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Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch by Modern Honey l www.modernhoney.comI am trying to diet right now.

If I could insert an emjoi right here, it would be a crying one. No, it wouldn’t be the “laughing so hard that I am crying” emoji but would be the ugly crying emoji because I am doing something really hard! I am a food blogger and spend most of my days scrolling through food photos, creating recipe ideas in my mind,  making them in my kitchen, and then eating them! I am basically looking or thinking about cakes and cookies on the daily.

So I decided to go on a diet because my pants don’t fit anymore and I can’t go EVERYWHERE in sweatpants (it is 105 degrees in AZ so I have no business wearing them anyway)! I will just say that I am just thankful joggers are in style. Please stay in style, joggers. They along with sweatpants and pj’s are basically my “uniform.” #keepingitreal

In an attempt to give this diet a real shot, I am giving up the sugar and embracing the greens and I will keep you posted how long I stay sane. There are some salads that I literally have to choke down, feeling like I am eating rabbit food.  If you are going to eat a salad, you want it to taste good, right?

Here’s a salad that will make you forget that it’s even healthy.  This Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch is made with chili lime grilled chicken, roasted corn, romaine lettuce, orange peppers, grape tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, and avocado. Let’s not forget about the Cilantro Lime Ranch either.  Well, let’s just agree….Ranch Dressing just makes everything better.

Although, this salad is way good even without dressing. I kid you not. “Diet girl” here has tested it out.

Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch by Modern Honey l

The key to this Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad is making the star ingredient — grilled chicken — juicy and flavorful. A simple marinade of olive oil, lime juice, and spices can really transform chicken. Letting it sit for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour gives the marinade time to do its magic. It makes the chicken more tender, juicy, and flavorful. The chicken can be grilled on in outdoor grill or even in a skillet on the stovetop. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch by Modern Honey l

This Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch is the ultimate summer salad, using corn straight from the cob and ripe tomatoes plucked from the vine. A good timesaver is to throw a few ears of corn on the cob on the grill at the same time you grill the chicken. Grilling corn on the cob really brings out the flavors.

Avocados turn brown easily so a simple solution is to sprinkle them with a little fresh lime juice and salt. It keeps them from browning and brings out their natural flavor.

Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch by Modern Honey l

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5 from 5 votes

Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch

By: Melissa Stadler, Modern Honey
Mexican chicken chopped salad with creamy cilantro lime ranch dressing
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6


Chili Lime Chicken:

  • 1 lb. Chicken Breast
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Salt


  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce or 2 Romaine Hearts, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 Large Avocado or 2 small avocados, sliced
  • 1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese shredded
  • 2 Ears of Fresh Corn or 1 cup White Corn
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes halved (or 1 large tomatoes, sliced)
  • 1 Orange Pepper sliced (mini peppers)

Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing:

  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Ranch Dressing Packet or 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 cup Cilantro
  • 2 Limes juiced
  • 1 Jalapeno deseeded


  • In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt together and pour evenly all over chicken breasts. Allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes - 1 hour before cooking.

Outdoor Grill Instructions:

  • Preheat the grill to medium heat.Place chicken on grill and cook for for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. Add corn to grill to roast, if desired. Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Skillet Instructions:

  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

To make dressing:

  • In food processor, pulse mayonnaise, buttermilk, ranch dressing mix, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno. Taste and add salt, if desired.

To assemble salad:

  • Place chopped romaine lettuce in large bowl. Top with grilled chicken, sliced avocado (sprinkle with fresh lime juice and salt to prevent browning and bring out flavor), pepper jack cheese, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, and orange pepper.
  • Pour cilantro lime ranch over salad and toss to serve.

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

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6
Keyword: southwest chicken salad
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It’s summer….let’s not heat up the kitchen with a hot meal. Let the outdoor grill do most of the work. You are going to LOVE this Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch. Come eat salad with me!

Happy Cooking! xo

Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Delish!!! This will be a regular for us. So flavorful. I only used half a jalapeño cause I’m a little wimpy in the heat department and I substituted a little less chipotle chili pepper. So YUM! Thank you!!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and the whole family loved it. I will be making it again within the next week since I have plenty of leftover salad dressing.

  3. What an appetising looking salad that is, though! We all diet, just few of us admit to doing it. So great work on committing to it and good luck with your goal!

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks so much, Annabelle! Diets are super hard for foodies but always worth it in the end. Ha! Thank you for taking the time to comment. Have a great night!