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Copycat Chick-fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x


Our copycat Chick-fil-A spicy Southwest salad recipe is loaded with spicy grilled chicken, roasted peppers, black beans, and cheese.  Top it off with chili lime pepitas and crunchy tortilla strips, then drizzle on the homemade creamy salsa dressing.  It's perfect for meal prep and is keto friendly--a Tex-Mex dream come true!



Spicy Chicken

  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice (120 ml)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (60 ml)
  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless skinless
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (60 ml)

Creamy Salsa Dressing (Makes 1 3/4 cup)

  • 1/2 cup Duke's mayo (120 ml)
  • 3/4 cup medium salsa (145g) (Frontera Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa Medium)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (80 ml)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (30g)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (30 ml)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (Chalula chili lime)
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk, to thin (15 ml)

Spicy Southwest Salad

  • 4 cups romaine lettuce (116g), washed, dried, ribs removed
  • 4 cup spring mix (127g)
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese (36g)
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese (36g)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed (130g)
  • 1/2 cup fresh yellow corn (90g)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper (80g)
  • 1/2 cup roasted poblano pepper (66g)
  • 16 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chili lime pepitas (56g)
  • 1/2 cup tortilla strips, blue and yellow corn (56g)
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup creamy salsa dressing


Spicy Chicken

  1. Make the brine by whisking together the dill pickle juice and the milk in a bowl.
  2. Place one boneless, skinless chicken breast in a zip top bag on top of a large cutting board and pound it thin with a meat mallet.  Make sure the bag is open so no air gets trapped inside.  Remove the chicken and place on a clean plate, then repeat with the other piece.  Place both pieces in the bag, then pour in the brine.  Close the bag and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. To make the rub, combine all the spices together in a bowl and mix well.  Once the chicken is done marinating, take it out of the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature for 30 minutes.  Place the meat on two clean plates and pat them dry with paper towel.  Sprinkle on the rub, then rub it into both sides of the breast.
  4. Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron grill pan over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering, roughly 2 minutes.  Carefully place one chicken breast inside and cook for one minute, then lower the heat to medium low and cook for 3 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the meat over and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the meat registers 165 F in the thickest part on a meat thermometer.  Repeat with the other breast.
  5. Place the cooked chicken on a clean plate, tent it loosely with foil, and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes.  Juices will run out of the meat as it rests, and be sure to keep them.
  6. Once the meat has rested, place it on a cutting board and thinly slice it.  Transfer the sliced meat to large plate and pour the pan juices over it.

Creamy Salsa Dressing

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until the ingredients are well blended and the cilantro is the texture you like.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.  Pour the dressing into a pint-sized mason jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve.  The dressing will thicken in the fridge.

Southwest Salad

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut the red bell pepper in half, then brush it and the poblano pepper with oil.  Place them on a small foil lined baking sheet, then roast them for 7 minutes and turn the poblano over.  Roast another 7 minutes.  Remove the poblano and continue roasting the red bell pepper for another 10 minutes.  Allow them to cool, then chop them into small pieces.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small cast iron skillet over medium high heat until it's shimmering.  Add the fresh corn kernels and cook them until they begin to char, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Be sure to stir occasionally.
  4. To assemble the salad, mix the Romaine lettuce and the spring mix together in a large bowl.  Take out 4 plates and place two cups of greens on each plate for the base.
  5. Sprinkle the two cheeses on top of the greens, then add the charred corn, roasted peppers, and the black beans.  Place 4 grape tomatoes on each plate and sprinkle on the chili lime pepitas and the tortilla strips.  Add half of a sliced chicken breast on top.  When ready to serve, drizzle the salads with the creamy salsa dressing.




  • How to Make Chili Lime Pepitas: 1/2 cup pepitas (roasted and salted), 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, and 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the pepitas and chili powder, and stir until toasty, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and let them cool on a baking tray.
  • The total time doesn't include time for the meat to marinate in the fridge.
  • Taste the dressing and adjust it to your taste preferences.
  • For maximum freshness, add the chili lime pepitas, tortilla strips, and creamy salsa dressing just before serving.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chick-fil-A, salad dressing, recipe