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Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteIf you visit my blog you know I love Mexican food. I needed to create a delicious salad to go with the different Mexican entrees that I make. This salad is a great combination of textures and flavors and is a favorite in our house, especially with my kids. It’s light, crunchy, and full of flavor and the cilantro lime vinaigrette gives it a nice zing. I love that it’s easy to make but tastes so delicious. It goes well with any Mexican food as well as chicken, beef, or seafood.

How to Make a Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette


  • Romaine lettuce
  • A handful of grape tomatoes
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 small baby bell peppers – red, yellow, or orange, diced
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tbsp raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp cotija cheese
  • 1 handful of tortilla strips for salads
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below) to taste

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteIn a large salad bowl add chopped lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, avocado, bell peppers, black beans, corn, tortilla strips, pumpkin seeds, and cotija cheese. Top the salad with the vinaigrette to taste and serve. Enjoy!

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteUse an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the dressing. Let the flavors mingle for at least 30 minutes before using.

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette


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  1. This looks delicious. I would like to make it to go with our Mexican-ish Mother’s Day lunch this coming weekend, and I was wondering if it would work well to add the entire batch of dressing to the salad and toss immediately before serving (as opposed to each person spooning dressing onto their individual salads). I think this would make it easier for people to dish up their plates, and the I wouldn’t feel obligated to bring several other dressings for people to choose from if the salad and dressing are already mixed before serving. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    1. Melissa,

      When I serve a large amount of people, I always toss the salad with a small amount of dressing then serve more on the side for those who like lots of dressing. I hope this helps.



    2. Very helpful–I’ll go easy on the initial mixing in case some people don’t like a lot of dressing. Thanks for your speedy reply!

  2. I just made the vinaigrette and this recipe absolutely NAILED what I was looking for. I just used a pinch of mixed herbs instead of oregano, added some lime zest and a little bit of sugar, but that’s just me being unable to follow recipes! Very good, thank you!

  3. This salad was delish! I used dried Mexican oregano (rubbed between hands to make it a coarse powder) and added about 2 teaspoons of honey.

  4. I made this salad to go with White Bean and Chicken Chili. It is one of the best salads I have evered had! I had never made my own salad dressing before and this was so easy and actually fun! I have made the salad twice since then and added chopped chicken. Delicious again! My husband can’t tolerate lettuce so I made him one with baby spinach. He loved it too! Thanks for this recipe!! You are one of my favorite food bloggers and your recipes are very reliable!

  5. This salad looks delicious, so if I wanted to make this for a large party, would I double it or would I need even more than that, if you serve 4? Julie

  6. I grilled up some skirt steak, Arrachera style, and sliced it for over the top. Simply amazing. Thank you.

  7. Made this dinner with friends and all agreed one of best salads they have had. All commented on the very tasty dressing. It also looked beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Pam:

    Thanks for this recipe. A church group had a retreat day today and everyone was bringing a dish to pass. The main course was “taco” lasagna. I searched the web and found this recipe for a salad to go with the taco lasagna. It was the perfect salad. I did substitute a regular yellow and red pepper because I already had these and needed to use them up before they went bad. Also, they did not have the cotija cheese where I grocery shop so I used Supremo Queso Fresco (a fresh crumbling Mexican cheese). I also substitued olive oil for the canola oil. The salad is delicious!

  9. Does the Avocado have any special needs to keep it from turning? Should I toss it with lime juice first?

    1. Norma, Because avocado is so fragile, I add it right before tossing with the vinaigrette and serving.


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  14. This salad was absolutely delicious! I added a tiny bit of sugar to the dressing but other than that I made it exactly as written. Absolutely wonderful!!! Thank you!

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    1. Laura,

      No, I’ve always made it fresh but I have a feeling it would be just fine if you made it the night before. Let me know how it turns out.


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