Southwest Salad

Black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, cheese, bell peppers, and a creamy avocado-cilant dressing abound in this simple recipe for Southwest salad.

Nothing beats a large, cold, fresh salad for dinner on a hot day like a cool, refreshing Southwest salad! Try our Thai Beef Salad and Chipotle Chicken for other recipes for entrée salads with a global flair.

Southwest Salad

Even on the busiest nights, it’s easy to whip together a tasty dish for Southwest Salad. This dish brings the robust tastes of the Southwest directly to your kitchen table with a combination of fresh and cupboard ingredients. Let’s face it, the ideal dressing makes any salad wonderful. You can make a fantastic cilantro avocado dressing with this homemade salad recipe. You should definitely try it with all of your Southwestern recipes!

To begin this simple, delectable Southwest salad, toss in some crispy romaine mixed with bell peppers, tomatoes, and corn. To provide bulk and lean protein, black beans and cheddar cheese are added. The salad is topped with a light yet incredibly creamy and tasty homemade salad dressing prepared with avocado and cilantro. Lastly, some crispy tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, and green onions are added as garnish.

Southwest Salad

This recipe is full of south of the border taste and is a spicy, robust, yet cool summer lunch thanks to the elements of southwestern salad. The creamy avocado dressing’s Mexican characteristics also make it the ideal light side for Taco Tuesday. A wonderful soup and salad combination is made with Chicken Enchilada Soup and southwest salad, which is a terrific nutritious supper.

What is a Southwest Salad?

The essential components that characterize Southwestern cuisine are what give a Southwest salad its “Southwestern” flavor. The majority of Southwestern cuisine consists of a combination of maize and beans, seasoned with cumin, cilantro, and chile peppers. This salad, which includes bell peppers and corn, is full of the vegetables used in southern cooking and has a creamy avocado and cilantro dressing infused with cumin. Lastly, the addition of black beans and tortilla chips elevates this light salad into a delectable Southwestern-style dish.

Southwest Salad

How to Make Southwest Salad

  • Dressing: In a food processor, puree the avocado, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, oil, lime juice, and cilantro until smooth. Until ready to serve, let cool.
  • Put Together: A big bowl should be full with chopped lettuce. Add onions, cheese, cilantro, bell peppers, black beans, corn, and tomatoes on top. You may divide up the ingredients or simply sprinkle them on top in equal amounts.
  • Serve: To serve, combine the tortilla strips and dressing just before serving, gently tossing to distribute and cover everything equally. Garnish with more green onions and tortilla chips before serving.

Southwest Salad Key Ingredients

  • Avocado: The creamy texture of ranch dressing is derived from avocados rather than dairy or mayonnaise. Their subtle, almost buttery taste is ideal for creating a heart-healthy, creamy dressing.
  • Cilantro: With its zesty and unique fragrant taste, this colorful herb gives the dressing a sudden boost of freshness. This salad dish is perfect for you if you enjoy cilantro since it adds a distinct, fresh herby taste to both the salad and the dressing.
  • Lime Juice: With its zesty and tangy flavor, lime juice enhances the flavors of the salad and dressing. Its acidity keeps the avocado from browning while simultaneously enhancing flavor, ensuring that your salad looks as beautiful as it tastes.
  • Cumin: Known for its characteristic smokey taste, cumin is a staple in Southwestern cuisine and gives the dressing an earthy warmth.
  • Lettuce: The ideal lettuce is crisp, leafy romaine since it can withstand the thickness of the dressing and all the other ingredients.
  • Fresh Vegetables: The salad is enhanced by the sweetness and acidity of the juicy vine tomatoes. The salad gains a pleasing crunch, a subtle sweetness, and a flash of color from the red and green bell peppers. Green onions, thinly sliced, give the salad a sense of freshness and a subtle onion taste.
  • Corn: Sweet yellow corn gives the salad a nice chewiness and a hint of natural sweetness. You may use canned or fresh instead of frozen. If using canned food, make sure to thoroughly drain it and let it to air dry.
  • Beans: Adding black beans to a salad is a terrific way to boost its protein content. They have a creamy middle when you bite into them, but they are nice and solid so they don’t mush in your salad.
  • Tortilla Strips: Typically, you can find tortilla strips in the vegetable section among croutons or other salad toppings. Strips are what you want to use since they are less dense and heavier, allowing them to absorb the dressing without sacrificing any delicious crunch!
  • Cheese: A little cheese makes everything great! To obtain that strong cheddar flavor in every mouthful, purchase the thick strands of shredded cheese or shred it yourself.
Southwest Salad

Can Southwest Salad be made ahead of time?

While you may make some of the salad’s ingredients ahead of time, you should wait to assemble or dress the salad until you’re ready to serve it. A day in advance, you may prepare the dressing, boil the corn and beans, and cut the veggies. When you’re ready to eat your Southwest salad, mix the components that have been stored separately.

Southwest Salad Variations

  • Spicy: You may absolutely add some spicy ingredients to the dressing if you want a little spice. Consider incorporating spicy green jalapeños into the dressing. A dash of cayenne or chipotle powder can also be added to the dressing.
  • Meat: Although this salad is vegetarian, you are welcome to top it with sliced steak pieces or grilled chicken. It would also go incredibly well with Grilled Cilantro Shrimp, if you’re a cilantro enthusiast!
  • Beans: Pinto, white, or kidney beans can be used in place of black beans. Just be sure to use entire canned beans that aren’t seasoned and to thoroughly rinse them before adding.
  • Dressing: To make a creamy avocado cilantro ranch, try mixing the dressing with ½ cup of your preferred ranch dressing. Instead of using the avocado as a garnish, prepare a vinaigrette-style dressing. Not a fan of cilantro? Add parsley and tarragon instead for a Southwestern-Green Goddess blend.
  • Cheese: For extra Mexican taste, consider queso fresco or cotija cheese in instead of cheddar cheese. A really spicy kick might be added with some pepper jack cheese.

How to Store Southwest Salad

  • Serve: To maintain everything crisp, wait until you are ready to serve before dressing your salad or adding the tortilla strips. After two hours, store at room temperature.
  • Store: Since it’s best to keep the dressing separate, you might want to consider letting each person serve their own dressing if you anticipate having leftovers. Store the salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.
  • Freeze: Neither the salad nor the dressing should be frozen.
Southwest Salad

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Southwest Salad

Southwest Salad

Black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, cheese, bell peppers, and a creamy avocado-cilant dressing abound in this simple recipe for Southwest salad.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 8


Creamy Cilantro Dressing:

  • 1 avocado cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped

Southwest Salad:

  • 6 cups romaine lettuce chopped
  • 2 vine tomatoes chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup sweet yellow corn thawed and dried
  • 1 cup canned black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup crispy tortilla strips salad topping not chips


Creamy Cilantro Dressing:

  • In a food processor, add avocado, garlic, cumin, black pepper, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
  • Blend until smooth.

Southwest Salad:

  • Add the lettuce, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, corn, black beans, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and green onions to a large bowl.
  • Add tortilla strips and a creamy cilantro dressing over top, stir gently, and serve.
Keyword Southwest Salad

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