Southwest Chicken Salad
Please don’t tell me salads are boring, because low-carb Southwest Chicken Salad is loaded with flavor from tasty Chipotle Ranch Dressing!
I might be pushing it a bit giving you a salad recipe before the weather is consistently warm, but I figure it was time to take at least a short break from Asparagus Recipes. And this poor recipe for Southwest Chicken Salad had been hanging out back in the archives on Kalyn’s Kitchen since 2007 with a couple of photos that wouldn’t have enticed anyone to make it! And when I spotted it recently I remembered how much I love the Chiptle-Ranch Dressing and wanted to make it again!
And I do want to entice you to make this delicious low-carb salad! I know sometimes salads can seem a little ho-hum, but I promise that this Southwest Chicken Salad is loaded with great flavors. It’s definitely a sum-is-greater-than-the-parts kind of salad, and I use a few tricks to bump up the flavor in ways that I think you’ll enjoy. This is a perfect salad to make with leftover Roast Chicken, or use one of those packs of rotisserie chicken they sell at Costco for the chicken. And if you’re not quite in the mood for salads just yet, PIN, YUM, or bookmark the recipe so you can make it later!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
- Ranch Dressing
- salsa; I used Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link)
- ground Chipotle chile pepper (affiliate link)
- diced cooked chicken
- Romaine lettuce
- sweet mini-peppers
- chopped cilantro (optional)
- sliced olives (optional, but good)
- grated cheese
Tips for making this salad:
(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)
- First make the Chipotle Ranch Dressing. I confess, I use a packet you mix with buttermilk and mayo for the Ranch, but you can make your own Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing or Buttermilk Dressing to use as the base if you prefer.
- I like to buzz the salsa in the food processor for a smoother dressing, but you can also just stir it together with the ranch dressing and Ground Chipotle Chile Pepper (affiliate link) if you prefer. Make the dressing ahead and chill a while if you can.
- When you’re ready to make the salad, cut up or shred the chicken and toss with a few tablespoons of Chipotle Ranch Dressing while you prep the other ingredients.
- Wash salad greens and spin dry in a salad spinner (affiliate link), slice sweet mini-peppers or red bell pepper, slice olives, chop cilantro (if using) and get some grated cheese ready.
- Combine lettuce, peppers, and cilantro with the chicken that’s tossed with dressing.
- Add a little more dressing if desired, then add the olives and grated cheese and gently toss again.
- That’s all there is to it! Serve Southwest Chicken Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing right away!
If you’re wanting a salad to take to work, I’d prep all the ingredients before hand. In the morning mix the dressing with the chicken and store in a snap-top container. Put the lettuce, peppers, cilantro, cheese, and olives in another container with a snap-top lid and mix the salad together right before you eat it.
More Low-Carb Salads with Chicken:
Low-Carb Beat-the-Heat Chicken Salads from Rotisserie Chicken ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Low-Carb Buffalo Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado ~ Sugar-Free Mom
Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lime and Cilantro ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spinach Artichoke Chicken Salad ~ Wonky Wonderful
Leftover Chicken Salad with Indian Spices, Lemon, and Cilantro ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt ~ Aggie’s Kitchen
Dressing Ingredients (Makes about 2.5 cups dressing):
- 2 cups Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup salsa (I used Pace Picante Sauce Mild, see notes)
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Chipotle Chile Pepper (see notes)
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 1/4 cup Chipotle Ranch Dressing (or more, to taste)
- 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
- 6 sweet mini-peppers, seeds cut out and sliced (see notes)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (see notes)
- 2 oz. sliced olives (optional, but good)
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (see notes)
- Put salsa in food processor (affiliate link) and puree about one minute with steel blade. (Could also use a blender or immersion blender.) Add Ranch Dressing and ground Chipotle and process 30 seconds more, or until well combined. (You can also just stir the dressing together if you don't mind it a little chunky.)
- Chill dressing 1-2 hours if possible.
- Mix diced chicken with desired amount of salad dressing and set aside to marinate while you prep other ingredients.
- Coarsely chop the lettuce and spin dry with salad spinner (affiliate link) or dry with paper towels.
- Combine lettuce, red pepper and cilantro in large mixing bowl.
- Stir in chicken with dressing and mix lightly, until dressing is distributed throughout salad.
- Add the grated cheese and olives and stir gently a few more times, then serve.
I love sweet mini-peppers for this salad, but regular red or yellow bell peppers will also be good. Use thinly-sliced green onion if you're not a cilantro fan; use more or less cilantro to taste. I used Four-Cheese Mexican Blend from Costco.
Nutritional information is calculated using a packet mix with buttermilk and mayo for the dressing. Bottled Ranch may be higher in carbs.
Low-Carb Southwest Chicken Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing was created by Kalyn, inspired by a long-ago Rubio's salad that's no longer on the menu there.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 616Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 13gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 772mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4.8gSugar: 6.2gProtein: 42g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Southwest Chicken Salad is a good main-dish salad for any low-glycemic or low-carb diet, including any phase of the South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.