This delicious Southwest Salad (Santa Fe Salad) is the perfect blend of fresh ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, corn, black beans and slightly spicy, juicy chicken breasts! Add a drizzle of Southwest Dressing or Vinaigrette and you have the perfect dinner that is packed with a ton of great flavor!
An Easy Southwest Salad (Santa Fe Salad)
Every summer we love having a regular rotation of easy and delicious salads. This Southwest Salad is one of our all-time favorites. It can be made in less than 20 minutes and is full of so many great flavors! You can keep it simple with ingredients you have on hand or you can really dress it up with ALL the toppings. Perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.
And if you are in need of some more summer salad options, you definitely need to add our Easy Steak Salad, Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and our Grilled Salmon Salad to your menu plan ASAP!
Southwest Salad Ingredients
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts – you could also use chicken thighs but we prefer breasts for topping a salad. Option to grab a rotisserie chicken to make this meal even easier!
- chipotle seasoning – we love this simple homemade option, but you can use any seasoning you want!
- romaine lettuce or mixed greens – use what you prefer or what is easiest!
- black beans – make sure you give these a good rinse before tossing them on top.
- green onions, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, & black olives – a variety of delicious toppings that provide some great crunch and freshness to this salad!
- corn – option to use canned corn or for some added flavor you can toss a couple ears of corn on the cob on the grill and then cut the kernels off.
- cojita cheese – a classic cheese option for a Mexican-inspired salad, but feel free to grab a dairy-free option if you need it.
- corn chips – we love these ones by Siete Foods!
- topping options – jalapeño, guacamole, pico de gallo/salsa, sour cream, or anything else that sounds good to you!
- salad dressing – this salad pairs perfectly with a Southwest Dressing or Southwest Vinaigrette.
Best Topping Options for a Southwest Salad
You can put almost anything on this amazing salad! Just grab what you have on hand or what sounds good to you! Our favorites are fresh items like tomatoes, jalapeños, corn, and black beans. Plus, when you toss on a dollop of homemade guacamole, salsa, and dairy free sour cream it is pure magic!
What Dressing Goes On a Southwest Salad
If you are up for taking a few minutes to make an easy, homemade dressing, we highly recommend our Southwest Dressing or our Southwest Vinaigrette (for a lighter, dairy-free option). Either one brings a lot of great flavor that pairs perfectly with this salad. You could also grab any southwest salad dressing from your local grocery store.
How To Make a Southwest Salad
You will begin by patting your chicken breasts dry.
Then coat them in the chipotle seasoning or whatever seasoning you choose.
We love cooking our chicken on the grill or you can pan-fry it in a cast iron.
Mix up your salad dressing of choice – we have both a creamy option and a dairy-free vinaigrette option – choose whichever one you wish (or grab a store-bought option if you prefer). Our Creamy Southwest Dressing is below!
And this (below) is our Southwest Vinaigrette – packed with flavor and such a great option!
Prep your toppings – we love going ALL IN here and adding all these amazing, fresh ingredients on top of our salad.
Once the chicken is done cooking you can assemble your salad and pour on the dressing!
Don’t forget the guacamole, sour cream and pico!
Pour on the dressing of your choice and you are all set – dive and and enjoy!
Don’t forget to check out my Instagram account for some behind-the-scenes action! Or give me a follow on Facebook or see what I am pinning on Pinterest!
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Other Salad Recipes You Might Like
Healthy Taco Salad
Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Salad
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Easy Grilled Chicken Salad
Southwest Salad (Santa Fe Salad)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2 salads 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired
Southwest Salad (Santa Fe Salad) – a delicious Santa Fe Salad recipe packed with flavor! Black beans, crushed corn chips, bell peppers and more!
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 batch chipotle seasoning*
- 4 cups romaine or mixed greens
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup corn (canned or grilled)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup corn chips, crushed
- (optional) 2-4 jalapeno sliced
- toppings: guacamole, pico de gallo/salsa and sour cream
- Dressing: creamy southwest dressing or southwest vinaigrette
- Combine chipotle seasoning in small bowl; stir to combine (Note: if you don’t want to use chipotle seasoning feel free to use any seasoning you want or you can just use kosher salt and ground black pepper).
- Place chicken breasts on plate and pat dry.
- Sprinkle all over with chipotle seasoning and rub all over.
- Drizzle with olive oil and fully coat.
- Heat grill to medium heat (approximately 400 degrees).
- Place chicken on direct heat (direct flame) and cook at medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side.
- Move chicken away from the direct heat (direct flame) so that it is cooking on indirect heat (maintaining the same grill temp) and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes (you don’t need to flip during this point because the chicken will cook as if it is in an oven) or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reads 160 on your meat thermometer.
- Remove from grill and let rest at least 5 minutes (the chicken will continue to cook during this time and the internal temp will continue to rise up to 10 additional degrees). Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees (at thickest part of the breast).
- Slice or cube the chicken.
- Divided ingredients between two bowls.
- Use the toppings of your choice
- Top with your choice of Creamy Southwest Dressing or Southwest Vinaigrette.
- *Chipotle Seasoning: feel free to skip the chipotle seasoning and just use salt and pepper or any other seasoning you wish. You could also use our favorite chicken marinade instead too!
- Corn: for the corn you can easily use canned corn (drain) or you can grill some corn and cut it off the cob to be used!
- Dairy-Free: to make this dairy-free use the Southwest Vinaigrette and then skip the cotija cheese and use a dairy-free option!
- Cheese: you can also use a simple shredded colby here or whatever you want, really.
- Vegetarian: this makes an amazing vegetarian salad if you (of course) omit the chicken!
Keywords: santa fe salad, southwest salad
I made this last night and it did not disappoint!! Luckily I had all of the ingredients on hand. I actually used leftover rotisserie chicken that I added the spices too and heated up on the stove. I made the southwest vinaigrette (as opposed to the creamy dressing) and it was delicious! It kept it light and refreshing. I love a good, healthy, hearty salad! I’ll definitely be making this one again!
I am so happy to hear that, Jennifer! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review – I so appreciate it!