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.
Southwest Chopped 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.
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 making 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.
I like to whisk the oil into the other ingredients when making a salad dressing. 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 if you make the dressing ahead of time.
What You Need to Know About Chopped Salad Recipes:
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.
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 with the lime vinaigrette and serve.
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 for long. It’s best on the day it’s made, but safe to eat for about 3 days.
This version is relatively healthy. Without cheese, salami, and meat, the calorie count is less than many chopped salads you’d order from a restaurant. Plus, there are loads of nutrients from all the fresh fruit and vegetables. But portion control is key.
More Tasty Salad Recipes
This is a fabulous summer salad recipe. It’s bound to become a regular offering in July and August every year. Here are a few more salad recipes to check out:
- 29 Epic Salad Recipes from Cookie and Kate
- Strawberry Bacon Brie Salad
- Summer Farro Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Mexican Chopped Salad
- Southwestern Chicken Salad
- More of the Best Salad Recipes
- 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 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 black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 clove 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
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. Mix in right before serving.
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients except olive oil, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.
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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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 10gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g
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