Hot summer days call for lighter meals and this awesome southwest chicken salad recipe fits the bill! Creamy ranch dressing and barbecue sauce combine for a taste that’s anything but typical.

We love the sturdy leaves of Romaine lettuce, but iceberg, a spring mix or any other type of lettuce your family’s partial to will work. Layer black beans, tomatoes, corn, and delicious Monterey Jack cheese then head off course when it comes to the chicken.

Coat leftover chicken with store-bought barbecue sauce or try making our zesty barbecue sauce ahead of time for a truly unique flavor.

Top with homemade tortilla chips, gently fried to a crisp, golden brown and seasoned with salt and chili powder then serve with ranch dressing—you’ll have a winning combination for a complete meal!

Zesty southwest chicken salad with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.

Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe

Make a southwest chicken salad with homemade tortilla strips and chicken coated in tangy barbeque sauce. Serve with ranch dressing for a complete meal!


Yield: 6 -8 servings
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  • Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add oil until it’s about ¼" deep and heat while you cut the tortillas into strips. Begin by stacking 3 or 4 tortillas and cutting them in half. Then, with the cut side facing you, slice the tortillas vertically into ¼" thick strips. Repeat until all of the tortillas have been cut into strips.
  • Test the temperature of the oil by placing one tortilla strip into the skillet. If it begins to fry gently, the oil is the correct temperature. (If you are using a thermometer, the oil should be 350–360 degrees.) Sprinkle 1/3 of the tortilla strips into the oil, separating and spacing them evenly as they are dropped into the oil—be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Allow the strips to fry 1–2 minutes until light golden brown and crispy. Remove the strips using a slotted spoon, onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Immediately season the strips lightly with salt and chili powder. Repeat until all of the strips have been fried then set them aside.
  • Add the cubed chicken and barbecue sauce to a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss until the chicken is completely coated with the sauce then set aside.
  • Arrange the chopped romaine on the bottom of a large salad bowl or platter then top it with the black beans, tomatoes, corn, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and cilantro. You can either sprinkle the ingredients evenly over the top of the lettuce or group each ingredient together and toss just before serving.
  • Divide the salad onto individual plates and top with plenty of barbecue chicken, tortilla strips and ranch dressing on the side. Enjoy!


This salad is a visual delight! Arrange in layers or group ingredients together and toss just before serving.
Calories: 443kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 92mg, Sodium: 1458mg, Potassium: 257mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 6g
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