Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Loaded with fresh veggies, diced chicken, black beans & avocado all tossed in a smoky chipotle lime dressing & topped with crunchy tortilla chips! This southwest chicken chopped salad is perfect for an easy summer dinner!

A close up photo of southwest chopped chicken salad topped with crushed tortilla chips and served with fresh lime wedges.

I love a good chopped salad! And this southwest chicken chopped salad just might be my new favorite! It’s loaded with seasonal ingredients like fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, black beans and avocado then tossed in the BEST homemade chipotle dressing! It’s creamy, smoky, slightly sweet and has just the right amount of heat. We love topping ours with a sprinkle of cotija cheese and crushed tortilla chips!

Another reason we love this salad?! The smoky chipotle lime dressing! It’s base is made of Greek yogurt which adds a healthy dose of protein mixed with flavor powerhouses like chipotle in adobo sauce and fresh lime juice! (Plus a little maple syrup or honey to balance out the heat!) You’re going to love it!

Ingredients used to make a southwest chicken chopped salad
Ingredients used to make a creamy chipotle dressing

Ingredients For Your Chopped Salad

Lettuce: Use a sturdy lettuce like romaine or green leaf for the best results. (They hold up better to the rest of your ingredients.)

Cooked chicken: Use store bought rotisserie chicken for ease or cook the chicken yourself.

Black beans: Add as little or as much as you want!

Corn: Fresh corn is always the best! (We love it’s flavor and pop of texture!)

Tomatoes: We love using cherry tomatoes or any type of “tomatoes on the vine”.

Avocado: You’ll need at least 1 large avocado for this salad recipe!

Green onion: Use the green and white parts for maximum flavor!

Cilantro: Chop the leaves and stems for maximum flavor! (Adding fresh herbs is such a great way to elevate your salad.)

Tortilla chips: Use your favorite tortilla chips to crumble over the top of your salad!

Cotija cheese: An optional ingredient but we love the salty flavor it adds!

Creamy chipotle dressing: Made with 8 simple ingredients and has the best smoky flavor! It’s the perfect way to tie your salad ingredients together!

What is a Chopped Salad?

Chopped salads are salads made with ingredients that are chopped or cut into a similar size. (We like to call them “scoopable salads” since you can eat them with a spoon.😉) Why do we love them?! You get the perfect mix of everything in every single bite! Try scooping them up with chips for more flavor and fun!

A large clear mixing bowl filled with chopped lettuce, diced chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, green onion and cilantro
A small white bowl filled with healthy creamy chipotle dressing

How to Make A Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad

1. Make your chipotle dressing. Whisk your greek yogurt, sour cream, lime juice, olive oil, chipotle in adobo sauce, maple syrup (or honey), salt and cumin together in a bowl until smooth. Then store it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.

2. Prep your salad ingredients. Chop all your salad ingredients into relatively the same size.

3. Toss. Add your ingredients to a large bowl and toss in your desired amount of dressing.

4. Serve! Serve immediately with cotija cheese and crushed tortilla chips sprinkled over each individual bowl.

A large clear bowl filled with southwest chicken chopped salad tossed in a creamy chipotle dressing

Let’s talk Chicken!

While you can always use store bought rotisserie chicken – I personally love cooking my own chicken for this salad! (It’s so easy and you can make it a few days in advance too.) Just season your favorite cut of chicken with chili powder, salt and black pepper then bake it according to the temperature and times listed below:

  • Chicken tenders: Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs: Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

Your chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees once it’s done.

A large bowl filled with southwest chopped chicken salad tossed in a creamy chipotle dressing.

Ingredient Substitutions & Tips

  • Replace maple syrup with honey in your dressing!
  • Use pinto beans or kidney beans instead of black beans!
  • Can’t find fresh corn? Frozen corn or canned corn can be used instead. (If using frozen, make sure to thaw the corn completely and drain as much liquid as possible before adding it to your salad.)
  • Leave out the cilantro if you’re not a fan.
  • Can’t find cotija cheese? Try using feta cheese or queso fresco instead?
A large serving bowl with with southwest chicken chopped salad surrounded by lime wedges and a plate of tortilla chips

Storing

This salad is so easy to prep ahead of time making it perfect for parties and potlucks! Simply make the dressing and chop your salad ingredients (except the avocado) then keep them all stored in separate containers in the refrigerator. When it’s time to serve, add your ingredients to a large bowl with your avocado and desired amount of dressing, toss and serve! (This way the veggies stay crisp and fresh!)

Your chopped salad and chipotle dressing can be prepped at least 1-2 days in advance.

Why you’ll love this chopped salad recipe!

  • Healthy & satisfying! Loaded with veggies, fresh ingredients and a good amount of protein!
  • The perfect summer salad for a crowd! Serve it at your next potluck, picnic or summer cookout! Guests can easily scoop it onto their plates and eat it while mingling!
  • So much flavor in every bite! With ingredients cut similar in size, you’ll get the perfect bite every time!

More summer salad recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments – I love seeing what you create!]

Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Loaded with fresh veggies, diced chicken, black beans & avocado all tossed in a smoky chipotle lime dressing & topped with crunchy tortilla chips! This southwest chicken chopped salad is perfect for an easy summer dinner!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, chopped salad, creamy chipotle dressing, salad recipes, southwest salad, summer salad
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the chopped salad:

  • 6 cups lettuce, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • ¾ cup black beans, drained & rinsed
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)*
  • ¾ cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced (green & white parts are ok)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • cup cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • Crushed tortilla chip, for serving

For the creamy chipotle dressing:

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers – only use the sauce)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin

Instructions

To make the chipotle dressing:

  • Whisk all your dressing ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Then store it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.

To make the chopped salad:

  • Add your lettuce, chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, green onion and cilantro to a large bowl and toss in your desired amount of dressing.
  • Serve immediately with cotija cheese and crushed tortilla chips sprinkled over each individual bowl.

Notes

The amounts listed for salad ingredients are suggested amounts. If you prefer more or less of an ingredient, please feel free to alter the recipe to your liking.
*For the corn:
  • Fresh corn: Cook the corn using your preferred method then cut the kernels off each cob.
  • Canned corn: Drain & rinse the kernels before adding them to your salad.
  • Frozen corn: Cook the kernels according to the package and let cool before adding them to your salad.

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