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Southwest Chicken Salad

This fresh and bright southwest chicken salad is perfect for sandwiches, wraps, dips, and so much more. Loaded with juicy chicken, fresh veggies, rich black beans, and a creamy and tangy sauce, this recipe is perfect any day of the week!

Close up of a bowl of southwest chicken salad topped with cilantro

 

I make chicken salad all the time because it’s so easy, tasty, healthy, and affordable. But I like to mix it up and try different versions of this food, which is how I ended up with this amazing southwest chicken salad. It’s loaded with your favorite southwestern flavors, like corn, cilantro, lime, and taco seasoning. But it’s just as easy to make as any other chicken salad. 

This southwestern chicken salad is one of my go-to recipes for a picnic lunch or to make ahead to have for quick lunches during the week. It’s rich and protein-packed, but also light and refreshing. The variety of southwestern flavors go so well together, so you’ve got to try this easy chicken recipe.

Why This Is the Best Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe

Once I found this recipe, I couldn’t stop making it. Here’s why I know you’ll love it, too.

  • So fast and easy. This is such a simple recipe to make. It only takes 10 minutes from start to finish, and the instructions really couldn’t be any easier to follow. It only uses ingredients that you are likely to already have around, so you can whip this up anytime. 
  • Healthy. Southwestern chicken salad might taste like something you’d get while out for a fun lunch, but it’s a really healthy meal. It’s loaded with vegetables, chicken, and beans. There’s no cheese or unhealthy meats, with the only fat coming from mayo (and you can use low-fat mayo if you prefer). You’ll feel great after eating a serving of this easy chicken salad recipe. 
  • Super versatile. One of my favorite things about this fresh and flavorful chicken salad is how versatile it is. It’s great as the base for sandwiches or wraps, or you can serve it as a dip. I love it in lettuce cups or on top of a salad, and you can also eat it plain! 
  • Mess-free. It’s no secret that I love mess-free meals, and this southwest chicken salad is exactly that. All you need is two bowls and a whisk to make this fresh, protein-packed lunch. Your kitchen will hardly notice that you were in it! 
Overhead view of the ingredients needed for southwest chicken salad: a bowl of shredded chicken, a bowl of black beans, a bowl of chopped tomatoes, a bowl of mayo, a bowl of corn, a bowl of chopped onion, a bowl of cilantro, a bowl of taco seasoning, and a bowl of lime juice

Ingredients Needed

There’s so much flavor in this chicken and bean salad, but all of the ingredients are affordable pantry and fridge staples. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article for the exact amounts of each of the ingredients. 

  • Chicken – Use cooked and shredded chicken (leftovers are great for this recipe).
  • Corn – You can use canned corn, thawed frozen corn, or fresh-cooked corn. 
  • Black beans – Make sure to drain and rinse the beans.
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion – Red onion is best for this recipe, but white or yellow onions will work in a pinch.
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Mayo
  • Taco seasoning
  • Lime juice – Always use freshly-squeezed lime juice.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper – Make sure to use fresh cracked pepper. 

How to Make Southwest Chicken Salad

You’ll be shocked at how easy this 10-minute southwestern chicken salad is. Here’s how to make it.

  • Add the salad ingredients. In a large bowl add the chicken, corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and beans. Carefully toss them together until mixed.
  • Make the dressing. Add the mayo, lime juice, and taco seasoning to a small bowl, and whisk until well combined.
  • Mix. Pour the dressing into the bowl with the salad, and toss until the chicken, beans, and veggies are well coated.
  • Adjust. Taste the chicken salad, and add salt and pepper as necessary. The amount you’ll need depends on your taste, and the chicken and taco seasoning that you use. 

Tips and Variations

Here are a few tricks and tips to try when you make this healthy and hearty southwest chicken salad. 

  • Let it chill. This recipe only takes 10 minutes to make, and then you can eat it immediately. But it’s even better if you give it some time to chill. If you have the time, let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or two before you eat it. That will give the chicken time to absorb all the amazing southwestern seasonings. The flavors will meld together, and the salad will firm up a little bit.
  • Use homemade seasoning. I love to make homemade seasonings and spice rubs. One of my favorite spice blend recipes is my Homemade Taco Seasoning. It’s a super simple recipe, so I always have some hand-made taco seasoning in my spice cabinet. Using homemade taco seasoning instead of store-bought seasoning will take this southwestern salad to the next level.
  • Make it spicy. This recipe isn’t very spicy. It just has a little kick from the taco seasoning and the fresh onion. But it goes without saying that southwestern foods are great when made spicy. If you like foods with a kick, you can make this a spicy southwest salad by adding fresh jalapeños or canned green chiles to the recipe. You can also bump up the heat by adding extra chili powder or cayenne powder to the taco seasoning when you make the dressing.  
  • Use lite mayo. Southwest chicken salad is a really healthy recipe. But if you want to make it even healthier, you can do so by using lite mayonnaise, or even replacing some of the mayo with Greek yogurt. 
A burger bun filled with chicken salad with corn and beans, on a plate next to some grapes

What to Serve With This Easy Chicken Salad Recipe

You can eat this southwest chicken salad in sandwiches, wraps, as dip, or so many other ways. But however you eat it, I always like to serve it with some Mexican side dishes, because the flavors of southwestern food and Mexican food obviously go together very well. Here are some of my favorite foods (and drinks!) to serve with this easy chicken salad.

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover southwest chicken salad can be stored in the fridge for at least 3 days. Make sure to store the salad in an airtight container, and give it a stir before serving to make sure that it’s well combined.

Can You Freeze This Recipe?

I don’t recommend freezing this healthy chicken salad. The texture of the fresh veggies will get funky when frozen and then thawed. 

A bowl of southwest chicken salad topped with cilantro, next to a spoon

More Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

Chicken is such a great food to eat for lunch or dinner. It’s affordable, easy to cook, healthy, and so delicious. Here are some more of my favorite chicken recipes for you to try making.

Yield: 6 servings

Southwest Chicken Salad

Close up of a bowl of southwest chicken salad topped with cilantro

Loaded with juicy chicken, fresh veggies, savory black beans, and a tangy, spicy dressing, this southwest chicken salad is an easy and healthy meal. It's perfect for sandwiches, wraps, or dipping chips in.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (approximately 1 pound) cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Carefully toss until well mixed.
  2. In a small bowl, add the mayo, taco seasoning, and lime juice, then whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour the dressing over the chicken salad mixture. Carefully mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Taste the chicken salad, and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary, then serve.

Notes

  • You can serve this chicken salad as a sandwich, in a wrap, on top of a salad, as a dip, or even eat it straight.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days, and stir before eating.
  • I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
  • For the best flavor, chill the chicken salad for 1-2 hours before eating.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 404Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 25gCholesterol 49mgSodium 545mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 4gSugar 3gProtein 15g

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.

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Sandra

Tuesday 10th of October 2023

Such an amazing salad recipe! Packed full of flavors and easy to make! Thanks for sharing!

Catalina

Saturday 7th of October 2023

Such a rich and nutrient salad! It has all the ingredients I like!

Katerina Petrovska

Thursday 5th of October 2023

I would love to try this! It looks and sounds amazing!!

Beti Micevska

Thursday 5th of October 2023

This salad is fantaaastic! I am so excited to try it!

Amanda Batcher

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

The picture alone is making my mouth water! Thank you so much for sharing!

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