Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad Plates

A summer-y salad plate reminiscent of a de-constructed chicken taco. No cooking required, that's thanks to meat from a rotisserie chicken, a Quick Corn Relish made with fresh sweet corn plus a Quick Salsa Dressing with just three ingredients that's so good, I recommend stirring together extra for other salads later on. If only all meals were this easy, this delish!

Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad Plates, another Quick Supper ♥ No cooking, just assembly. Summery and adaptable.

Whole Food, Fresh & Seasonal. No Cooking, Just Assembly. Hearty & Filling & Flexible. Another Quick Supper, a Kitchen Parade Specialty. Not just easy, Summer Easy. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. What're you waiting for?!

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One Pot? How About One Plate?!

Year-round, I'm ever on the lookout for ways to cook a whole meal in a single pot – these recipes are so useful, the collection is large enough that I've even nailed down a few favorites, see My Best & Favorite One-Pot Supper Recipes.

But today's brand-new recipe is a whole lot better still: there's no pot and heck, there's no cooking! In fact, you "make dinner" right on the plate just by assembling some simple, everyday ingredients into a delicious meal I'd serve to anybody, anytime.

Heh heh, got your attention, right?!

Let's make this happen.

What's In Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • For the Quick Corn Relish just fresh corn + red pepper + red onion + white wine vinegar + ground cumin + salt
  • For the Quick Salsa Dressing just mayonnaise + non-fat Greek yogurt + red or green salsa
  • For the Salad Plate just romaine + black beans + avocado + tomato + optional corn chips + optional cheddar

Is This Really a Southwestern Salad?

Well, maybe it's not in an authentic, historical, native or indigenous way.

So let's go with Southwestern "ish" – that means constructing a big dinner salad that gathers in flavors found in traditional southwestern cuisine, a little bit Mexican, a little bit desert, a little bit Native American and a blend of New Mexico and Arizona plus adjacent parts of Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Texas and even California.

So is it really "Southwestern"? Let's say "no".

But is it Good Eats? Definitely.

If you'd like to stay in the "Southwestern-ish" family of foods for this salad, here are some suggestions for additions or substitutions.

  • Summer Squash (especially Pale-Green Zucchini-Looking Mexican Squashes)
  • Jicama
  • Tomatillo
  • Nopales
  • Plaintains
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Roasted Green Chiles (Poblano, Hatch, etc)
  • Blue Corn
  • Hominy
  • Rice
  • Pepitas
Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad Plates, another Quick Supper ♥ No cooking, just assembly. Summery and adaptable.

How to Make Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad Plate

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in three easy steps. You can do this!

  • STEP ONE Chop-chop just a bit, for the Quick Corn Relish. Doing this first gives it a chance to "pickle" just a little bit. If you like, however, the Relish may be made even a day ahead of time, it really stays fresh.

  • STEP TWO Stir-stir just a bit, for the Quick Salsa Dressing. It's so good, you might consider making extra for the fridge. It'll keep for a good week. We never tire of it!

  • STEP THREE Layer-layer just a bit, for assembling individual dinner plates or, I suppose, a big platter for serving buffet-style or family-style.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • What about experimenting with different salsas for the dressing? Yes, absolutely! I've only used everyday green and red salsas but there are so many specialty salsas available now, something interesting (pineapple?!) would really change the flavor profiles.
  • What about skipping the corn chips? Yes, of course. But before you do, wow, they really do add something special, a bit of salty crunch. I found that even just one or two corn chips gave an individual plate that extra-special edge. One or two won't break the calorie bank and I especially like to make this salad when there are corn chips leftover from some gathering.

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • No cooking! Just assembly ...
  • It's a full meal, all on one plate, no side dishes needed.
  • It's so so good as is but is also extremely flexible, either the entire dish or just to meet individual eaters' tastes and preferences.
  • It's one more great way to use a rotisserie chicken.
  • Make the Quick Corn Relish with fresh corn, it's so summer-y. But could you use frozen corn in winter? Of course! If possible, I'd go for something like Trader Joe's Roasted Corn from the freezer section.
  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this easy salad supper hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad Plates, another Quick Supper ♥ No cooking, just assembly. Summery and adaptable.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time-to-table: 30 minutes
Serves 6

Rinse and drain the beans before starting the relish or dressing.
    (makes about 2-1/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 ears corn, kernels sliced off (about 265g)
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 cup (25g) very thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    (makes about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) 0% Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) green or red salsa (start with 3 tablespoons, add to taste)
    (build to taste on individual plates in this order)
  • Chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • Drizzle of Quick Salsa Dressing
  • Canned Black Beans, rinsed & drained
  • Quick Corn Relish
  • Cooked Chicken Breast, sliced
  • Drizzle of Quick Salsa Dressing
  • Diced Avocado
  • Chopped Tomato
  • A Sprinkle of Chili Powder, optional
  • Grated Sharp Cheddar, optional
  • Crushed Corn Chips, optional but recommended

MIX THE QUICK CORN RELISH In a medium bowl, drop the corn kernels, diced pepper and red onion into the vinegar as they're prepped. Add the cumin, salt and pepper. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made ahead of times, stays fresh 2-3 days.

MIX THE QUICK SALSA DRESSING Stir together the ingredients. If you like, transfer to a squeeze bottle (see ALANNA's TIPS) or another serving container. Can be made ahead of time, stays fresh for about a week.

ASSEMBLE THE TACO SALAD PLATES Set up an assembly line of dinner plates or set up all the ingredients buffet-style for people to build their own plates. You might be tempted to really pile on each ingredient but we find these salads really filling and satisfying with smaller portions, in part because the combination is so appealing.

Cover the plate with a layer of romaine, drizzle with a little Quick Salsa Dressing.

Sprinkle the plate with black beans and Quick Corn Relish, then arrange sliced chicken on top. Drizzle the chicken with a little more of that gorgeous dressing, then top with avocado and tomato. If you like, sprinkle with a bit of chili powder. Now sprinkle with cheddar and corn chips if using.

Dig in! Supper's gonna be great!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS For even faster assembly right before dinner, it helps to do some or all the prep work. (1) If using a rotisserie chicken, prep the chicken, removing the skin, separating the breasts from the carcass, etc. (2) Rinse and drain the beans. (3) Mix the Quick Corn Relish and Quick Salsa Dressing. That said, even doing everything all at once, dinner will be on the table quick-quick.

TO SERVE FAMILY-STYLE Arrange all the ingredients on a large platter and pass it around the table.

TO SERVE BUFFET-STYLE Set up each of the individual ingredients in order on a kitchen island or counter. Let people assemble their own plates, taking as much or as little of what they want.

ALANNA's TIPS Oh, that Quick Corn Relish! Do make it first. Just a few extra minutes in the vinegar give it an added oomph that contrasts really well with the creamy dressing and other salad components. If the green chile salsa is thick, you might want to run the dressing through a mini food processor, especially if you plan to store the Easy Salsa Dressing in a squeeze bottle for extra-convenient serving. For so few ingredients, the Easy Salsa Dressing is fabulous. I usually make a 2x or 3x batch for other salads and vegetable dips later in the week.
FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Plate (assumes 6 servings for Quick Corn Relish & Quick Salsa Dressing; also assumes per plate: 1 cup romaine, 3oz chicken breast, 1/6 can black beans, 1/6 avocado, 1/6 large tomato, no optional ingredients): 361 Calories; 17g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 77mg Cholesterol; 362mg Sodium; 26g Carb; 8g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 34g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 8 & PointsPlus 10 & SmartPoints 9 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 7 & blue 3 & purple 3 & future WW points.

Go Ahead: Lean Into a Rotisserie Chicken

~ rotisserie chicken recipes ~
Chicken Salad for Sandwiches ♥, simple, fresh, useful. WW Friendly. High Protein.

Chicken Greek Salad ♥, it's a Greek salad with chicken, extra easy with a rotisserie chicken.

Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas ♥, a quick-quick way to get a green chile fix without spending hours in the kitchen.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.