Want to add a little crunch? These easy homemade tortilla strips are a great topping as well!
It’s definitely been comfort food season around here! More and more dishes like these have been finding their way onto the blog lately:
- One Pot Lasagna Soup
- Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
- Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage & Sage
But… I thought it was time to switch things up a bit and add something with a bit more color, fresh flavors and crunch. Otherwise, I may just come out of this winter hibernation with no vitamins remaining in my system and not a single pair of jeans in my closet that fit.
This Southwest Chicken Salad with fresh pico de gallo is just that dish to break out of that fall/winter eating rut. Lots of bright, fresh vegetable flavors, using produce that is widely available year round – cherry tomatoes, romaine, avocado, and cilantro. Don’t those flavors just make you think of a bright, cheery, sunny day? We can pretend…
The chicken breasts are rubbed in a chipotle chili powder, for a slightly spicy, smoky flavor. Then black beans are thrown into the mix, and a fresh lime vinaigrette finishes the whole thing off.
I also added on some of my easy homemade tortilla strips for some extra crunch!
I may just survive the winter slump with this dish in my arsenal.
PS – Have you tried making Instant Pot black beans? They turn out super flavorful and can be made in under an hour with no soaking!
What’s in a Southwestern Chicken Salad?
- Romaine Lettuce
- Chipotle Seasoned Chicken Breast
- Black Beans (have you tried making Instant Pot black beans?)
- Pico de Gallo
- Tortilla Strips
Want to make this salad even more hearty? Try turning this into a Quinoa Southwest Salad by adding in some fluffy quinoa. (I love making my quinoa in the instant pot too!)
What’s the best Southwest Salad Dressing?
I made a zesty lime vinaigrette to top this Southwest Chicken Salad. It’s a simple combination of lime juice, olive oil and cilantro with a pinch of salt and pepper.
You could also top this salad with some homemade ranch dressing that you dress up with a bit of lime juice and a pinch of chili powder.
Wine Pairings for Southwest Chicken Salad:
- Rosé. It’s bold enough to stand up to the spices in the chicken, but its acidity will pair well with the vinaigrette.
- Other great options for pairing would be Pinot Gris or dry Riesling.
If you loved this Southwest Chicken Salad I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
More tasty salad recipes:
- 30-Minute Thai Beef Salad
- Summer Chicken Cobb Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken
- Mediterranean Chickpea & Tuna Salad
- 10-Minute Chickpea Guacamole Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad with Couscous
Southwest Salad with Chicken & Pico de Gallo
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
- 1 Lime (zested and juiced )
- 1 Red Onion (finely chopped)
- 1 15.5 ounce can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- ¼ cup Chopped Cilantro
- 1 cup Grape Tomatoes (quartered)
- 1 Jalapeño Pepper (ribs and seeds removed, minced)
- 1 Romaine Heart
- 1 Avocado (peeled and pitted)
- Tortilla Strips (for topping)
- In a small bowl, combine ½ tablespoon olive oil, chili powder, lime zest, and a large pinch of salt. Rub the mixture onto the chicken breasts, coating well on all sides.
- In a large pan, over medium heat, warm 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add ¾ the red onion, and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Add black beans, cumin, oregano, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.
- Add an additional ½ tablespoon olive oil to the now clean skillet. Heat over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
Southwestern Salad Dressing:
- Whisk together the lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and half the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pico de Gallo:
- Toss together the tomatoes, jalapeno, remaining red onion and remaining cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Chop the romaine heart, thinly slice the avocado, and thinly slice the chicken breasts.
- Assemble the salad by plating the romaine, topping with the sliced chicken, black bean mixture, avocado slices, and pico de gallo. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
This recipe was originally published in 2018. It was updated in 2021 to add new information. The Southwestern Chicken Salad recipe remains the same. Enjoy!