Spicy southwest salad features a bold blend of blackened chicken, veggies, and our own homemade southwest dressing to create a salad good enough for lunch or dinner.

Southwest Salad made with blackened chicken

This delicious salad is my copycat version of the Chik-Fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad. 

With its zesty blend of veggies and an equally good copycat version of their creamy salsa dressing, it is one of my favorite lunch, dinner, anytime salad recipes.

It’s a great combination of flavors you often find in southwestern cooking – corn, black beans, cheese, and spices, all topped with some spicy blackened chicken made with our homemade blackened seasoning. If you want a healthy spin on these classic flavors, then you have to try this salad tonight.

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ingredients for a Southwest Salad

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need for the salad.

  • Poblano pepper – These peppers are very mild, similar to a bell pepper with a milder flavor. It’s one of my favorites!
  • Red bell pepper – You could use a green or other colored pepper if you like.
  • Romaine lettuce – You can mix and match some greens if you like. Other good options are kale and spinach.
  • Black beans – You could use chickpeas instead of black beans if you prefer.
  • Corn – You can use canned, fresh off the cob, or frozen. If you use either off the cob or frozen, make sure to cook the corn first or at least thaw the frozen corn.
  • Grape tomatoes – Grape tomatoes taste great in this, but you could use another small tomato like roma to make the salad instead.
  • Cheese – We use both monterey jack cheese and cheddar cheese.
  • Blackened chicken – You’ll want to cut it into slices.
  • Southwest Dressing – We make our that’s a (better) copycat version of Chik-Fil-A’s creamy salsa dressing. You could also use a premade dressing if you prefer.

Looking for another variation? Try our mixed green salad with Italian dressing.

Southwest Salad on a fork with dressing

Additional Salad Add-ins 

Let’s face it, even the best salads can use some of your favorite add ons. Don’t be shy, you can try out some of our other suggestions for additional flavor, crunch, and nutrients. Here our some of our favorites:

  • avocado
  • cucumbers
  • roasted vegetables – We like zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions, or squash
  • pepitas
  • almonds – You can use any type you like, but ones with a spicy, southwest flavor are the best!
  • tortilla strips or chips
  • radish
  • fresh or pickled jalapeno


Step 1 – Saute the peppers in a small skillet with some olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until softened.

Step 2 – Build the salad. To start, place the lettuce in a large bowl and then top with the cooked peppers, black beans, corn, tomatoes, Monterey and cheddar cheese, and sliced blacked chicken. You can add any of your add-ons as you go or place them right on top.

Step 3 – Drizzle the dressing over the top or serve and allow each person to put the amount of dressing they want on top. Serve with your favorite rolls or tortilla chips (if you are not following keto), on its own, or even as a low carb wrap.

If you are looking for less calories, you can use less of some of the toppings like cheese and corn.

pouring Southwest Dressing on a salad

Is this a Healthy Salad? 

Healthy is a bit subjective and largely depends on how you view healthy foods. Our salad is full of different nutrients, which makes it a healthy dish in our books!

If you follow keto, then you’ll want to omit the corn and beans. In their place, you can add more veggies or avocado. 

How to Make it Ahead of Time 

The trick with most salads is: don’t fully assemble ahead of time! Instead, you can slice up the veggies and prep ahead so all you have to do is throw together the ingredients when you are ready to eat. You can also wash and prep the greens and cook and slice the chicken.

You’ll want to store the chopped add-ins in separate containers in the fridge. These are our go to containers when we meal prep and worth every penny.

And if you make extra, you can easily throw together salads for quick lunches or a fast dinner anytime throughout the week. When we want to make an easy lunch or dinner, we use this salad container. It separates the toppings and greens and is super easy to bring wherever you go.

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Servings: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Southwest Salad

Spicy southwest salad features a bold blend of blackened chicken, veggies, and our own homemade southwest dressing to create a salad good enough for lunch or dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon Finely diced poblano pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Finely diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups Romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup Black beans
  • ¼ cup Corn
  • 4 Grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces Blackened chicken, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Southwest Salad Dressing


  • In a small skillet saute olive oil, diced poblano pepper, and red bell pepper over medium heat until softened. 1-2 minutes.
  • Place the lettuce in a large bowl and top with cooked peppers, black beans, corn, tomatoes, Monterey and cheddar cheese, and sliced blacked chicken.
  • Drizzle dressing over the top and serve.


Serving: 1salad, Calories: 636kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 50g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 152mg, Sodium: 1713mg, Potassium: 1359mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 9767IU, Vitamin C: 42mg, Calcium: 249mg, Iron: 4mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Main dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: southwest salad