Loaded with fresh veggies, diced chicken, black beans & avocado then tossed in a creamy smokey chipotle lime dressing & topped with salty roasted pepitas! This southwest chicken chopped salad is the perfect blend of sweet, heat & crunchy!
I always love a good chopped salad! And this southwest chicken chopped salad just might be my new favorite! It’s loaded with fresh ingredients like juicy tomatoes, sweet corn, black beans and avocado then tossed in a creamy smokey chipotle dressing that’s slightly sweet with the right amount of heat! I like to top mine with it with a generous sprinkle of cotija cheese and some roasted pepitas to add even more flavor and crunch!! (It’ kind of like a Mexican chopped salad with a California twist.😉)
Another reason I love this salad is the creamy chipotle dressing! It’s made with a Greek yogurt base which adds a little extra protein combined with flavor powerhouses like chipotle in adobo sauce and fresh lime juice! (Plus a little maple syrup to balance out the heat!) You’re going to love it!
Ingredients For Your Chopped Salad
Cooked chicken: You can use store bought rotisserie chicken or cook the chicken yourself!
Lettuce: Use a sturdy lettuce like romaine or green leaf for the best results. (It holds up better tot he rest of your ingredients.)
Black beans: Add as little or as much as you want!
Corn: Fresh corn is always the best! (I just love it’s flavor and pop of texture!)
Tomatoes: We love using cherry tomatoes or any type of tomatoes “on the vine”. (Since this is a chopped salad we’ll be cutting everything close tot he same size so it might be better to go with a bigger tomato. They’re not so tedious to cut like cherry tomatoes.)
Avocado: An essential ingredient for any salad recipe is you ask me!
Green onion: Use the green and white parts for maximum flavor! (We love the subtle flavor it adds as opposed to uisng red onion.)
Cilantro: Adding fresh herbs is such a great way to elevate your salad! Chop the leaves and stems to get the most flavor out of them!
Cotija cheese: Optional but I love the salty flavor it adds!
Optional toppings: Roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or crushed tortilla chips really take this salad to the next! (The key to a good salad is to always add something crunchy!😉)
Creamy chipotle dressing: Made with 8 simple ingredients and has the best smokey 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 have been chopped or cut into similiar size. (I love to call them “scoopable salads.”😉) Why do we love them?! You get the perfect mix of everything in every single bite! We love using a spoon or scooping them up with chips!
How to Make A Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad
1. Make your chipotle dressing. Whisk your greek yogurt, sour cream, lime juice, oil, chipotle in adobo sauce, maple syrup, 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 roughly the same size.
3. Toss. Add your ingredients to a large bowl and toss in your desired amount of dressing.
4. Serve! Serve immediately and sprinkle each individual bowl with cotija cheese, roasted pepitas or crushed tortilla chips.
Let’s talk Chicken!
I personally love making my own chicken for this recipe! Just season your favorite cut of chicken with chili powder, salt and black pepper then bake them 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 when its done.
Ingredient Substitutions & Tips
- Swap out the maple syrup in the dressing for honey if you prefer.
- Pinto beans or kidney beans can be used in place 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 from it.)
- We love adding cilantro right into the salad BUT you can always leave it out if you’re not a fan.
- If you can’t find cotija cheese at the store, feta or queso fresco would be a great substitute.
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, toss it all together, add your avocado and desired toppings 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!
- Delicious & satisfying! Loaded with veggies, fresh ingredients and a healthy dose of protein – it’s got it all!
- A little bit of everything in every bite! With ingredients cut similar in size, you’ll get the perfect bite every time!
- Great for a crowd! This scoopable salad would is perfect for potlucks or parties! Guests can scoop it onto their plates and use a spoon for easy eating.
More salad recipes you might like:
- BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Easy Taco Salad with Zesty Taco Dressing
- Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad
- Fall Harvest Cobb Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
[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
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
- ⅓ cup cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Optional toppings: roasted & salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or crushed tortilla chips
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
- 2 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cumin
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.
- Then toss in your desired amount of dressing until the salad's completely coated.
- Serve immediately with cotija cheese and roasted/salted pepitas sprinkled over the top. (Or replace the pepitas with crushed tortilla chips if you prefer.)
- Fresh corn: Cook the corn using your preferred method then cut the kernels off the cob.
- Canned corn: Drain & rinse the kernels before adding the to your salad.
- Frozen corn: Cook the kernels according to the package and let cool before adding to your salad.