Southwest Crispy Chicken Chopped Salad

Every once in a while I crave a big ol’ salad. One that has all kinds of goodies in it. Big salads are great for lunch or dinner. And they can be made in a million and one different ways. So last week when the craving struck, I decided to make a southwestern style version for dinner with crispy chicken, avocado, cheddar cheese, black beans, bell pepper and onion all tossed in a creamy chipotle lime dressing. And it totally hit the spot.

I am always a huge fan of crispy chicken in salads. Sure grilled chicken is good but crispy chicken is just so…crispy. It adds a nice texture in the salad. Yes, it does take a little bit more time, especially in this salad because you do need to marinate it a couple of hours, but believe me it is totally worth it.

I am also a huge fan of the flavors of chipotle and lime. I think they pair so well together. The chipotle is spicy. The lime citrusy. Mixed together with a little sour cream and mayo and they make a fantastic creamy dressing with a little kick.

For all of the other ingredients in this salad, I just threw in what I had that fit the southwestern feel I wanted. That is what is great about big salads, you can add in or take out anything that suits your fancy.

Want a little more spice? Substitute pepper jack cheese for the cheddar.

Want a touch more sweetness? Add some corn.

Want a little more crunch? Add some tortilla chips.

Don’t like avocado? You crazy person.

I kid, I kid. But you get my point, big salads are versatile, filling and scrumptious, especially this one :)

Southwest Crispy Chicken Chopped Salad Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:
5 based on 1 reviews

Crispy Chicken Chopped Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • oil for frying
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 avocado, pit removed, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem, veins and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

Chipotle Lime Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest



Make a marinade for the chicken. Whisk together vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Pour mixture over the chicken tenderloins and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Combine flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a resealable bag. In a bowl whisk egg and milk together.


Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat.


Place the chicken tenderloins in the flour. Shake to coat. Remove from bag, shake off excess flour and dip chicken tenderloins into egg/milk mixture. Return egg dipped chicken to flour and shake to coat once more.


Sprinkle a little flour in the oil and if it sizzles begin frying the chicken, in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.


Combine remaining salad ingredients together in a large bowl.


Chop chicken into bite size pieces and add to salad. If you prefer, you can also leave the tenders in whole pieces. Drizzle dressing over the top, toss and serve.



Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    Jack Smith
    June 26, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    I made this, it was so goooood!

    • Reply
      June 27, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      That is wonderful to hear Jack!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Your salad looks so wonderful! I love big filling salads like this!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2015 at 6:36 am

    I love love cilantro and lime too! I go in phases with salads. Sometimes I have a couple a day and other times one a couple a month. I can’t wait to try this one!

  • Reply
    Christine from Cook the Story
    January 12, 2015 at 6:21 am

    This salad sounds like it needs to be on my lunch menu sometime this week!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Chipotle and lime is such a great combo! We have been eating lots of salad here too, and this one needs to go on the rotation for sure. It looks gorgeous and so good!!!

  • Reply
    Melanie | Melanie Makes
    January 12, 2015 at 6:10 am

    It’s only 9a but I could totally go for this salad right now!

  • Reply
    Heather //
    January 12, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Big Ol’ Salad’s are my favorite kind of salads – meal salads! This sounds amazingly delicious, I’m adding it to my menu for this week.

  • Reply
    Nutmeg Nanny
    January 12, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I totally get the “big ol’ salad” craving. I have been there a lot lately and this salad looks like it needs to make the list!

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