Entrees, Recipes
Leave a Comment

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Salad

This Spicy Southwestern Chicken Salad is a fantastic replica of a similar entree I enjoyed during a 2002 family vacation in South Dakota. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we dined at, but I fondly recall my first bite of their spicy Southwest Chicken Salad. The components were outstanding, and my taste buds went crazy!

Jump to Recipe

I have been making this version at home ever since. It’s a big hit with my family, which is a huge accomplishment. Because, while my husband and I love salads, my son isn’t much of a fan, so to create something that he loves is a big deal!

Hand holding a piece of chicken

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Salad Ingredients and Recipe

Jump to Video

Usually, I marinate chicken breasts with fajita flavors and grill them. However, I eliminated this step and opted for a delicious pre-cooked chicken to save time and energy.

For this recipe, I used OriginAl’s Chicken Ribs. These ribs are fully cooked chicken thighs prepared with a dry rub and smoked over hickory for 4 hours. The flavor is outstanding! Even better, the prep time is only 5 minutes! 

I’ve been using these ribs in all of my chicken recipes as of late, they’ve made dinner less complicated. OriginAl’s does nationwide two-day shipping right to your door (use Code: FloFAVS for $10 off)!

An interesting fact about myself is I declared myself a strictly white meat chicken eater during my teenage years and have avoided dark meat ever since. Consequently, I was shocked at how much I enjoyed these chicken thighs. I’m a huge fan of these chicken ribs!

I thawed 4 ribs and crisped in the air fryer for 5 minutes (you can also heat in the oven). Cut into strips after heating.

Spicy Southwest Chicken Salad

Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup corn (I thawed frozen corn)
  • 15 grape tomatoes halved (see instruction video)
  • 6 Tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp spicy dressing (see below)

Mix ingredients in bowl and set aside

Spicy Dressing

  • 1/3 cup Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil Vinaigrette dressing (shake beforehand)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine ingredients in blender and mix. Pour dressing into a bowl and set aside.

Table setting with Southwestern Chicken Salad

Crispy Tortilla Strips

  • 3 tortilla shells cut into strips and then 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • olive oil spray or 1/2 cup vegetable oil depending on how you want to crisp them.

Coat tortilla strips with olive oil spray, place in air fryer on 350 and crisp 7 minutes until desired color. Set aside

Alternate: heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil and fry tortilla strips until crisp

Table setting with chicken and salad

To Assemble Spicy Southwestern Chicken Salad

  • Place 1 cup lettuce on plate
  • drizzle spicy dressing over lettuce
  • top with 1/2 cup salsa
  • Add chicken strips
  • Top with crumbled queso, tortilla strips, and drizzle with ranch dressing

Enjoy (Click here for additional recipes)

Hand holding a bowl of Southwestern Chicken Salad and dog watching

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Salad

Southwestern Chicken Salad with a spicy dressings


  • 4 OriginAl's Chicken Rib thighs cut into strips
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Queso Fresco Crumbles optional
  • Ranch Dressing

Spicy Southwestern Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil Vinaigrette Dressing shake beforehand
  • 1/3 cup Hot Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper


  • 15 Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can Black Beans 15 oz
  • 1 Cup Corn I thawed frozen corn
  • 6 tbsp Cilantro leaves chopped
  • 4 tbsp Chopped Red Onion
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Crispy Tortilla Strips

  • 3 Flour Tortillas cut into strips
  • Olive Oil Spray coat tortilla strips


  • Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and stir, set aside
  • Add all of the spicy dressing ingredients to a blender and blend
  • Pour spicy dressing in a bowl and set aside
  • Add 3 tbsp of spicy dressing to salsa and stir
  • Coat tortilla strips with olive oil spray and crisp 5-7 minutes in air fryer at 400
    Alternative: heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a small pot and fry tortilla strips to desired crispness. remove and drain on paper towel covered plate
  • Place romaine lettuce on the bottom of a salad plate
  • drizzle spicy dressing over romaine lettuce
  • top with 1/2 cup of salsa
  • add chicken strips
  • top with queso fresco crumbles and tortilla strips
  • drizzle ranch dressing over salad


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.