Fresh and flavorful Southwestern Chopped Salad tossed in the most delicious creamy avocado cilantro-lime dressing! This southwest salad is so crisp and refreshing, plus simple to prepare. (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free option.)
This Southwestern Chopped Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing is our all-time favorite salad. It's colorful, filled with plant-based nutrients, delicious, and so fresh.
Plus it's great for picnics, potlucks, BBQ sides, etc. because it seems to be a real crowd-pleaser. We also enjoy it for meal prep and lunches or a light dinner.
Ingredients For Southwestern Salad
For the salad portion, you will need:
- Romaine lettuce
- Black beans
- Orange bell pepper: Or yellow or red if desired.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes: I like these best, but you can also use roma tomatoes or other garden tomato. Just be sure they are ripe and flavorful.
- Cooked sweet corn: Either cooked fresh, canned, frozen, fire-roasted, etc.
- Green onion: Or you can try finely diced red onion for a stronger onion flavor.
You can also top it with fresh avocado chunks or crumbled tortilla chips for crunch and texture.
Ingredients for Southwest Salad Dressing
For the creamy cilantro lime dressing you will need:
- Fresh cilantro*
- Avocado: Or substitute plain and unsweetened vegan yogurt.
- Lime juice
- Olive oil: For an oil free version, simply substitute water to help thin.
- White wine vinegar: Or apple cider vinegar.
- Ground cumin and agave: Optional but recommended. Cumin adds great flavor, and the agave (or other sweetener of choice) helps to balance the flavors.
*Not a fan of cilantro? Readers have reported success with substituting fresh parsley instead. (And some who normally do not care for cilantro said they actually enjoy it in this dressing!)
For us, one recipe of the cilantro dressing is a great match for the amount of salad below. We think the creamy, flavorful cilantro-lime dressing and salad are a perfect match. So crisp and refreshing together.
If making ahead of time, store the dressing and southwestern salad separately, and then toss together before serving to keep it fresh and crisp.
Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
- 1 large head romaine
- 15 oz. can black beans
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 10 oz. cherry/grape tomatoes (about 1 pint)
- 2 cups sweet corn, cooked
- 5 green onions
For the Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing:
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (stems removed and roughly chopped)
- 1/2 avocado (or 1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 lime, more to taste)
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil (for oil-free, sub a little water to thin)
- 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Recommended: agave & cumin to taste
- Make the dressing: blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor/blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. (I love the addition of a little cumin, and also agave to sweeten.)
- Chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions. Rinse and drain black beans.
- Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss with desired amount of dressing.*
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this Southwest Salad with Cilantro Dressing, also check out:
- Vegan Taco Salad with Creamy Southwestern Dressing
- Corn & Black Bean Fajitas
- Lentil Salad with Capers and Balsamic-Dijon Dressing
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