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Southwest Chicken Salad

Updated on February 20, 2014
Southwest Chicken Salad. Photo by WhiteIsland88.
Southwest Chicken Salad. Photo by WhiteIsland88.

This is a copycat recipe of my favorite salad at a restaurant, pictured above without the pink dressing. This salad, of course, was discontinued, once I realized how delicious it was. (Everything I love gets discontinued. Anybody else experience that? ;)

I got a hankering for it a few weeks ago, and so I whipped it up, to the best of my memory. My husband and I both loved it. There's just something about warm chicken on a cool salad... or hot fudge on ice cream. I love the blended sensations in my mouth.

Please don't take these measurements too literally. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. I know some people don't know what to do with a recipe without measurements, so I added my estimates, but I personally LOVE black beans... and cheese... and the dressing... and I'm a good girl, so I have to pile on my veggies. ;) My point is, I usually add way more than what I listed here (well, I do try to take it easy on the cheese and dressing, even though I love them). Of course, you could also substitute grilled chicken in place of the spicy, to make it a bit more healthy, but I remember it with the spicy, so I went to the store on a mission, and I found that Tyson has a "new!" product, Spicy Chicken Nuggets. :) I was a happy girl.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I have.

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min
  • Yields: 1


  • Lettuce (Romaine, iceberg or other greens, if you like)
  • 1/4 bell pepper (red, green, yellow, orange -- color doesn't really matter, but the salad will be prettier if you use more than one)
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/4 C tortilla strips (usually found in produce, near croutons)
  • 3 -5 spicy chicken nuggets or strips
  • 1/4 C cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 C black beans
  • Dressing:
  • 1 part ranch (Kraft Buttermilk Ranch is delicious, but this time I used Ken's Buttermilk Ranch. Regular ranch is fine, too.)
  • 1 part salsa (My favorite is Pace medium picante sauce)


  1. Stir your ranch and salsa together to make the dressing. (If you prefer a smoother dressing, you can blend it in a blender or food processor.)
  2. Start your chicken cooking, per the directions on the bag. It should take 10-20 minutes, depending on size (nuggets or strips).
  3. Wash and chop your lettuce. Add it to your bowl or plate.
  4. Drain and rinse your beans and sprinkle them on the salad.
  5. Wash and chop the tomato. Add to salad.
  6. Wash and chop the bell pepper. Add to salad.
  7. Shred your cheese, if necessary, and sprinkle over salad.
  8. Sprinkle tortilla strips on the salad.
  9. When chicken is done, slice or dice it, and lay on top of the salad.
  10. Drizzle with dressing, and enjoy!
  11. (If you don't care if it looks pretty, put all of your ingredients (including dressing) in a large reclosable bag. Close it (leaving as much air inside as you can) and shake it all up. This is great for evenly coating the salad with dressing.)
OXO SoftWorks Salad Spinner
OXO SoftWorks Salad Spinner

If you don't have a salad spinner, you don't know what you're missing... so I'll tell you. Salad spinners help drain the water from your greens after washing. I know, this doesn't sound necessary, but it makes a better quality salad, and it's especially helpful if you like to wash your greens and put them in the fridge for quick access when you need something healthy. As we all know, soggy lettuce just doesn't keep. :)

Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick  200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome
Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome

This is the perfect gadget for whipping up your dressing without the hassle of using and cleaning your blender/food processor.



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    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Now that's a salad, I love a good southwest chicken salad, I never made one at home now I'll have to give it a try Thanks:)

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a great looking meal! I'd sub the chicken for mock meat or tofu. Great Lense

    • JohnCumbow profile image

      JohnCumbow 3 years ago


    • WhiteIsland profile image

      WhiteIsland 3 years ago

      @MariannesWhims: Thank you :)

    • MariannesWhims profile image

      Marianne Gardner 3 years ago from Pacific NW, USA

      Looks delicious. You present it so pretty in your photo. I have made a similar salad. Yummy. Good idea for a different dressing.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Oh boy, this looks good. I was wondering where you found the tortilla strips and then you told us! Nice. I'll definitely try this. Even the dressing sounds good.

    • WhiteIsland profile image

      WhiteIsland 3 years ago

      @Charito1962: Thanks, I hope you like it, if you do try it. :)

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Looks good! Hope to try it someday.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 3 years ago from USA

      Simply gorgeous!