Chopped Southwest Salad with Chipotle Dressing

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: March 25, 2024

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Chopped Southwest Salad ready to eat with a fork and napkin.

This delicious Chopped Southwest Salad with Chipotle Dressing is a nutritious yet fuss-free way to eat the rainbow. It tastes fresh and vibrant, with a great mix of textures from all the different veggies. The pickled onions and pecans stand out, pairing perfectly with the creamy (but ridiculously easy!) Chipotle Dressing.

Each generous serving provides 24 g of protein and 22 g of fiber, along with healthy fats from the avocado and pecans. The diversity of plants in this salad and the presence of resistant starch mean it’s also great for promoting gut health and a thriving microbiome! Whoever said eating healthy was boring needs a bowl of this amazing salad!

Overhead close-up of Chopped Southwest Salad with colorful toppings.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Nutrient-dense: With so many plants, you are sure to make serious progress in your daily nutrient requirements. Each serving contains notably 24 g of protein and 22 g of fiber. It’s also rich in vitamins A, E, and magnesium. It contains the daily recommended intake of folate and vitamin C for an adult.
  • Satiating: The combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats will help you feel fuller and satisfied for longer.
  • Flexible with easy substitutions for allergies or preferences.
  • Perfect for meal prep, making healthy eating convenient.
  • Gluten-free, ensuring it’s accessible for those with dietary restrictions.

Ingredient Notes

  • Gem lettuce: Crisp and refreshing, a perfect base for any salad. Alternatives include romaine or iceberg lettuce for a similar crunch.
  • Black beans: A great source of protein and fiber. Kidney beans or pinto beans can be used as a substitute.
  • Quinoa: A super grain that’s high in protein and gluten-free.
  • Avocado: Adds creaminess and healthy fats. If unavailable, try using a dollop of guacamole or diced mango for sweetness.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Begin by sautéing the corn with olive oil and ground cumin until golden. Whisk together the dressing ingredients – dairy-free yogurt, maple syrup, chipotle in adobo, lime juice, and a dash of sea salt. In a large bowl, mix the chopped lettuce, black beans, the cooled corn, cooked quinoa, finely chopped tomatoes and orange bell pepper, diced avocado, pickled onions, chopped cilantro, and pecans. Drizzle with the prepared Chipotle Dressing and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Preparation of Chipotle Dressing for Southwest Salad in a glass bowl.

Variations and Tips

  • I always choose soy yogurt when possible as it’s higher in protein, but if you can’t find it, any dairy-free yogurt will work fine here.
  • Higher protein option: Each serving contains 24 g of protein. Add 1 cup of cooked edamame to the salad to add an extra 18 g of protein total, taking each serving to 33 g of protein. Alternatively, you could add some extra black beans, some pumpkin seeds, or hemp seeds.
  • Nut-free option: Replace the pecans with pumpkin seeds.
  • To turn it into a meal prep: Layer in the following order in fitted containers: the sauce, black beans, quinoa, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, pickled onions, cilantro, and pecan. Unless you’re planning on eating it tomorrow, I’d save the avocado to add just before eating to prevent browning. If adding, drizzle generously with lime juice. If you like this kind of meal prep idea, you will love our High-Protein Cowboy Caviar!
  • For another easy chopped salad with a different flavor profile, check out our Rainbow Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing.
Close-up of Chopped Southwest Salad highlighting the textures and fresh ingredients.

Why You’ll Love This Chopped Southwest Salad with Chipotle Dressing

  • Nourishing
  • Flavorful
  • Easy
  • Customizable
  • Hearty
Chopped Southwest Salad tossed and served in a wooden bowl.
Chopped Southwest Salad ready to eat with a fork and napkin.

Chopped Southwest Salad with Chipotle Dressing

4.9 from 8 votes
This nutritious salad is packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, featuring a tasty Chipotle dressing, perfect for a satisfying meal.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes

Video

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup corn
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 head gem lettuce (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from 1/3 cup dry)
  • 5 oz tomatoes, finely chopped (I used Solano)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • ½ avocado (peeled and diced)
  • ½ cup pickled onion (can be substituted for finely chopped red onion)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp pecans (roughly chopped)

Chipotle Dressing

  • cup dairy-free yogurt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Chipotle in adobo (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 dash sea salt flakes

Instructions

  • In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the corn and cumin, and cook for 5 minutes. Allow to cool down.
  • Whisk together the yogurt, maple syrup, chipotle in adobo, lime juice, and sea salt flakes. This is your Chipotle Dressing.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, black beans, corn, quinoa, tomatoes, bell pepper, avocado, pickled onions, cilantro, and pecans. When ready to serve, drizzle with the Chipotle Dressing, and adjust salt to taste. Enjoy!

Notes

Chipotle in adobo is a smoky, spicy sauce, which can be replaced by chipotle powder, or smoked paprika mixed with a touch of cayenne pepper in a pinch. Like many condiments, sodium varies a lot depending on the brand. If sodium is of concern for you, please don’t hesitate to check your labels.

Per Serving

Calories 539kcalCarbohydrates 80gProtein 24gFat 17gSodium 488mgFiber 22gVitamin A 341IUVitamin C 99mgCalcium 156mgIron 6mg
COURSE Salad
CUISINE Mexican-Inspired, Southwestern, Tex-Mex
KEYWORDS Fiber-Rich, gluten-free, High Protein, nutrient-dense
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FAQ

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, it’s perfect for meal prep. Just save the dressing and avocado to add fresh.

Are there any substitutes for Chipotle in adobo?

A dash of smoked paprika mixed with a little vegan mayo or yogurt can mimic the smokiness if you’re in a pinch.

Is this recipe suitable for kids?

Absolutely, though you might want to tone down or omit the chipotle in the dressing for less spice.

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9 Comments

  1. I made 4 servings for me and my boyfriend, thinking we would eat it 2 days for lunch. It was way too much. We ate 7 full plates in 3 days and had to throw away 1/3 of the salad because it was just too much. I was already worried when I saw the ingredients but decided to follow the recipe because it was my first time making it. The salad was good but I would say 4 servings is more like 8-10 servings. We really tried to eat a lot of it and were full after eating but still it was impossible to finish. I used the metric recipe so I don’t know is it the same with us recipe or is there a mistake. Or then the portion sizes are just A LOT bigger.4 stars

    1. Hey Paivi, I’m glad you liked the salad 💚 The US imperial and metrics measurements are the same, and the video shows two servings as the full recipe/ wooden bowl.
      Although serving sizes are subjective and should always be individualized, I am a little surprised to hear the whole recipe would be 4 to 5 servings for you. Did you use it as a side or as a complete meal?
      This salad was created to be a complete and satisfying meal that covers the average nutrition requirements with a lot of high-volume, lower-calorie-density ingredients, so the serving sizes are pretty generous. Cutting the whole recipe into 4 to 5 servings would bring it to under 250 calories and about 10 g of protein, which is relatively low. If you and your partner prefer smaller serving sizes, focusing on higher-calorie-density ingredients (such as nuts and seeds and whole grains) might be a good strategy to make sure you cover all your needs. I am always happy to suggest some recipes if that helps 🙂

      1. Thanks! Adding some seeds and nuts is a good idea. Or us it as a side salad to grilled tofu. Good salad, many options! I only had the salad but my boyfriend had some chicken too, so he could have probably eaten more. He was thinking that only salad is not going to be enough for him. 🙂

    1. The nutrition info have been calculated based on the recipe being 2 servings 🙂 saying that, serving size are very subjective and I would always encourage you to eat the amount that feels right for you 💚

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