This keto southwest chicken salad is the perfect grab & go lunch option! Made with tasty chipotle chicken, crunchy veggies, and homemade ranch dressing – this recipe is both nutritious and delicious.
Why you'll love this recipe
Salad haters, listen up! If you struggle to get in your daily greens, my easy southwest chicken salad recipe is the answer to your woes.
This salad isn't your ordinary health food – it's creamy, satisfying, and totally keto-approved!
When I'm prepping a keto salad, it needs to have:
- Good protein
- Healthy fat
- Low-carb count
- The ability to fill you up!
This southwest chicken salad checks all these boxes (and more!).
This fresh recipe is filled with tasty, whole ingredients that when combined, make one amazing salad!
Each ingredient is low-carb and keto-friendly.
The star of this recipe is the chipotle-seasoned chicken!
I like to use chicken tenders (or sliced chicken breasts) in the recipe because they're pre-portioned for easy serving.
To give this southwest chicken salad some real flavor, chipotle seasoning is a must.
You can buy traditional chipotle seasoning made from chipotle peppers. Just make sure to check the ingredients for any additives!
For a bit more of a complex flavor, you can try making your own mix. Simply add your spices to a mason jar, shake and store!
Possible spices for your mix include:
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Chipotle pepper or cayenne
- Smoked paprika
For added flavor and acidity, I like to add salsa to my southwest chicken salad.
Optionally, you can also add fresh, juicy tomatoes.
I use lots of keto vegetables in this salad to keep it fresh and nutrient-dense.
Iceberg lettuce, bell peppers, and onion make for a classic mix.
Fresh cilantro adds so much amazing flavor to this salad; if you're not a fan of this herb, substitute for parsley.
Cheese adds some major yum to this recipe (plus some bonus fats!).
You can use whatever shredded cheese you have at home whether that be mozzarella, cheddar, or Mexican blend.
Homemade ranch dressing
When it comes to salad dressing, homemade is always the tastiest! I also like making my own dressings so that I know there are no sneaky added sugars.
My simple ranch dressing ingredients include sour cream, milk, and a ranch dressing packet.
This easy southwest chicken salad recipe comes together in a pinch! Here are a few cooking tips to ensure success:
- Add olive oil to your skillet to limit sticking.
- Use a splash of chicken broth to help your seasoning break down.
- Wait until your chicken cools completely before adding it to your salad to prevent wilted greens.
How to make southwest chicken salad
Making this Southwest chicken salad truly couldn't be more simple! These are the steps I take:
Cook your chicken
Begin by adding your chicken tenders (cut chicken breasts) to a large skillet. Add your chipotle seasoning on top!
Cook your chicken on medium-high heat for around 8 minutes, or until cooked through.
Chop the vegetables
Next, prep your veggies!
Chop your iceberg lettuce, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and red onion.
You can chop based on your preference; I like to chop my vegetables into small pieces so that I get the perfect bite, every time!
Prep your salad
In a large bowl, add your chopped vegetables along with chopped cilantro and shredded cheese. You can use mozzarella, a Mexican blend, or whatever you have on hand.
Toss to combine.
Make your dressing
Next, prepare your keto ranch dressing; in a large bowl, combine 1 ranch dressing packet with a container of sour cream and ¼ cup milk.
Set your dressing aside until serving. Pre-dressing your salad makes for wilted lettuce.
Combine and serve!
When you're ready to chow down, top your salad mixture with your southwest chicken and ranch dressing.
Serve your southwest chicken salad immediately!
What to serve with chicken salad
This Southwest chicken salad recipe is perfect for lunchtime; this makes it a great choice for meal prep! Serve it alongside almond flour muffins or low-carb cheddar biscuits for a hunger-satiating meal.
If you want to serve this salad at dinner, round off a soup and salad combo with an Instant Pot taco soup or my 4-ingredient Mexican chicken soup.
If you want to switch up your flavors, or simply use the ingredients you already have on hand, try any of these recipe variations:
- Add taco seasoning to your chicken for extra flavor!
- Include cherry tomatoes for color and a nutrient boost.
- Use greek yogurt instead of sour cream
- Try chopped romaine lettuce instead of iceberg.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice on top for a burst of acidity.
- Top with avocado for a tasty, healthy fat!
These are a few common questions I get about my keto southwest chicken salad recipe. If you don't see your question answered, please leave it for me in the comments down below.
What is a Southwest salad made of?
Traditional southwest salad varies depending on the recipe but usually consists of grilled chicken, greens, sweet corn, black beans, cheese, and a creamy southwest dressing.
My keto version of the southwest chicken salad doesn't stray far! I simply swap out beans and sweet corn for extra vegetables to avoid a high carb count.
What is Southwest dressing made of?
Southwest dressing ingredients also vary but the flavor profile remains the same; it's creamy, full of spices, with a bit of acidity.
Many dressings include ingredients like apple cider vinegar, lime juice, sour cream, and an abundance of spices.
For my southwest chicken salad recipe, I simply use a homemade ranch dressing and let the chipotle chicken speak for itself!
Want more quick and easy keto lunches like this southwestern chicken salad? I have a ton of keto salad recipes and other great lunch ideas to help you get through the week. Here are a few to get you started:
- Asian Spiralized Zucchini Noodle Salad uses clever, veggie-packed zucchini noodles as a keto alternative! Enjoy your noodles while also sneaking in some extra vegetables.
- Tuna Egg Salad with Sour Cream is unbeatable in lettuce cups or on a sandwich. Prep this salad for tons of protein, anytime!
- Keto Cobb Salad Recipe with Chicken transforms your average salad into a keto masterpiece! Prep your ingredients ahead of time for a quick and easy lunch option.
- Low-Carb Cream of Mushroom Soup combines heavy cream, mushrooms, and thyme for a delectable concoction!
- Keto Tomato Soup served alongside a Keto Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Talk about comfort food heaven! Enjoy them together on a cold day.
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Keto Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe
- 1 lb chicken tenders sliced
- 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning or to taste
- 1 iceburg lettuce chopped
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- ½ yellow bell pepper chopped
- ½ red onion chopped
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheese mozzarella or mexican cheese blend
- 1 container sour cream
- 1 ranch dressing packet
- ¼ cup milk
- In a large skillet, add chicken and chipotle seasoning.
- Cook until cooked through about 8 minutes on medium high heat.
- In a large bowl, add lettuce, salsa, peppers, onion, cilantro and cheese. Toss together.
- In a medium bowl, add ingredients for ranch dressing and set aside.
- Place chicken on top of salad and serve with ranch dressing!
Low Carb Sweeteners | Keto Sweetener Conversion Chart
Array ( [calories] => 277 [carbohydrates] => 13 [protein] => 33 [fat] => 10 [saturated_fat] => 5 [polyunsaturated_fat] => 1 [monounsaturated_fat] => 3 [trans_fat] => 0.01 [cholesterol] => 97 [sodium] => 773 [potassium] => 926 [fiber] => 4 [sugar] => 7 [vitamin_a] => 1392 [vitamin_c] => 59 [calcium] => 216 [iron] => 2 )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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