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Southwestern Chicken Salad in a white ceramic salad bowl

Southwestern Chicken Salad

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Chock full of summer vegetables, spicy chicken, cheese and dressed in a lime, cilantro vinaigrette, this Southwestern Chicken Salad will make a healthy meal for the whole family!

A Healthy Salad Recipe with Chicken is light and refreshing, even on the hottest summer day!

Southwestern Chicken Salad in a white ceramic salad bowl

A Healthy, Seasonal Southwestern Chicken Salad

I would rather endure scorching 110ΒΊ temps day after day than have another bitterly cold winter like we experienced in 2014.  You should have seen my get ups during the worst of it.

I often sat at the computer donned in layer upon layer of clothing, my Uggs and a scarf. Brrrrrr.

But spring, then summer finally arrived. I ditched my coats, started making frequent visits to my favorite source for fresh produce down the street, created lighter meals, like this Southwest Chicken Salad recipe, and enjoyed evening walks through the neighborhood with my family. I adore everything to do with summer.

Southwestern Chicken Salad ingredients on a white rectangular platter

A Healthy Salad Recipe with Chicken

I’m a huge fan of an entree salad, utilizing greens like lettuce, arugula or spinach plus the best of the summer veggies and a topping of protein, be it meat, cheese or both. And purchasing seasonal veggies makes this Southwestern Chicken Salad an economical meal. In fact, you may have many of these ingredients right in your own garden.

I was hoping I could convert the hubby with this spectacular recipe, but it was a no-go. I can usually predict these things.  He’s a Mr. Meat and Potatoes kind of guy, so I had some flour tortillas available for him to make a manly wrap using my salad ingredients. He was a big fan of his version.

I’m a huge fan and proponent of entree salads, especially this salad recipe with chicken. This Chicken Greek Salad is tempting me with its Mediterranean flavors and I’d never say no to this Thai Beef Salad, either. And this Chicken Souvlaki Salad is another Mediterranean winner! Some of my favorites from the blog include this Mexican Chopped Salad, Ramen Noodle Salad with Chicken, and this Shrimp and Orange Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette. And if you’re hankering for grilled chicken, these Mustard, Garlic, Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts are incredibly delicious!

Overhead view of Southwestern Chicken Salad

This Tex-Mex Entree Salad is Perfect for a Healthy Fit Lifestyle

We always attempt to eat healthier despite our busy schedules. I love stocking up on sale items, buying loads of chicken breasts when they’re on sale and packing them in family sized portions for my freezer. Hit your farmers’ market for deals on fresh fruits and veggies. Bring your family along and let them help pick out new items to try each week. Having even a small vegetable garden, which the family can all tend to, is another way to introduce new healthy foods into your menus.

I wouldn’t hesitate adding any veggie from my garden to this salad. Freshly picked and steamed green beans or peas would be divine! Besides being economic, tending a garden gets the family outside and off the couch. We always had our children help with digging the shallow trenches, planting the seeds and watering. They were thrilled seeing the first fronds of green peeking through the soil. And they were great little harvesters, too. Keeping active can be fun! This Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe is the perfect excuse to use some of your garden harvest!

More Salad Recipes with Chicken

Ramen Noodle Salad with Chicken

Homemade Chicken Salad

Fruity Chicken Salad

Caprese Salad with Chicken

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Southwestern Chicken Salad

Southwestern Chicken Salad

A lovely vegetables salad with a lime cilantro vinaigrette, chicken, cheese and some Tex-Mex heat!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 4 servings


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For spice rub:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno or a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Salad (these are just suggestions. Use whatever vegetables you'd like):

  • 1-2 Romaine lettuce hearts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, veins removed and sliced or diced
  • 2 ears of fresh sweet corn, grilled or steamed, then kernels removed
  • 1/2 onion, sliced and grilled, then chopped
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Queso fresco (or cheese of your choice), cut into cubes or crumbled


  1. Mix salt and spices together in a small bowl. Rub onto chicken breasts, then grill, cool and shred.
  2. Mix all salad ingredients together in large bowl. In glass jar or measuring cup, mix together dressing ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over salad, mix and serve.


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38 comments on “Southwestern Chicken Salad”

  1. Your salad looks beautiful! I love the Southwestern flavors you used in that spice rub. I bet it’d be fantastic on shrimp or salmon too!

  2. Great tips, Liz! Individual chicken packets in the freezer is a great recommendation for remedying budget concerns…With or without a tortilla wrap, your salad looks fantabulous! Pinned, of course.

    P.s. Summer over winter any day of the week for sure!

  3. I love these kind of salads, they are pefect for the summer! Quick to make it and very good!! Have a nice sunday πŸ˜‰

  4. Lizzy , winter for me since it’s fairly mild in this side of the world πŸ˜€ Re salad nothing beats fresh produce and summer is a great time for it , your refreshingly delish concoction looks sensational for sure !

  5. Seems I’m all about southwestern flavors these days, your salad sounds great! Love the ingredients in the dressing:@)

  6. Your chicken salad looks delicious, refreshing but hearty πŸ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Nice salad Liz and especially the dressing. I do love homemade dressings.

  8. This salad looks so delicious! I just love all the ingredients including such spiced chicken πŸ™‚

  9. I would also prefer a super hot day after day the cold winter like we experienced in 2014 – Summer is the best season! Beautiful food:) I love your salad – especially the freshly grilled corn! Delicious!

  10. This had me a “grilled corn”!

  11. I LOVE Salads for any lunch or dinner, I could live on them when they are full all of these goodies!! I love that you grilled everything!

  12. Liz, I just love your recipe for this delicious chicken salad. It sounds like it will be a winner in my house. Yum!

  13. Love the deconstructed presentation so that everyone can assemble it to their preferences. You could even make lettuce wraps!

  14. I love salads that are packed full of veggies, meat and cheese. This is just my kind of salad.

  15. Liz, this salad looks so good…love the grilled vegetables on this salad! It looks both delicious and healthy and would definitely make a great summer meal. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Liz, this salad looks fantastic. I love every ingredient. Pinned.

  17. Hi Liz, I’m with you in the summertime I prepare us much lighter meals. Love the salad, especially the dressing.

  18. Lizzy this look perfect and delicious!:)

  19. OOO, Liz,
    I adore the rectangular plate of the food separated. DeeeeeeeeeeLISH. xxx

  20. Soooo, you won’t be giving Summer back anytime soon then? I need it to make this salad. πŸ™‚ It looks delicious any way you want to serve it.

  21. I love entree salads too, this is the perfect summer dinner!

  22. This is the perfect summer salad. I love the southwest flavors!

  23. Oh no, if the weather gets too hot I melt. I love sweaters and hot soups – bring on the chill in the air! But I do miss the grill and garden veggies in the winter. This looks delicious and I love the flavors in the spice rub for the chicken.

  24. Southwestern-inspired foods are always a favorite, and this salad looks absolutely wonderful! I’m planning to make it for lunch tomorrow…can’t wait!

  25. This looks utterly delicious and summery!

  26. I love entree salads too. So light and refreshing while also being very satisfying. This looks delicious Liz!

  27. This is one of my favorite salads. It sounds like turning it into a wrap would indeed make the men in our lives happy. πŸ™‚

  28. Like you, I can’t handle the cold. I live in my flip-flops. This salad is a beauty! I love grilled salads in the summer time.

  29. I absolutely love a southwestern style salad! I love that you had the wrap version available for the hubby…versatility is awesome!

  30. Winter 2014 is something I never want to experience again. It hasn’t been blazing hot often but I’m loving that it’s not cold and snowing. This vibrant salad would be welcome any time of the year.

  31. Love the wrap options for the hubs πŸ™‚ As much as I dig a good entree salad in the summer, I’m a sucker for a wrap, too. Great idea, Liz!

  32. I believe this is the big salad that would make Elaine on Seinfeld proud and happy to eat. It makes me happy!

  33. I’m good with 110 – it’s the 117 weather that gets me.

    Love this salad – we do a lot of salads in the summer, and this incorporates some fresh ingredients so you feel like you are experiencing summer.

  34. Lizzy,
    Great way to get the hubby to eat salads. Luckily this summer hasn’t been to warm and I’ve been pretty comfortable.

  35. I’d much rather a cold winter over a boiling hot day- at least when it’s cold, you can wear heaps of clothes and sit in front of the fire!! In summer, there’s not much you can do other than turning on the fans/aircon (which is no good for the environment!) πŸ˜› I really love salads in summer though!! And your salad looks great- the chicken looks so tasty! πŸ™‚

  36. I am a big fan of the whole dinner salad as well, Liz. Especially for hot summer days when just turning the stove on seems to add heat to the room, never mind the oven! Your salad is beautiful!

  37. A lovely fresh looking salad with great flavours on the chicken.

  38. This looks like something we would really enjoy. My husband is always asking for “chicken salad” for dinner. I have pinned this to make soon!

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