Santa Fe Salad

5 from 19 votes
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Santa Fe Salad is a flavorful, veggie loaded salad. Lots of textures and spice, perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.

Two bowls with salat, dressings and forks.
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Why Make This Santa Fe Salas

This salad is loaded to the max! Tons of vegetables, flavors, textures that work wonderful together. The Chipotle Vinaigrette is addictive, it has a light bite to it and cools off with a touch of honey. This salad is filling, full of feel-good ingredients and the moist, juicy chicken is the perfect protein to top it with. You will love this salad on your weekly rotation.

If you want another great high Protein meal, try my Chipotle Chicken Salad it’s great and so versatile.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients in small bowls on a counter with veggies spices and more

Chicken Breasts. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.

Oil. This is to cook the chicken up with. I use olive oil.

Seasonings. Garlic, onion powder, chipotle, smoked paprika, salt, pepper.

For The Salad

Romaine Lettuce. I love the crunch of the romaine lettuce with this salad. You can use mixed greens, but the romaine holds up so well and the dressing sticks to it great.

Tomatoes. I use cherry tomatoes and slice them up.

Red Bell Pepper. This adds color and lots of crunch to the salad.

Black Beans. This add fiber, flavor and gives it the southwest flare.

Corn. I use thawed frozen corn kernels, but fresh corn kernels will also work well.

Jalapeño. Sliced jalapeño adds a good crunch, heat and color to the salad.

Avocado. This can be sliced, or you can make a quick easy guac to top the salad with!

Quinoa. This is optional! It adds a little more protein and makes the salad filling.

Green Onions. For flavor and aromatics to the salad. They are so yummy!

Tortilla Chips. You know I love my tortilla chips, I like them crushed up on the top of the salad for a salty crunch (kinda like a crouton!)

Salsa. This is optional and not necessary with the chipotle honey dressing. This makes a good sub for the dressing should you choose to skip the dressing.

Cheese. I use cotija, feta or a mexican cheese blend for this salad.

Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

Lime. Fresh limes to make the dressing, it gives a bright tangy flavor.

Honey. This adds some sweetness and marries the flavors together well. You can use maple syrup as well.

Garlic. Fresh garlic clove to give the dressing a bite and flavor.

Chipotle In Adobo Sauce. You don’t need much, I usually just use 1 or two full peppers in the adobo sauce. This is what gives the dressing all it’s spice and flavor.

Seasoning. Salt, pepper, oregano

White Vinegar. This is a perfect ingredient to make the Vinaigrette.

Olive Oil. A light tasting and light olive oil is best. Avocado will also work great.

Cilantro. Fresh chopped cilantro, it really makes everything taste wonderful and brings it all together. Use parsley if you aren’t a cilantro fan.

Recipe Variations

Romaine. Use kale, or mixed greens in place of romaine if needed.

Chicken. You can skip the chicken or use chicken thighs for more flavor.

Veggies. Add any veggies of choice to this salad. I also like to add zucchini or leftover grilled peppers.

Olive Oil. Use avocado oil in place for a good substitute.

Steps To Make This Recipe

Chicken seasoning on a grey plate and chopped veggies in bowls.

Step One. Mix all of the chicken seasoning together in a small bowl. If your chicken breasts are large, cut them in half so they cook evenly and quickly. Pat chicken dry and rub the breasts with the seasoning mix. Add oil to a cast iron or large skillet. Cook for 8- 10 minutes each side on medium heat or until internal temperature is 165º and they are cooked through. Set aside to rest.

Step Two. Start quinoa and cook according to package. While chicken/quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes, romaine onions, bell pepper, jalapeño. Make guac. Mix mashed avocado in a medium bowl with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp cilantro.

Small blender with dressing ingredients in it, and a bowl with blended ingredients.

Step Three. Add romaine and chopped veggie ingredients to a large salad bowl.

Step Four. Make the chipotle honey vinaigrette. Add all the ingredients into a small blender or food processor, pulse until everything is well blended. Add water to the dressing, pulse again and set aside.

Large white bowl with all the salad ingredients in it before mixing up.

Step Five. Cube chicken into bite sized pieces. Pour half of the dressing over the salad, add quinoa, cheese and mix well. Serve, add cubed chicken and more dressing as needed. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

White bowl with salad up close with juicy seasoned chicken.

Recipe FAQ’s

Is this salad spicy?

It is a little spicy, you can make it less spicy by leaving out the jalapeño and only using one chipotle pepper.

Can I make this vegetarian?

Yes, make this Santa Fe salad vegetarian by leaving out the chicken. You can make it vegan by skipping the cheese as well.

What is a Santa Fe Salad

It is typically a salad made up of south western ingredients and flavors. Typically spicy bold flavors.

Recipe Pairings

This recipe is darn good on it’s own but it pairs even better with my Garlic Rolls The fluffy homemade rolls are great for dipping into extra dressing.

Make The Recipe Healthier

You can make this recipe lower in calories but skipping the cheese and avocado on the salad. This will save you about 190 calories per serving.

Storage Tips

If you are meal prepping this salad, keep the quinoa, cheese and dressing on the side until you are ready to chow down. This salad will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge without dressing.

Other Southwestern Inspired Meals

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Big bowl with salad and lots of toppings.
5 from 19 votes

Santa Fe Salad

Santa Fe Salad is flavorful, veggie loaded and colorful. Lots of textures and spice, perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • large skillet or frying pan

Ingredients 

  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For The Santa Fe Salad

  • 6-8 cup romaine
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked, *see notes
  • 1 cup corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • 2 green onions
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese, *see notes
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 1 avocado
  • cup tortilla chips

Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

  • limes, juiced
  • cup light olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp honey , *more if needed
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp white vinegar

Instructions 

  • Mix all of the chicken seasoning together in a small bowl. If your chicken breasts are large, cut them in half so they cook evenly and quickly. Pat chicken dry and rub the breasts with the seasoning mix. Add oil to a cast iron or large skillet. Cook for 8- 10 minutes each side on medium heat or until internal temperature is 165º and they are cooked through. Set aside to rest.
  • Start quinoa and cook according to package. While chicken/quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes, romaine onions, bell pepper, jalapeño. Make guac. Mix mashed avocado in a medium bowl with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp cilantro. 
  • Add romaine and chopped veggie ingredients to a large salad bowl.
  • Make the chipotle honey vinaigrette. Add all the ingredients into a small blender or food processor, pulse until everything is well blended. Add water to the dressing, pulse again and set aside. 
  • Cube chicken into bite sized pieces. Pour half of the dressing over the salad, add quinoa, cheese and mix well. Serve, add cubed chicken and more dressing as needed. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Notes

*any beans will work.
*feta or shredded cheddar will also work. 
*if making ahead, leave quinoa, cheese and dressing off until just before serving. 
*store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Add a little fresh romaine to freshen up. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cup | Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 1346mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 7594IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Course: Salad, Sauces & Dressings
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4
Calories: 621
Keyword: 30 minute, salad
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Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is SO GOOD! I love southwestern salads, but I was always making them with chipotle ranch, so I love that this dressing is lighter/healthier!

    1. Hi Marisa, I am thrilled to hear this! Thank you so much for the feedback.

  2. 5 stars
    Make this…don’t ask any questions. This was the best Santa Fe Salad I ever had. Everyone in my family loved it. Dressing is runny and not thick, but don’t let that throw you off. It was one of the best dressings I ever tasted. Absolutely DELICIOUS.

  3. This is an easy and great tasting meal. The ingredients are healthy everyday ingredients which makes it affordable. My family loves this and requests it often.

    1. Hi! I am so happy to hear this. Glad you enjoyed it. Happy Cooking!

  4. 5 stars
    The seasonings on the chicken were so good and the dressing came together easily. Really impressed with this recipe.

  5. I’m going to try the receipe tonight. Thanks for sharing the site in your FB ad!
    P.S. My last name is Bailey 🙂

    1. Love that! I think Bailey is a great last name 😉 Enjoy!

  6. In UK I can’t find the chipotle peppers sauce for the dressing. What can I use as a substitute? They sell chipotle hot sauce and chipotle chilli paste?

    1. I would use chipotle chili paste (i think) this sounds like the most similar! You can also add chipotle powder. Please taste as you go and add a little at a time with the change. Enjoy! 

  7. Love this salad! Feels very light and healthy but a lot of flavor. The dressing is addicting I couldn’t stop eating this!

    1. Hi! Thank you for the feedback, I am so happy to hear this.