Chef Salad Recipe – Southwestern Style

We are going to make this chef salad recipe Southwestern style by adding corn, black beans and chipolte chicken strips and dressing it with a creamy cilantro dressing. So this is not your typical chef salad.

The chicken that we are going to use is marinated for a minimum of 30 minutes so make sure to allot that time. You will not regret it. The marinade will tenderize the chicken breast a bit but, more importantly, it will flavor it very nicely. The end result will be a succulent and tasty piece of chicken.

Chipotles are smoked jalapeño peppers that are canned in a tomato sauce called adobo or sold in dry pods or in powdered form. They add a beautiful spicy and smoky flavor to foods. The amount of chipotle powder that you choose to use will depend on how much heat you like to eat.

The creamy cilantro dressing that I serve this with is delicious — that is if you like cilantro. I am aware that many people hate it. In fact, I have read that it is a genetic trait that makes some people resemble the flavor of cilantro with soap. Who likes eating soap?!

No worries! If you are one of those people forget the cilantro! You can substitute it a honey vinaigrette or any other dressing of your choice.

This is what you are going to need for this exquisite Southwestern chef salad recipe:

Serves eight

1 large lime – juiced (about ¼ cup)
¼ cup oil
1 TBS chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves – minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 TBS chipotle powder
2 scallions – chopped (white, light green, dark green)
1 tsp. black pepper

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk.


1 whole skinless/ boneless chicken breast – cut into strips
2 TBS oil

Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge.

Heat a skillet with the oil. Once it is hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade) and cook it in batches. Brown one side and flip it until the other side is browned as well. Make sure you cook the chicken all the way through. Place the cooked chicken on a paper lined plate to drain any excess oil. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.


2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 TBS lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
3 TBS chopped cilantro
4 TBS olive oil
1 tsp. black pepper
2 to 3 TBS water

Mash the garlic cloves with the salt using the back of a small spoon.

Place the mayonnaise, mustard, mashed garlic, like juice and cumin in a bowl. Whisk it until uniformly mixed. Add the cilantro and mix well.

Slowly add the olive oil, in a thin stream, while constantly whisking. Taste for salt and add the black pepper. Thin out the dressing by adding water a TBS at a time. Whisk well and set aside.


2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 cups chopped salad greens
1 cup shredded green or red cabbage
4 large tomatoes – peeled and chopped
1 medium red onion – finely chopped
1 – 11 oz. can of corn kernels, drained
1 – 14 oz. can black beans, drained
2 TBS chopped scallion greens
4 oz. Cheddar cheese – cut in strips
4 oz. ham – cut in strips
1 large avocado – sliced
4 hard boiled eggs – peeled and quartered

Toss the lettuces, cabbage, tomatoes, onion, corn, beans and scallion greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss to coat well.
Divide salad onto 8 dishes. Top with equal parts of cheese, ham, chicken, avocado and hard boiled egg slices. Enjoy!

Print the Southwestern Chef Salad Recipe Here

My name is Mary Ann Allen and I am here to help you get organized so you can save money on groceries and feed your family healthy, nutritious food. My multi-cultural cooking background comes from being born in the US and raised in Bolivia. I have 5 kids and own around 400 cook books. I absolutely love to cook!


  • July 2, 2012


    Hoy prepare esta ensalada para llevarme de comida a mi trabajo, es rápida, rica y nutritiva, no comeré más comida chatarra gracias a tus recetas. Gracias!!

  • July 15, 2012


    Hola Julieta!
    Que bien! Me alegra saber que ya no habra chatarra en tu dieta 😉 Gracias pir pasarte por aca y por preparar esta receta! QUe estes bien!
    Mary Ann

Leave a Reply