More Great Recipes: Dressing | Misc. Salad

Copycat Southwest Chicken Salad

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Member since 2015
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Serves 4 | Prep Time 15 minutes | Cook Time 20 minutes

Why I Love This Recipe

I have always enjoyed the Southwest Chicken Salad at McDonald's. I knew I could mimic the salad, but I could not find the dressing in a store around here (they use Newman's Own Southwest Dressing). I found the recipe for a copycat dressing that is pretty close, so now I can make my own salad whenever the mood strikes. This recipe makes four main-course salads but can be adjusted easily.

Ingredients You'll Need

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
¼ - ½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Lettuce for the base ( I use romaine and spring greens )
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup finely shredded cheese (Cheddar or pepper jack)
Tortilla strip salad toppers
4 lime wedges

1/2 cup Ranch dressing
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp – 1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
¼ - ½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder


Prepare the chicken a few hours before you want to eat the salad if you like it chilled. If you prefer, it can be added to the salad while slightly warm.

Cut each breast into two or three fairly even pieces.

Pat the chicken pieces dry and sprinkle with the spices and salt and pepper.

Cook the chicken on a grill pan or a heavy fry pan in the oil, about 8 to 10 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

Pat the corn kernels dry with a paper towel. Put them in a small heavy skillet over fairly high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will give the corn a little char flavor. Set aside to cool.

Make the dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. If it is too thick, thin by adding a little milk, vinegar, or lime juice.

Refrigerate until needed.

Assemble the salads on dinner plates. Make a fairly large bed of lettuce on each plate.

Sprinkle some black beans, corn, and cheese over each salad.

Slice the chicken (either chilled or warm) and arrange the slices over the salads.

Add some tortilla strip salad toppers to each salad. (Find these in the produce section of the grocery store. They come in bags and different flavors, including a southwest style.)

Put a lime wedge or two on each plate, to be squirted over the salad before putting on the dressing.

Pass the dressing to allow each person to put on their salad.

Note: Corn is best if you use a few ears of fresh and roast them on the grill or a grill pan to get the charred marks, then cut kernels off the cob, but I have used frozen or even canned and that works ok.

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