Craving a zesty, filling salad but trying to stick to a keto diet? This keto Southwest chicken salad loaded with veggies and topped with a refreshing lime vinaigrette is sure to satisfy. Each crunchy, flavorful bite packs plenty of low-carb nutrition to keep you feeling full and energized while still enjoying the bright, bold flavors of the Southwest.

Chicken salads don’t have to be boring, not when you kick them up with spicy chili powder, bright cilantro, hearty black beans, and a refreshing lime dressing. The mix of textures from the crispy lettuce, tender chicken, creamy avocado and tangy cheese is what makes this salad extraordinary. Easy to prepare and enjoy any night of the week.

This salad has everything you need – protein, healthy fats, and net carbs under 10g per serving. Indulge in the satisfaction of chipotle chicken and vibrant veggies without the guilt thanks to its keto-friendly nutrition profile. Refresh your recipe rotation with this easy chicken salad packed with Southwest flavor.

Keto Southwest Chicken Salad Ingredients

The best part about this salad is how customizable it is to your personal tastes and what you have on hand. But here’s a look at some of the key ingredients that give this salad its signature flavors:

  • Chicken breasts – Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts for ease. Grill or bake them simply seasoned with Southwest spice blend.
  • Romaine lettuce – Romaine gives you that crispness you expect from a good salad. Other greens work too.
  • Bell peppers – The crunch and subtle sweetness of bell peppers pair nicely with the spicy chicken.
  • Avocado – No southwest salad is complete without creamy, buttery avocado slices.
  • Cheese – Crumbled feta or cotija add a delicious salty accent, but cheddar or pepper jack work too.
  • Dressing – An olive oil mayo dressing seasoned with lime, garlic, and spices pulls it all together.
  • Veggie mix-ins – Consider additions like corn, black beans, jicama, cilantro, red onion, etc.
  • Nuts/seeds – Chopped pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc. add crunch.
  • Chipotle ranch – Drizzle over or use as dip for extra richness.
  • Crispy tortilla strips – Strips of baked tortilla chips on top for a fun garnish.

With a base of lettuce, chicken, peppers, and avocado, the possibilities are endless for customization based on what’s in your fridge or pantry. Play around and make this Southwest salad your own!

Steps to Make Southwest Chicken Salad

Making this delicious Southwest-inspired salad at home is easy to do in just 5 simple steps:

  1. Cook the chicken – Season boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a Southwest spice blend or Cajun seasoning. Grill them, bake them, or sauté them – whatever is easiest for you. Cook through until the chicken is completely done. Let rest 5 minutes, then cube or slice the chicken.
  2. Prep the veggies – While the chicken cooks, you can prep the veggies. Chop a head of crisp romaine lettuce. Dice up some colorful bell peppers. Thinly slice some red onion if desired. Chop cilantro. Slice or cube an avocado. Prep any other desired veggies like corn, black beans, jicama, etc.
  3. Make the dressing – Whisk up the easy olive oil mayo dressing. Combine olive oil mayo with the juice from one lime, some minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce if you want some heat. This southwest ranch dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead.
  4. Toast optional tortilla strips – If you want to add some tortilla crunch, slice corn tortillas into thin strips, toss with a little oil and salt, and bake at 400F until crisped and lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Assemble the salads – Now you’re ready to put it all together. Build the salad starting with the lettuce base, then topping with chicken, peppers, onions, avocado, cheese, any other veggies, and drizzling with the dressing. Sprinkle the tortilla strips on top if using. Serve any extra dressing on the side.

That’s it! With these simple steps you’ll have an incredible southwest salad ready in 30 minutes to enjoy all week long. Play around with different add-ins and veggies to make this salad your own.

Also Read: Keto Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe With Zesty Dressing

Tips for Best Results make Keto Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe

This Southwest chicken salad is highly adaptable to your personal preferences, but here are some tips for getting the most flavor and nutrition from each ingredient:

  • Chicken – Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness so they cook evenly. This also allows them to soak up more seasoning. Grill over medium-high heat for pretty grill marks.
  • Lettuce – Look for the crispiest, freshest lettuce you can find. Romaine is classic but kale or spinach also work.
  • Veggies – Use fresh, in-season vegetables whenever possible. Roast or grill veggies ahead of time to intensify flavors.
  • Avocado – Allow avocado to soften at room temperature before cutting to prevent oxidation. Or sprinkle with lemon or lime juice.
  • Cheese – Splurge on a good quality cheese like aged cheddar or authentic cotija for maximum flavor impact.
  • Dressing – Make the dressing yourself for the freshest, brightest taste. Good olive oil is key.
  • Herbs – Use fresh chopped cilantro and green onion rather than dried herbs.
  • Tortilla strips – Opt for whole grain or sprouted tortillas. Bake strips for crispness, don’t fry.
  • Extras – Include fun additions like roasted corn, black beans, pickled red onions, pepitas, etc.
  • Balance – Counter the rich avocado and dressing with bright acidic components like lime juice or hot sauce.

Focusing on fresh, high-quality ingredients and taking a few small steps to maximize texture and flavor will ensure your Southwest salad is next-level tasty and nutritious. Play around with different add-ins to make this salad your own signature dish!

Nutrition Facts About Keto Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe With Lime Dressing

This fresh, veggie-loaded Southwest salad is packed with nutrition and health benefits. The lean protein from the chicken provides sustained energy and helps keep you feeling full. The wide array of colorful vegetables deliver a megadose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nutrient-dense additions like avocado, cheese, nuts and seeds offer healthy fats, protein, and fiber.

Since it’s designed to be keto-friendly, this salad is naturally very low in carbs. The lettuce, peppers, onions, avocado, and other veggie mix-ins contribute minimal net carbs. The cheese, olive oil, nuts, and seeds offer healthy fats to keep you satisfied. With no grains, beans, starchy veggies, or sugary dressings, this salad aligns perfectly with a low-carb ketogenic eating plan.

Enjoying this Keto Southwest chicken salad makes it easy to pack in high-quality protein, loads of nutrients, and flavor – all in one tasty low-carb meal. Substitute or add ingredients to adapt this salad to suit your own nutritional needs and goals.


This easy keto Southwest chicken salad comes together quickly with grilled chicken, peppery seasoning, crispy lettuce, creamy avocado, and a bold lime dressing. It’s fresh, full of flavor, and compliant with the ketogenic diet. The possibilities for substitutions and customizations are endless. Enjoy this salad for healthy keto meal prep!


Can I use rotisserie chicken instead of cooking my own?

Absolutely! Leftover rotisserie chicken or deli chicken makes this salad even easier.

What if I don’t have feta cheese?

Feta is great on this salad, but you can sub any crumbled cheese like cheddar or cotija.

Can I prep the salad ahead of time?

Yes, prep all the ingredients and dressing up to 3 days before and store separately. Assemble right before eating.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead?

Chicken thighs would work great too. Just adjust cooking time as needed.

What kind of lettuce works best?

Romaine is tasty and sturdy here. But any crisp lettuce like green or red leaf could also work.

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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