Our easy copycat recipe for the Panera Southwest Chili Lime Salad with Chicken is the perfect balance of healthy and flavorful.Jump to Recipe
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Our copycat recipe for the Panera Southwest Chili Lime Ranch Salad with chicken is finally here! I’ve been going on and on about this salad for the past few weeks since sharing our Black Bean Corn Salsa and Panera Chili Lime Salad Dressing recipes. So I’m super excited to finally share our delicious Southwest Chili Lime Salad recipe this week.
Here’s a myth I used to believe: salads have to be mostly lettuce. But our southwest salad is definitely not mostly lettuce – which is why we love it so much! There’s tomato, onion, black beans, corn, avocado, and so much more to give this salad a fun and fresh southwest flavor. It’s basically a burrito bowl with a little bit of lettuce instead of rice. So you know it’s going to be good 🙂
As we mentioned earlier, this recipe is an easy at-home version of the Panera Southwest Salad. It was hands-down my favorite lunch order at Panera, so I’m thrilled to be able to replicate it at home! With just a few simple ingredients, you can make your very own Panera southwest salad too.
Southwest Chili Lime Salad Recipe Ingredients
Our Panera copycat southwest salad recipe is fairly simple and requires little prep! Here’s what’s in it:
- Green leaf & romaine lettuce blend (we like to use Good & Gather Crunchy Blend)
- Baby arugula
- Red onion
- Black bean corn salsa (our version of Panera’s bean corn salsa)
- Grilled chicken strips
- Tortilla strips
- Chili lime salad dressing (a copycat recipe for Panera chili lime ranch dressing)
Other than dicing some tomato and onion, all you really have to prepare for this salad is the black bean corn salsa and chili lime dressing. In our opinion, these two ingredients really take this salad over the top! And both recipes are so easy to make, they’ll be ready to put on your salad in less than 5 minutes.
Here’s our trick for easily adding chicken to salads: Trader Joe’s frozen grilled chicken strips. If you know how to reheat these properly, they’re amazing for quick lunches! All we do is heat some oil in a frying pan over medium-high, then add the frozen chicken strips and season lightly with salt. Cook them until they’re slightly crispy on the outside, about 5 to 6 minutes, and they’ll be perfect for this salad.
Alternatively, you can always meal prep some grilled chicken for the week and add it to this salad straight from the fridge. Or you can omit the chicken if you’d like to make this recipe vegetarian. It’s really up to you!
You can even meal prep the produce, black bean corn salsa, and chili lime dressing to make this lunch even easier. Just store everything in airtight containers in the fridge and enjoy this southwest salad all week, with no day-of prep required!
How To Pack This Salad For Lunch
Our southwest chili lime salad is the perfect healthy lunch, whether you’re at home, going into the office, or packing a picnic! Here are some tips for the best way to pack this salad and take it on the go:
- Partially assemble the salad in a large lunch container, using only the lettuce, tomato, onion, black bean corn salsa, and chicken.
- Slice an avocado in half and pack the half with the pit in an airtight container – the pit will keep it from browning too quickly. (Tip: pack this in the morning and use the other half for a delicious breakfast of avocado toast!)
- Pack a handful of tortilla strips in a small container for topping the salad later – if you add them to the salad too early, they may get soggy.
- Put some salad dressing in a small leakproof container, or bring the whole bottle with you!
Most importantly, don’t forget to pack a fork and a knife! You’ll need something to slice the avocado with if you’re packing it separately. Note that if you’re only packing this salad an hour or so ahead of time, you could add the avocado straight to the salad. But leave it any longer and it will start to turn brown, which will take away from the amazing flavors in this southwest salad!
Try the recipe below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Southwest Chili Lime Salad With Chicken
- 2 oz green leaf & romaine lettuce blend
- ½ oz baby arugula
- ¼ cup tomato diced
- 2 tbsp red onion diced
- ⅓ cup Black Bean Corn Salsa
- 2 oz grilled chicken strips warmed
- ½ medium avocado sliced
- 8 to 10 tortilla strips
- 1 to 2 tbsp Panera Chili Lime Salad Dressing
- Toss green leaf & romaine lettuce blend with baby arugula in a salad bowl.
- Top salad with diced tomato, red onion, black bean corn salsa, grilled chicken, sliced avocado, and tortilla strips.
- Drizzle with chili lime salad dressing and serve immediately.
If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.
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