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Southwestern Salad (Healthy + Vegan)

Fresh Southwestern Salad with black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and crisp romaine topped with a creamy hatch chile ranch dressing is a well-balanced, nutrient-dense vegan salad perfect for lunch or dinner!

top down view of freshly made southwestern salad in a bowl with items surrounding.

Why We Love This Recipe!

Summer is the best time for big fresh salads!

When temperatures rise, it’s what I crave the most, and this cool, crisp and creamy salad makes the hot summer days bearable.

With sweet corn and hatch chiles in season, I wanted to take advantage of these summer veggies and showcase them together in this delicious salad.

It’s a perfect combination of sweet and mild heat that compliments all the other ingredients of this southwestern salad.

The next time you’re craving something fresh and healthy, this chopped southwestern salad is filling and ultra-easy to make!

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

top down view of ingredients used to make healthy southwestern salad recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In the recipe, crisp romaine is topped with black beans and fresh summer veggies, creating a healthy lunch or dinner that’s 100% vegan using whole food plant-based ingredients.

Here is everything you’ll need, plus ingredient variations as noted:

  • black beans – can sub with pinto beans or chickpeas
  • corn – fresh off the cob is my favorite, but canned (drained) or frozen (thawed) is great too
  • cherry tomatoes
  • mini sweet peppers – can sub with bell pepper
  • romaine lettuce – use your favorite leafy greens
  • avocado
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • Hatch Chile Ranch Dressing – use this cashew based recipe, or see the recipe card for a nut free dressing
top down view of bowl filled with the ingredients to make vegan southwest salad with items surrounding.

How To Make Southwestern Salad

  • Fresh corn on the cob is naturally sweet and delicious. I like to shuck it off the cob and eat it as is. No need to heat or cook, it’s perfect just the way it is. If corn isn’t in season in your area use canned sweet corn instead.
  • Black beans can be served at room temperature or warm.
  • Once ingredients are prepped, and salad assembled, drizzle the dressing over top and enjoy!

And there you have it, a cool and refreshing salad that’s filling, healthy and delicious!

Top Tips

  • Use a nut-free and virtually fat-free dressing. In the recipe card notes you will find a simple cilantro-lime vinaigrette to use in place of the hatch chili dressing.
  • Add onion. For another layer of flavor and color, add thinly sliced green onion or diced red onion.
  • Use Walnut Taco Meat in place of beans. Make this a 100% fresh and raw southwestern salad by using this easy walnut and mushroom taco meat. It’s super easy and delicious!
top down view showing creamy hatch ranch dressing being poured over southwestern salad.

How To Store + Meal Prep

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a covered container.
  • Meal prep: This southwest salad is great for meal prep and can be packed in multi-use glass containers (affiliate link) for easy-to-go meals. You can keep the salad and dressing separate or add dressing to the salad before storing.

Serving Suggestions

This salad is hearty as is, but can be made into smaller portions and served with various Tex-Mex flavors. Here are a few of our favorite options:

side angle view of freshly made southwestern salad in a bowl with items surrounding.

If you try this vegan southwest salad recipe or have a question, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

Southwestern Salad (Vegan + Healthy)

Southwestern Salad is a fresh and colorful, well-rounded vegan salad that’s cool, crisp, and full of zesty Tex-Mex flavor!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 – 3 1x
  • Category: Salad, Entree
  • Method: mix
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 2 corn off the cob (about 11 1/4 cups), canned (drained) or frozen (thawed) ok too
  • handful grape tomatoes, halved
  • handful mini sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion (sliced green onion or diced red onion), optional
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • cilantro sprigs, to serve
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1 batch Hatch Chile Dressing, or see notes for Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Instructions

Dressing: Make the dressing, set aside on the counter or refrigerate. You can also make the dressing a day or two in advance so it’s ready to go anytime.

Salad: Prep the ingredients. In individual serving bowls, add the romaine, top with black beans, corn, tomatoes, mini peppers, cilantro, and avocado. Drizzle with dressing. Top with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve: Salad would be great with a sprinkle crumbled tortilla chips or pepita’s (pumpkin seeds) for added crunch and texture. Add the juice of one lime over top if you like.

Serves 2 – 3

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a covered container.

Notes

For variation, here is great nut free Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of garlic powder
  • pinch salt

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients, let rest while preparing the salad. Taste for flavor before serving.

Serves 2, 1/4 cup per serving.

Nutrition information is calculated without the dressing. To see serving size and calories for the dressing, see Hatch Chili Dressing. Add the calories of the dressing and salad portions for your nutritional calculations.

Updated: Southwestern Salad was originally published in September 2015. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in September 2020.

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3 Comments

  1. Laura Black says:

    Absolutely fabulous. I love the flavor combinations for this salad and I’m always looking for new cashew-based dressings. Thanks for the recipes.

  2. Greetings from the UK.

    This salad & dressing looks amazing I am going to try it out.

    Quick question do you only use half of the black beans in the whole recipe or do you add the other half of beans later when layered up?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Hi Nina, This salad serves two so I’ve broken the black beans into two servings (use 1/2 per person or serving). But if you love yourself some black beans by all means use them all. ;) Cheers from California! xo

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