Adventures in Healthier Eating with 2 Kids and a Picky Husband

Southwest Chicken Salad Topper

Posted by 10 years ago 19 Comments

A lot of you know I’m a HUGE McDonald’s Southwest Salad fan. It’s, by far, my favorite fast food salad.  The flavors are perfectly combined and, in my opinion, no dressing is necessary. So I set off to make a knock off home version. I wanted to for a while and then a few email requests have nudged me to do it sooner rather then later.

I am very happy with the result. It’s not exactly like the McDonald’s version but it’s close enough for me. Plus I had some ulterior motives while coming up with the recipe. I wanted to use ingredients in their whole forms, for example 1 can of corn. I mean who has 2 tbsp of black beans or 1 oz of green chilis hanging around the house. It’s just not realistic. However, because of this the recipe makes about 5 servings.

My goal was to create the salad “topper” that you can use on top of your favorite salad greens. I happened to eat mine over a mound of baby spinach, as it was all I had but you can use anything. A romaine lettuce blend would work best for mimicking McDonald’s version.

S0 here you go. I hope you like it, I know it cured my craving for a fast food salad I like the fact that I know EXACTLY what’s in it.

  • 10oz cooked grilled chicken (happens to be the size of 1 short cuts bag ;~)
  • 1 can (15.5oz) can of black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can (8.5oz) of yellow corn (rinsed and drained – I used no salt added)
  • ½ red onion diced small
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small can (4.5 oz) diced green chilies lightly drained
  • 1 oz fancy shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey (42g)
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco (may want to cut back if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

Place the chicken, beans, corn, onion, tomatoes,green chilies and cheese in a large bowl.

Whisk the lime juice, honey, Tabasco, chili powder, and cumin. Pour over the chicken mixture and blend. Let sit until ready to serve. I didn’t wait long and it was good but it get’s better the longer it sits!

Scoop on top of your favorite salad greens!

Here’s another shot. I wasn’t too happy with any of them. For some reason I suck at photographing salads! But I did get a cute shot of the toddler helping me cut up the onion with one of those hand choppers.

As for the NI, I used a cup measure spoon and scooped it over the greens. Then I measured 4 more cups out, that’s how I came up with 5 servings.

Update: OK, I used some of the leftovers tonight to make nachos on baked tortilla chips. OH MY WORD! Sinfully good! I topped the chips with a few tablespoons, another 1 oz of cheese put it under the broiler and dipped in salsa. YUMMY!

Aprox Nutritional Information per serving
Servings Amount per Serving Calories Fat Fiber WWPs
5 ~1cup 325 5g 8g 6

See other recipes using: beans, black beans, cherry tomatoes, chicken, chili powder, chillis, corn, cumin, honey, lime juice

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There are 19 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    April 20, 2008

    I'm with you on the Micky D's SW salad, it needs NO dressing! I like to add grape tomatoes to my SW salad if I have them around. Your recipe sounds and looks yummy....especially using the leftovers on baked torilla chips!

    Laura N

    April 21, 2008

    YAY! I'm so excited. I am on a mission to make this this week. So glad I'll be able to get my fix without spending $4.70 and eating a ton of sodium. Thanks!


    April 21, 2008

    Thanks so much for this Roni - I love that salad too and I won't go to McDs!


    April 21, 2008

    Made this today - it is even better than McD's version! If you really need dressing, Newman's own has southwest dressing at Wal-Mart now. It is a little different than the creamy southwest @ McD's, but with a little fat free sour cream, it is great! Thanks so much for all the recipes Roni!


    April 23, 2008

    This sounds great, I can't wait to try it. I have never had McD's before. I don't venture there a lot because when I do those craptastic little chicken mcnuggets whisper my name and I end up with a 20 piece, some sweet n sour sauce and a large fry.

    Laura N

    April 24, 2008

    Made it yesterday. LOVED IT! I added a few crushed corn chips after I topped my lettuce to get the crunch (I know, it added some calories and fat, but it wasn't much) and I ommitted onions 'cause I don't do raw onions. And it was fabulous. Doesn't need dressing at all. DH loved it too, although he added Newman's light Italian to it (we all know those husbands eat differently than we do). Thanks again Roni!


    May 6, 2008

    I just found the yummiest southwest-style dressing, Brianna's Santa Fe, that is fat-free and only 25 calories in 2 tablespoons. Thought I would pass it along to is really yummy, a little sweet and a little spicy. The other salad dressings in the Brianna's brand line are good too but most are higher in fat and sugar than this one. I usually dress my salads with vinegar and a splash of oil, but I tried this low cal one and it was so tasty.


    May 15, 2008

    I have to say that I am addicted to your websites. I have tried and loved quite a few of your recipes but this is definitely one of my favorites (and toddler approved as well). The only substitution I made was to use the corn cut off of 2 ears of corn instead of corn fromt he can. Thank you for taking so much time to benefit others. I just want you to know that it is greatly appreciated. Keep it up Kristine, NH


    May 15, 2008

    Hi Kristine - That's an AWESOME substitution. Especially during corn season! ;~) Thanks so much for you kind words.


    June 26, 2008

    I made this tonight and it was SO good. It got the approval of my hubby too. I am a newcomer to your website and I am very excited to try many of your recipes. Thanks!


    August 24, 2008

    I made this a few weeks ago and oh my goodness!!! It's AWESOME!!!!!! I've made it every week since, I think. Oh and putting it on nachos?!? BRILLIANT!!!!! So so yummy!!!


    August 30, 2009

    Made this yesterday, it is fantastic!! I didnt even need salad dressing. This will be a regular in my house. Thanks Roni!


    December 24, 2009

    I just found your site and all of your recipes look great. Has anyone tried this with a little salsa as the dressing? I haven't tried the recipe yet, it is on my list of recipes for this coming week. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for such wonderful recipes. I am just returning to weight watchers and your recipes will certainly help me keep on track.


    January 3, 2010

    I just made this and it was SO GOOD!! I thought I would need to maybe add something for the dressing, but I was wrong. This needs nothing else. I would recommend this to anyone.


    January 4, 2010

    So glad you liked it! Thanks for reminding me about it! I haven't made it in years... literally!