Southwestern Salad

Summer has officially arrived and during the hot weather people often enjoy a salad for lunch or dinner. Salad plates piled high with fresh vegetables will fill you up but can sometimes be boring but they don’t have to be. A Southwestern Salad, a Cobb salad with a Mexican flair, is a great meal for warmer weather. It is a colorful, great tasting and good for you as it has a larger ratio of vegetables to protein.

Southwestern Salad
A Southwestern Salad, A Cobb Salad With A Mexican Flair

If you are grilling over the weekend, add a few extra chicken thighs or breasts to use for this salad during the week. A rotisserie chicken from your local market is also good in this dish. You can prep many of the ingredients ahead of time (except the avocado) and keep them in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad. The recipe is easily doubled or even tripled to feed a large group and served either as a main course or side dish to go along with a Mexican themed dinner party.

Southwestern Salad

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side, adjust the recipe accordingly

Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine 1/3 c. olive oil, juice from 1/2 lime (3 Tbsp.), 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and a few shakes of green Tabasco. Whisk well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Grilled Chicken: Pound a large chicken breast to even out the thickness, generously season with salt, pepper and cumin, drizzle with some olive oil, and squeeze a little lime or lemon juice over it. Let the chicken marinate for 10 minutes while you heat the grill to medium high. Grill the breast about 3 minutes, turn and cook until done, about another 2 or 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette.

Corn: Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a skillet and sauté 1/4 of a small red onion, chopped until translucent. Add 1 red or green jalapeño pepper, diced and 1 clove of garlic, minced and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 c. frozen corn, thawed (canned may be substituted) and season with 1/2 tsp.  cumin, then salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for a few minutes until the corn is cooked. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Tomatoes: In a small bowl, combine 1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered, 1/4 of a small red onion, chopped, 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp. of the vinaigretteSalt and pepper, to taste. Stir and let rest for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Black beans: Wash and drain well 1 can of black beans and season with 1/4 tsp. each of oregano, garlic powder and onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Add some of the vinaigrette, toss well and let rest for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Avocado: Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit, peel and cut into chunks. Squeeze a little lime juice over it to keep it from turning brown. Drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette and gently mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Eggs: Peel 2 hard-boiled eggs and cut into quarters.

Cheese: Crumble or shred a small block of cheese. You can use a Mexican cheese such as Cotija or queso fresco, feta, Monterey jack, cheddar or a blue cheese.

To Prepare The Salad: Add about 4 – 5 cups of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into bite size pieces to a large bowl, season with a little salt and pepper and toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Place the lettuce on a large platter and arrange the chicken, avocado, corn, black beans, tomatoes, eggs and cheese in neat rows on top. Serve with wedges of lime and any remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Southwestern Salad Served In A Crisp Tortilla Bowl
Southwestern Salad Served In A Crisp Tortilla Bowl

You can serve this salad with everything tossed together but I prepared it in a large bowl with all the ingredients layered over the greens. I put crisp tortilla shells on individual plates and let each person create their own salad. Enjoyed along with a cooling pitcher of iced tea or margaritas, a cold beer or a glass of crisp white wine while sitting outdoors on a warm summer evening, you’ve got a filling and flavorful meal. I believe your family or guests will enjoy this colorful salad as each and every mouthful is a little bit different.

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210 thoughts on “Southwestern Salad

    1. Hi Fatima, There are so many delicious ingredients in this salad, you will not miss the avocado. I certainly understand why you would want to skip the avocado.

  1. Love the thought of all those colourful vegs, tossed in that spicey vinaigrette, so tasty & would help to make a meal spread out to feed some extra uninvited guests.:)

    1. Hi Barbara, I’m happy that you stopped by, I hope your back is healing properly. You are right about this being good when you have unexpected guests. Adding this salad would definitely extend a meal.

    1. Thank you Judy, for your nice compliment. This would be a good way to use some of your prolific lettuce. Lucky bunny, by the way. 🙂

  2. Beautiful! Love all the different colors , textures, and flavors. The “southwestern” twist is something I will be trying–who doesn’t LOVE southwestern food??
    Hope your summer is going well. The “skeeters” are terrible for us this year-makes it hard to spend time outdoors. I complain sometimes about how dry it usually is around here, but the advantage was always no mosquitoes. Wow–I’ll take a little less rain any day.
    Have a wonderful week, Karen.

    1. Hi Sue, I’m glad you like the salad and you are right…southwestern food is great. Summer has started off good…not too hot days and nights cool for good sleeping. We have mosquitoes but what has been driving me crazy lately are deer flies while I’m trying to work in the garden. 😦

  3. Looks delicious! Our lettuce is finally done as it is way too hot and humid, but the tomatoes are coming in and I love to put them in all kinds of salads. I love a meal like this with my veggies and proteins all together, especially beans. I seem to add them to everything!

    1. Thank you Gretchen, I’m glad you like the salad. I know you hate that it is too hot for your lettuce but I know you are enjoying fresh tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes are always the first of the tomato plants in our garden to ripen…another week or two and hopefully I’ll be able to pick some.

  4. Minus the chicken (I don’t eat meat but could replace that with something else), that salad looks delicious! I love eating light, healthy salads during the summer. Thanks for the great recipe ideas. 🙂

    1. Hi Maureen, I’m happy that my summer salad appeals to you in the dead of winter. I ordered a hot bowl of chili for lunch on this summer day so I think you and I are very openminded concerning food. 😀

    1. Hi Linda, When we are in Maine, we must enjoy all the lobster that we can and yes, I think it would be great in the salad. 😀

    1. Hi Claire, This really is a very colorful salad. I’m glad that you liked the way I seasoned everything. I think cumin is an essential ingredient when cooking dishes where you are looking for Mexican flavors. Thank you for you nice compliment.

  5. I’ve been trying to catch up with everyone since surgery and doing a terrible job of chatting. But it’s so great to see what you’ve been up to and this salad is definitely one for me. You’ve really arranged everything so beautifully (as always) … You always inspire me to do a better job on presentation.

    1. Hi Diane, I’m so happy so see you out in the blogging world again…that means you are feeling better after your hip surgery. 😀 I appreciate your lovely compliment and I’m happy to know that you like how I served the salad…thank you.

    1. Hi Penny, Thank you for your nice compliment and pinning the salad…it is much appreciated. I think we both have had dishes that would be great for the 4th of July.

    1. Hi Annie, I’m glad that you like the Southwestern salad…it really is a colorful and tasty salad. Thank you for your nice compliment. 🙂

  6. One of my favorite main dish salads. Just so happens that we are grilling chicken tonight. I’ll have to throw an extra piece or two on. Now I can’t wait for the leftovers to I can throw this salad together.

    1. Hi Karen, I love it when I can grill or cook a couple of extra pieces of chicken or meat for a second meal. I hope you will enjoy the salad and appreciate your nice comment.

    1. Hi Monique, I like serving this salad with all the ingredients lined up and I’m happy to know that you like the presentation. Thank you as always for your nice compliment.

  7. That is one great looking salad Karen and I like the southwestern slant on it. Glad to see your last comment got thru to my blog.

    1. Thank you Larry, I’m glad you like the salad. Yes, I was happy that my comment got through to you. I’ve been able to comment on all my blogspot and blogger friends for a couple of days…hopefully it lasts for awhile. 🙂

  8. This looks wonderful and healthy! And, even though we live in the Southwest, we have never done anything like this for a salad! Thanks for such a great idea!

    1. Hi David, I’m glad you like the salad…thank you! With all the good restaurants you have, if I lived in your area I might be tempted to just eat out when wanting Southwestern cuisine. As you know from living in New England before, it is hard to find here. 😀

  9. Karen – what a great recipe AND you photographed it so beautifully!! I def. plan to make this more than once this summer!! I served a salad to guests just the other night and it had some of the same ingredients – minus the chicken ’cause I served beef – it was a great hit! And I KNOW this salad will be thoroughly enjoyed as well !!

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment, Cecile. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe and the photos. I hope you will enjoy the salad as much as my husband and I do.

    1. Hi Tandy, I glad to hear that you are having lovely weather. I appreciate you nice compliment and hope you get a chance to try the salad.

  10. What a perfect meal for a warm summer evening. No turning on the oven here. This really appeals to me because I can make a small amount. Your vinaigrette is just the right dressing. Lots of flavor and few calories.

    1. Thank you Amy, for your nice compliment. I do think this is a pretty salad which makes it nice if you are having friends over for a summer meal.

    1. Thank you Sylvia, I’m glad you like the salad. I think the tortilla shells are a nice way to serve the salad…pretty and a nice bite of extra flavor and crunch to enjoy.

    1. Hi Judy, It is so nice to hear from you…I’m glad you are feeling so much better. I do think this is a good salad for a summer meal, I’m glad you agree.

  11. I love your salad (minus the cilantro). 🙂 I love the presentation and everyone gets a salad just the way they like it.

    Have a good week.


    1. Thank you Madonna, for your nice compliment. I know lots of people don’t like cilantro. I have oregano growing in my garden and I think it would be a nice substitute for the cilantro.

  12. How perfect for the season, Karen! Love the presentation. Salads are a wonderful summer meal and if you get a lot of variety and protein in there like you did, they are also wonderfully satisfying!

    1. Hi Judi, Yes this salad is very similar to a Cobb salad…I’m glad you like it. I do love the serving dishes and bowls and use them often.

    1. Thank you Boleyn, I’m glad you liked the way I put the salad together. I think you and Grace have a nice trade and will have a salad you both will enjoy.

  13. This looks wonderful! Mexican food is so heavy sometimes when the weather is really hot. This would be perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Debbie, Mexican food can sometimes be heavy but I think this salad makes good use of Mexican flavors for summer without being heavy. I’m glad you like the salad…thank you!

  14. We’ve been salad-crazed lately — mainly because the weather has turned quite warm. Gosh, this has so much flavor, and looks so gorgeous. Love this — thanks.

    1. Hi John, We are just starting to get some warm weather and I think salads make a nice meal for summer. I’m glad you like my version of a Southwestern salad. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Sarah, I’m glad you like the idea of serving this salad with a crisp tortilla bowl. It’s great that you think your children would enjoy the salad. 🙂

    1. I appreciate your nice compliment, Raymund. I do think it was a good salad and I’m happy that you like the recipe…thank you.

    1. Thank you very much Phil, for your nice compliment. I do think it is important to flavor each component of the salad for extra flavor, I’m glad you agree.

  15. So often these southwestern salads are tossed, and the way you’ve placed each ingredient side by side is so attractive! I also think this is seasoned very nicely. I’m eager to serve it just as you show it in the photo. Tossed tastes good, too, but I can always use a little help in the presentation department. LOL! Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Debra, I’m glad you like the way I presented the salad, thank you. I find if you toss a salad like this, all the good stuff goes to the bottom of the salad bowl. 🙂

  16. Karen you must have been reading my mind! I have been thinking about making a Cobb salad for dinner this week. I love the twist you have given your recipe. Isn’t a Cobb just the most summery salad ever in color, texture and taste? Love this post.

    1. Hi Celia, I’m glad you like how I presented the salad. I think it looks nice and you don’t have to dig around in the bottom of the bowl where all the toppings seem to end up if you toss it.

  17. What an unusual and beautiful way to serve a salad! I also love the ingredients (actually all these ingredients are included in my rice salads all the time! sometimes together, sometimes separately). I imagine serving it to close friends as a casual meal would be much more fun than the pre-mixed version. Thank you so much for this excellent idea!

    1. Hi Sissi, I’m glad you like the salad. I do think this is a nice dish to serve when having friends over on a warm summer evening.

    1. Hi Lizzy, I’m glad that my colorful salad cheered you up and appreciate your lovely compliment. I know how you feel after having gone through a cold winter.

  18. What a vibrant salad! The photo caught my eye and drew me right in. It’s just the thing for good summer eating — advance prep and last-minute assembly is my idea of summer cooking!

    1. Thank you Marlene, for your nice compliment. By making some of the components ahead of time, this is a quick meal to get on the table.

  19. Beautiful and with a twist!! I know this from Europe as a ‘composed’ or ‘arranged’ dish . . . some years back someone corrected me and said it was called ‘Cobb’ – well yours is a Cobb with delightful extra features!!!! And tho’ the winter gales are breaking branches outside all week here, I could still quite happily make a meal of this 🙂 !

    1. Hi Eha, I appreciate your nice compliment…thank you. Yes, I agree with you about a Cobb salad being is a composed salad and there are endless possibilities…I’m happy that you like my salad. Hopefully your weather improves and you don’t have too much damage.

  20. Karen,

    This sounds fantastic and makes for a great looking salad! I really love that you can make it ahead of time. I’m not crazy about corn in my salads or salsa, but I see you have the heat (jalapenos) here. Can you recommend a substitution? Black beans maybe?



    1. Hi Jane, I’m glad you like the salad…it would be a good one for you to share with your family at the lake. By layering each ingredient, you can skip serving yourself the corn. If you wanted to eliminate it entirely you could add a layer of sliced olives or bacon to the salad to go along with the black beans in the recipe.

  21. Hello Karen, this looks delicious! I just asked my husband if he had any dinner requests – I’m going to show him your post, I know he’ll want it! I’m asking excited because I can yes my tortilla pan to shape some bowls!

    Have a great week!


    1. Thank you Mary, I’m happy to know that you think your husband would like the salad. How nice that you have a tortilla pan, it would be perfect for this recipe.

  22. I think I’d like mine served in a tortilla bowl although your green platter is very pretty. What a colourful salad and I like how everything is presented in lines. The Mexican theme is a good one xx

    1. Thank you Charlie, for your nice compliment. I think the tortilla bowls are a nice way to serve the salads as they also add crunch and flavor to the meal.

    1. Hi Ali, I’m glad that you like the salad. I do hope you get the opportunity to try both of the dishes. We are heading to the cottage in Maine today and I just might have to have a lobster roll for lunch. Wish I could share. 😀

    1. Hi Jeannee, I agree with you about how good this salad will be with fresh veggies from the garden. I’ve got tiny green tomatoes forming on my plants now and can’t wait to start harvesting them. Thank you for your nice compliment…I’m glad you like this recipe.

    1. Thank you Donalyn, for your kind words. I’m happy to know you like my Southwestern salad…it will be even better with fresh tomatoes from the garden that we should be able to pick before long. 🙂

    1. Thank you Greg, for your nice compliment. This is a pretty salad when presented this way instead of just tossing all the ingredients together.

    1. Thank you Seana, for your nice compliment. This is a salad that I think is as good as it looks and I’m glad to know you like the recipe.

    1. Thank you Katerina, I’m happy to know you like my summer salad…it does make for a pretty presentation with all its colors.

  23. Such a lovely and colorful salad. It would work perfectly with our cold weather we are having (can you believe I had to pull on my wool socks yesterday!!!) such a hearty dish it is. 🙂

    1. Hi Laila, I’m glad you like the salad. We have had a cool spring and start to summer here as well. This morning, it is 48 degrees here in Maine although it is supposed to warm up later today.

  24. This looks absolutely brilliant. 🙂 It’s far too cold here in Oz to even THINK of salads at the moment, but I will love this in Spring. 🙂

    1. Hi Krista, Yes…I think you should be eating comfort food right now but eventually your weather will warm and then you can enjoy this salad. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  25. This kind of salad dinner I eat often but I will make your tasty one, this evening because I am home alone! Yummmm! I like my salads to be colorful too! Nice presentation too!

    1. Thank you Gloria, I’m happy to know that you like the recipe for the Southwester salad and appreciate your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Susan, I appreciate that you like the recipe. I’m happy to know you would think of it for your summer entertaining as your meals are always so lovely, thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Nancy, I’m glad you like my version of a Cobb with a Mexican flair. I do think it makes a nice summer meal and thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Donna, I’m glad you like the salad and are going to be trying it this summer. Enjoy! I’m happy to know that you are back into the blogging world after your surgery…that care.

    1. Hi Lea Ann, I’m happy that you liked my Southwestern version of a Cobb salad and the way I presented it. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  26. This looks like a winner, Karen. Maybe we’ll even have it this week when my daughter is visiting. Will probably not add the chicken, though, unless our daughter insists. (We rarely eat meat at home, except fish, which my husband considers a vegetable.)

    1. Hi Kathy, I’m glad you like the salad and are thinking of making it while your daughter is visiting. It would be great with some grilled fish or shrimp in place of the chicken. Of course it would be terrific with just veggies. Thank you for your nice compliment. Enjoy!

  27. I love the way you arranged the ingredients. It’s such a beautiful way to present a salad. I usually go for the mixed together version, but I like this a lot. It’s definitely more colorful. It’s definitely a great summer dish! I hope you’re enjoying Maine. 🙂

    1. Thank you Kristy, for your nice compliment…I’m glad you liked my presentation of the Southwestern salad. Thank you for your compliment and wish. If you get a chance, read my post tomorrow as it is about Maine.

    1. Thank you T.W., for your nice compliment. If you enjoy Cobb salads the way I do, I think you would enjoy this salad a lot. 😀

  28. That is such a pretty dish and worthy of being served up to guests. It could be a great way to serve up leftovers too – all in colourful lines.

  29. Karen, what a delightfully colorful and delicious looking summer salad – love your wonderful and pretty presentation! The Mexican “touch” is great and would certainly make my kids (and us) very happy!

  30. Dear Karen, your salad looks wonderfully colorful and you presented it so nicely – the Mexican touch would certainly make my kids (and us) very happy eaters! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  31. Dear Karen, your salad looks wonderfully colorful and you presented it so nicely – the Mexican touch would certainly make my kids (and us) very happy eaters! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    1. Thank you Andrea, I’m happy to know that you and your family would enjoy this recipe. My husband and I certainly enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Amy, I’m glad that you like the salad…thank you. I think serving it in a crisp tortilla bowl adds flavor as well as crunch.

    1. Hi Ming, I’m glad you like the salad. I think you will find that it is as good as it looks and does make for a nice summer meal. Thank you!

    1. Hi Terra, I appreciate your taking time to read my recent posts as well as this one about the salad. Thank you for your nice compliment.

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