This southwest salad is loaded with chopped veggies and creamy feta, all tossed in a simple chili lime dressing that is out-of-this-world delicious. Serve it as-is or with homemade Baked Tortilla Chips, Juicy Baked Chicken Breast or avocado!
A southwest salad doesn’t have to be heavy and indulgent. This southwest salad is light and bright and refreshing while still being oh so satisfying!
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Why You’ll Love This Southwest Salad
When I think of a southwest salad, I think of delicious Tex-Mex smoky and spicy flavors. Here’s 5 reasons why you’ll love this salad:
- The smoky, tangy dressing: the vinaigrette is made with just 4 ingredients, but it’s loaded with flavor from lime juice, chili powder and a dash of sherry wine vinegar that’s malty and tangy.
- Every bite is loaded with flavor: all of our veggies are diced so each bite has a little bit of every ingredient.
- It’s customizable: this salad is perfect the way it is, but you can also add more flavor (and protein) by adding in avocado, tortilla strips, chicken, shrimp or black beans.
- It can be, or cannot be, spicy! While this salad is pretty mild as-is, you can add in a jalapeño or a dash of cayenne to the dressing to give it an extra kick if you want it!
- Warm, sautéed corn is a game-changer: corn adds sweetness, but the real secret is sautéing it and adding it to your salad while it’s still warm. It really brings all of your flavors together and softens the lettuce in the slightest but most underrated way!
Southwest Salad Ingredients
- Butter lettuce – butter lettuce has a silky soft texture that blends so nicely with the crunchy veggies.
- Red and orange bell peppers – red and orange peppers add beautiful southwest colors and sweet flavor to our salad.
- English cucumber – cucumber adds crunch and that signature cucumber flavor.
- Corn – corn that’s been sautéed and poured over your salad when it’s warm is a total gamechanger. It brings all of your flavors together in the most magical way! Trust me! I use fresh corn, but you can use frozen or Grill Your Corn if preferred.
- Grape tomatoes – grape (or cherry) tomatoes add bursts of tartness.
- Feta cheese – feta adds a salty creaminess.
- Scallions – scallions add a pop of green and a summery fresh touch.
- Red onion – red onion adds more color to your rainbow salad…and southwest flavor!
- Jalapeño (optional) – jalapeño is totally optional but an awesome addition if you like things spicy.
I highly recommend NatureSweet peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes (their “Cherub” grape tomatoes!).
The Salad Dressing
- Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil binds our dressing together.
- Lime – lime juice adds a southwestern citrus flavor.
- Sherry wine vinegar – sherry wine vinegar adds a tangy maltiness to our vinaigrette.
- Chili powder – chili powder is a blend of Chile peppers and other Tex-Mex spices pre-blended for you!
Southwest Salad Recipe Variations
- Use frozen corn instead of fresh corn.
- Add in Chipotle Corn Salsa or Grilled Corn to your salad, instead of the sautéed corn!
- Use shredded jack cheese instead of feta cheese.
- Add in avocado, tortilla chips, chicken, shrimp, black beans or chickpeas to your salad if desired. See my notes below in the recipe card for more details!
How to make Southwest Salad
The full instructions and step-by-step video are in the recipe card below!
- Add veggies & feta to a salad bowl.
Layer lettuce, red pepper, orange pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta, scallion, red onion, and jalapeño (optional) in a bowl.
- Whisk together dressing.
In another bowl, whisk together lime juice, sherry wine vinegar, chili powder, olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Sauté corn.
In a skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and corn cut off the cob. Sauté until just tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Toss & serve.
Add corn to salad, and whisked dressing. Toss!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This southwest salad is! You can even use non-fat feta to keep this salad extra healthy!
Yes! You can prep everything for this salad ahead (veggies and dressing separately). You can re-warm the corn in the microwave for 45 seconds in a covered dish, and simply pour the dressing over the top of the salad before serving! All the veggies and feta can be pre-assembled in a bowl.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 2 days. Of course, a dressed salad will get soggy! I recommend enjoying this salad right after it’s made for best results.
More Salad Recipes You’ll Love!
- Best Ever Green Goddess Salad (Healthy Dressing!)
- Peach And Burrata Salad
- Italian Fennel Orange Salad
- Raw Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad With Parmesan & Lemon
- 10 ounces butter lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 red bell pepper cored and diced
- 1 orange bell pepper cored and diced
- 1 English cucumber diced
- 4 ears of corn about 2 cups
- 10 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) grape tomatoes halved
- 1 ¼ cups feta cheese
- 1 bunch scallions root and dark green tops removed and then chopped
- ½ medium red onion finely chopped
- ½ jalapeño (optional) seeded and diced
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons for sautéing corn
- 1 juicy lime
- 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add lettuce, red pepper, orange pepper, cucumber, grape tomatoes, feta, scallion, red onion, and jalapeño (optional) to a large bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together lime juice, sherry wine vinegar, chili powder, ½ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a skillet or pot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, corn cut off the cob, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until just tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add warm corn to salad, along with the whisked dressing. Toss and serve!