Southwest Salad with Honey Lime Dressing is full of flavor and texture, and incredibly easy and quick to throw together for a weeknight dinner or fulfilling meal-prepped lunch!
If you’re here it’s because you, too, love not-boring salads. This Southwest Salad is anything but boring for sure, in both texture and flavor!
It’s loaded with fresh veggies and your favorite Southwest-inspired ingredients like black beans, jalapenos, and cilantro. And the honey-lime dressing compliments them all so beautifully with the balance of sweet and savory.
It’s simple enough to meal-prep for lunches and hearty enough to throw together for a light weeknight dinner. Of course, I’d enjoy it with a margarita and some chips and salsa for that occasion. You’ll love how quickly it comes together and I’m willing to be it’s going to be your new go-to. Let’s get to making it!
The best thing about salads is how you can so easily mix and match ingredients to your preferences. I obviously love how all of these ingredients come together for a salad that’s bursting with flavor and a variety of textures, but as always, you can omit or substitute ingredients for what you have and love!
Here’s what we’re working with:
- Romaine Lettuce – this variety adds a lot of crunch to the salad and has plenty of nooks and crannies for the vinaigrette to get into.
- Black Beans – delish, loaded with protein and all those good-for-you things!
- Red Bell Pepper – slightly sweet, crunchy, and a beautiful pop of color.
- Corn – I use frozen for ease in this recipe, but you could also use fresh or canned.
- Avocado – wonderfully creamy, adding avocado is one of my favorite parts. If you are meal prepping this salad, be sure to either leave the avocado off until right before enjoying, or toss it in lime juice the night or morning before enjoying so it doesn’t oxidize too much.
- Jalapeno – if you love spicy, leave the seeds in and use slices. Otherwise, a fine dice throughout is nice. Or, not into spice? Then just go ahead and leave it out.
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes – the little tomatoes are perfect for salads because they’re not too juicy and are perfectly bite sized, even if you don’t want to halve them.
- Cilantro – fresh and bright, I LOVE lots of cilantro in all of my Southwest-inspired recipes! You can also chop it up and throw it in the dressing, or toss the salad with whole leaves.
- Feta Cheese – while it’s maybe not Southwest per se, it’s easy to find, creamy, and adds a wonderful tang and saltiness to the salad. Cotija is a wonderful on this salad, too, if you’re able to find it in your area. When this recipe was first developed, I was in a small town and couldn’t find cotija so we worked with what we had!
- Honey Lime Dressing – this sweet and slightly savory dressing is hands down the perfect addition to this salad! It’s bright and refreshing and you’re going to want it on everything.
Let’s make the salad!
It’s really easy to throw this salad together, so much so I won’t have much to say here. It takes about 10 minutes or so to get it all together which is PERFECT for busy days!
Start by preparing the dressing – which you can do ahead of time too. Simply whisk together all of those ingredients!
Simply toss all of the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Immediately before serving, toss them with your desired amount of dressing. You might not use it all, just store it in the fridge for your next batch or serve it alongside the salad for others to adjust the amount as needed.
If you are making the salad ahead of time, wait to toss the salad until you’re ready to serve it.
This salad as written is vegetarian and gluten-free, with the option of omitting the cheese to make it dairy-free too. That being said, there are several additions you can add to the salad if you’d like, including proteins.
- Shrimp – whether it’s sauteed or grilled, shrimp would be a lovely addition to this salad. Similar to this Chipotle Cilantro Salad, shrimp absorbs and compliments all of these flavors wonderfully!
- Chicken – if a meat-eater is going to enjoy this salad, they’ll love chicken on top. Grill it or make blackened chicken to top the salad.
- Blackened Salmon – will add a ton of flavor, and there’s just something extra delicious about flakey salmon on a salad!
- Tortilla Chips – for a crunchy kick, top with tortilla strips or chips for another added element.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of green salad recipes. Check it out!
Southwest Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
- 1 lime zested
- 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed, approximately 2 limes
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tablespoon shallot finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 15-oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup frozen corn rinsed in lukewarm water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, drained
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon jalapeño finely diced
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 2 Tablespoon fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles or cotija cheese
- Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, garlic cloves, shallot, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking until all ingredients are emulsified. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine lettuce, black beans, red bell pepper, corn, avocado, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and feta in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.
- Do not defrost the frozen corn, simply drain under lukewarm water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- If not serving the salad immediately, reserve the avocado, feta, and dressing until ready to serve.