It’s finally starting to feel like springtime in Scotland! The days are getting longer, the sun shows its face more days than not, and flowers are beginning to bloom on the hillsides. Maybe it’s me trying to make up for all of the Pot of Gold Cupcakes I consumed earlier this week for St Patrick’s Day, or maybe it’s because of the springtime feel in the air, but I was really craving a salad this week. This southwest salad with spicy homemade ranch transports me back to my Texas home every time I eat it. Oh man, is it yummy. It also could not be easier to make!
I always start by making the southwest spice mix. Growing up in Texas, I have eaten Tex Mex food at least once a week for the majority of my life. This blend is super authentic and tastes great in this salad.
Just mix together coriander, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, salt, and cumin (exact measurements in the recipe below).
Next, make the ranch dressing. Mix together mayonnaise, greek yogurt, a minced garlic clove, dried parsely, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and 2 drops of Worcestershire sauce. Last, mix in 1 tsp of the southwest spice mix.
The dressing will be more of a dip consistency at this point. To thin it out, slowly mix in up to 1/4 cup of milk until the dressing is the consistency you like. Cover the dressing and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.
For this recipe, I prefer to use grape or cherry tomatoes. Simply slice the tomatoes in half and set them aside.
Generously season 4 chicken breasts with the southwest seasoning and grill or cook in a skillet until fully cooked. The amount of time you need to cook them for will vary depending on the thickness of the breasts you buy, but generally about 4 minutes a side is sufficient. To be sure, it’s always a good idea to check that each breast has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit with a meat thermometer. Set aside the chicken aside and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
I like to use sweet corn and black beans in this recipe. Since corn is not in season yet, this is just canned sweet corn. All I did to prepare both of these ingredients was lightly season them with the southwest seasoning then heat them in the microwave or on the stove top.
If you prefer different toppings, feel free to change it up! Some other great topping options are bell pepper, sliced red onion, tortilla chip strips, or (for a real kick) sliced jalapeno.
After the chicken has rested, slice it thinly and plate it, along with the other ingredients, over spinach. Top with the spicy homemade ranch dressing, some crispy fried onions, and a little squeeze of lemon.
Southwest Salad with Spicy Homemade Ranch Dressing
Southwest Spice Mix
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
Spicy Homemade Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 drops Worcestershire
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp of southwest spice mix
- up to 1/4 cup of milk
- 10-12 oz bag of spinach
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 can of sweet corn
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 20-25 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup crispy fried onions for serving (optional)
Mix together the southwest spice ingredients and set aside.
Mix together the Spicy Homemade Ranch Dressing ingredients. Add in the milk slowly while stirring until the desired consistency is achieved. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
Generously season the chicken breasts with the southwest seasoning and cook on the grill or in a pan on the stove top until they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 4 minutes a side). Set aside and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly season both the corn and black beans with the southwest seasoning and heat on the stove or in the microwave.
Thinly slice the chicken breasts and plate all of the toppings over a bed of spinach. Top with the Spicy Homemade Ranch Dressing, a squeeze of lemon, and crispy fried onions (optional).
Serve and enjoy!