emulsify, becoming a thick and silky dressing instead of separating.
  • But you can also use a canning jar and shake vigorously. The vinaigrette will not stay emulsified with a jar, but it will work well if you plan to dress the whole salad at once. Just reshake before serving if you make the dressing ahead of time.
Small white bowl of black bean and corn salad

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Chopped Salad?

A chopped salad, in contrast with a typical tossed salad, is composed of all chopped ingredients which are mixed together. This ensures you get lots of flavors and textures with every forkful.

How do you make a Chopped Salad?

First make your salad dressing, mixing all the ingredients together except the oil. Slowly add the oil while whisking, allowing the dressing to emulsify or become homogeneous.

Next, chop all the salad ingredients. You can make exceptions as I did with my mini cucumbers and corn for a little variation in sizes and shapes. If you’re not going to serve immediately, wait to add the avocados and peaches or any other ingredient that will oxidize until the last minute. Toss and serve.

How long does a Chopped Salad Last?

Unfortunately, once the avocados and peaches are added, they may start to brown. This makes it hard to keep this chopped southwest salad looking fresh. It’s best on the day it’s made, but safe to eat for about 3 days.

Are Chopped Salads Healthy?

This version is pretty healthy. Without cheese, salami, and meat, the calorie count is less than some you’d order from a restaurant. Plus, there are loads of nutrients from all the fresh fruit and vegetables. But portion control is key.

Chopped salad collage of ingredients in a bowl and finished salad in a bowl

More Tasty Salad Recipes

Overhead view of loaded black bean salad

Southwest Chopped Salad Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 8

A summer chopped salad featuring seasonal produce with a southwest flair!

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (I cooked the corn briefly in boiling water, then removed the kernels from the ears of corn).
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 fresh peaches, peeled, pits removed and diced
  • 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced or 1/3 English cucumber, diced
  • 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • I/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon. honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add all salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl and toss. Reserve the avocado and peaches if you're making the salad ahead of time to mix in right before serving.
  2. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients except olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

Notes

Adapted from Little Broken.

May use chopped grape tomatoes if good quality tomatoes aren't available.

For a spicier version, add some diced jalapeno to taste.

I like to start with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, taste and add more if needed.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 10gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g

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Overhead view of loaded black bean salad