Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

A tex-mex style salad with an incredibly creamy Greek yogurt cilantro dressing that will knock your socks off!

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing - A tex-mex style salad with an incredibly creamy Greek yogurt cilantro dressing!

I’m happy to report that after 11 days into 2014, I am still well into my salad phase – BBQ chicken salad, Asian cobb salad, kale salad, you name it. But with a bunch of cilantro left over in the fridge, I just had to make a cilantro-type dressing. And boy am I glad I did because this is one of the creamiest, most flavorful dressings I have ever made.

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing - A tex-mex style salad with an incredibly creamy Greek yogurt cilantro dressing!

Not to mention, the dressing comes together so quickly and easily with the help of a food processor. Simply drop everything into your handy dandy food processor – I love using my Magimix for this – pulse, and that’s it!

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing - A tex-mex style salad with an incredibly creamy Greek yogurt cilantro dressing!

You can definitely adjust the amount of olive oil for a a thinner dressing. I didn’t want mine too thick so that’s what the recipe here reflects. Either way, this goes so perfectly in this tex-mex style salad loaded with corn, beans, tomatoes, avocado and tortilla strips. It’s quickly become a favorite of ours, and we’ve had it almost every day this week!

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Prep Time 15 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Yield 2 servings

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

A tex-mex style salad with an incredibly creamy Greek yogurt cilantro dressing that will knock your socks off!


  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup tortilla strips, for garnish
  • For the cilantro lime dressing
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  • To make the cilantro lime dressing, combine cilantro, Greek yogurt, garlic, lime juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, add olive oil and vinegar in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
  • To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with tomatoes, corn, black beans and cilantro. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Stir in avocado.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with tortillas trips, if desired.


Adapted from The Garden Grazer


  1. says

    Omg I am So MAD at myself! Earlier today I pitched this HUGE head of cilantro. I had bought it for another recipe, I figured there was nothing I was going to do w/ that much, it was about 1-2 days before it would have gone bad & I was taking out the trash and out it went. And now i see this dressing. I will be buying more just to make it if you say it’s one of the best dressings ever.

    Gorgeous lighting and great salad!

    • Ann says

      NEVER pitch cilantro. I chop it up and put it in a freezer bag in the freezer. It’s not as good as fresh later, but it’s better than the freeze dried stuff and it would work beautifully in something like this. :-)

    • Andrea says

      I keep my cilantro in a glass of water in the fridge. Trim the stems and replace water every once in a while and it stays fresh for a while :)

      • kim g says

        I can testify to the efficacy of this method for most fresh herbs. I’ve had parsley and cilantro last more than a month in the fridge when kept stem-side-down in a jar of water.

  2. Mary T says

    Hi Chung-AH!
    I know that I am in the minority here–but I have a huge aversion to cilantro-Yuck! (It’s about the only food I can’t stand-along with beef liver!) Can I substitute parsley! What do you think?
    Mary T

  3. says

    I love anything with a lime dressing – I’m a sucker for tart, pucker up dressings. Yum! And I love all the ingredients in here (except avo, I’m allergic!). Definitely pinning and whipping this up someday!

  4. Jody says

    My mouth is watering just thinking about this salad. The dressing looks delicious too, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to make it a little lighter? I’m counting weight watchers points, and one serving of this dressing is 8 points, almost entirely from the olive oil. Any ideas? Thanks.

    • Chung-Ah says

      You can cut down on the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. I used these amounts for a more runny yet creamy dressing but by cutting down on the liquids, the dressing will be thicker and creamier. I hope that helps!

  5. Kristen says

    Made this last night, Omg so delicious, even the hubby liked it! !! Added some chicken do it was more of an entrée, sooo good! !

  6. Dawn Spickard says

    This looks amazing! I have been doing the mason jar salads for my lunch during the week, does anyone know if this would work as one of those type of salads?

    • Kelly says

      I’m a little late to the game, but this DEFINITELY works as jar salad (I’m actually eating one at my desk right now!) I would keep the tortilla chips separate–I just put a baggie of tortilla chips in my workbag. By the end of my commute, they are perfectly smashed into salad-friendly pieces :) I usually add some heartier veggies like jicama, radishes, carrots, etc. above the dressing as a barrier.

      So excited to have this in my jar rotation!

  7. Neha sanghani says

    Broccoli and cilantro are my favorites, and I am so excited to make them tomorrow and the day after…….YESS.

  8. Michelle says

    I am so happy to find this recipe. I saw the picture and thought, Oh no, it has mayonnaise, then I read the ingredients and saw Greek yogurt. That made me so happy! It is very healthy. I’m going to try it this week. Thanks!

    • Chung-Ah says

      Ruth, this is actually an incorrect depiction of calories. Although the recipe states that the salad serves 2, you can really stretch this out to 3-4 servings, and the dressing certainly makes more for 2 servings.

    • Teri says

      Avocado and olive oil are the good fats necessary for our body to maintain elasticity in our skin. Saturated fat is the culprit. There are healthy fats and none healthy fats.
      Animal fats are what we want to limit ourselves too, and vegetable fats are your friend!

  9. Mary says

    This looks amazing… I am so glad I found your website. I have already made about 6 of your dishes and they were fantastic. I love your flavors as they are so in tune with mine! I get such inspiration and yummy ideas from you! Thank you for such good work!

  10. Deborah Vivona says

    I cant wait to make this!!!
    …I went to Print so I could take your recipe to the store to shop, but my PRINT comes up blank…? any ideas? Thanks!!!

    • Deborah Vivona says

      Nevermind…It came up to PRINT! I’m running this recipe to the store right now! I can’t wait to make this one!!! Thanks!

    • Chung-Ah says

      Erin, unfortunately, as I am not a registered dietician, I am not comfortable sharing nutritional information of my recipes. Please use online resources to obtain such information.

  11. Deborah says

    I don’t know how I found your blog but I am SO glad I did. The sauce was amazing, and the whole salad was just perfect. We served it with a little ham

  12. Jennifer says

    I made this tonight. It was AMAZING!!! The dressing is perfection….although to reduce calories, I think I’ll reduce the olive oil next time. We added chicken and chopped red peppers. I can’t wait to have it again!

  13. Mary says

    This was delicious! The dressing was so good. I made it early in the afternoon and let the flavors chill and blend prior to serving. I also used Emeril’s Southwestern rub recipe (found anywhere on the web) on a skinless and boneless chicken breast and sauteed it in a little olive oil. I would have grilled it–but too cold right now! I sliced it on the bias and served it on top of the salad. What a lovely presentation and so yummy! Hubby thought it was the best. Thanks for sharing this!

  14. Christina Griffith says

    Do you buy the tortilla strips pre-made? Where can I find these? Thank you for your recipes. Everything I have tried so far is fabulous. I am sharing your site with my friends!

    • Chung-Ah says

      You can find tortilla strips at your local grocery store by the salads. If you cannot find them, you can always use crushed up tortilla chips.

  15. Jenifer says

    Holy cow this looks amazing!
    I’m going to layer this in mason jars and take it to work!

    I just stumbled on your site, and I think I’m in love!
    Your pictures are gorgeous and your recipes are easy but look tasty.
    Keep up the good work!

  16. Jessica says

    I made this today and was really excited to make it but I think that 2 tablespoons of vinegar is a bit much. It is a bit strong with the vinegar and lime, depending on how much lime juice your lime gives. I added a half of an avocado to mine just to thin it out. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. Lynne says

    Chung-ah, I love your blog. I’m diabetic, asian and just started doing low carb (read “I stopped eating rice”). I thought that would be tougher than it has been. I’ve pinned so many of your recipes but haven’t tried any till today because one of my arms is in a cast. So I talked my husband through making your cilantro lime dressing. Didn’t have any apple cider vinegar, only red wine. It is still so tasty! And hubby loves it too! I think the apple cider would give it a bit of sweetness. Anyway, I’m so happy I find your blog! Can’t wait to see what you post next!

  18. Mindy says

    I found this recipe because I was looking to add to a Kroger brand Fresh Selection Chopped Southwest Salad kit. It contains cabbage, romaine lettuce, pumpkin seeds, green onions and tortilla strips, cilantro WITH a creamy cilantro dressing. It is delicious but not enough dressing was included. I offer this information because cabbage is a nice change and is much like a cole slaw that you could pass at a pot luck.

  19. Pam says

    So very good! The dressing the BEST I’ve tasted in awhile, creamy, bursting with flavor and healthy. I used roasted corn instead of canned, 0 fat Greek Yogurt and 1/8 cup olive oil instead of 1/4 cup and it still was the perfect consistency for me. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing.

  20. says

    Hi hi! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I just made it for dinner tonight. It was a bit too much garlic for me, but omitting the garlic I would definitely make it again! I also added some extra sharp white cheddar and it was great.

  21. Niki says

    Loved the dressing! I added an avocado to mine because I’m an avocado addict (seriously, I have a problem). It turned out SUPER delicious!! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Jodie says

    LOVED the dressing! I also added some avocado to the salad. My husband loved it so much, he actually requested it for his lunch the next day. Its a great salad to kick off the summer with. Thank you so much for sharing!

  23. Sophie says

    I picked up my CSA produce basket yesterday and was looking for something different to make with the salad greens, heirloom tomatoes and avocado, and am so glad I found this Cilantro Lime dressing. I had all the ingredients on hand and just made your recipe. So-o good! And not just for the Southwest Salad, but for Fish Tacos. Thanks!

  24. Linessa says

    I was craving a chopped salad and found this recipe. It was amazing and so easy! I added shredded chicken seasoned with taco seasonings, purple onions and mozzarella cheese as a topping. I now think I’d like to marry this salad! So dang good and I’ll make it again.

  25. Vicki says

    Im going to try out this dressing tonight! I dont have any apple cider vinegar though, is there white vinegar in a smaller amount an okay substitution? Other wise ill go hunt me down a small bottle of apple cider vinegar.

  26. Tina says

    I made this last night – it was AMAZING! I have to admit, when I tried the dressing by itself after I first made it, I didn’t like the taste. Neither did my husband. It was just weird or had a weird aftertaste or something. But on the salad, it must have had just the right combination of ingredients, because it was fabulous! We added shredded cheese, grilled chicken, and diced green onion, because we love those on our salads. This recipe is fantastic, and I will definitely have it in the regular rotation with the dressing.

  27. Mariam says

    Made this for dinner tonight, and it was so easy and delicious! I will definitely be making this again!

  28. Amy says

    I made this for a family dinner and got so many compliments on it! It was absolutely delicious and packed full of fresh ingredients. Will definitely be making this again. I did have one question though – the dressing packs a surprising punch. It tasted…spicy? That’s not quite the right word but if you understand what I’m referring to, do you have any thoughts on how to cut back the punch? I’m a little concerned about using this dressing for a crowd that doesn’t like spice at all. Thanks!

    • Chung-Ah says

      Amy, there really isn’t any ingredient that packs in a kick of heat, but feel free to add a tiny bit of sugar (start with 1/2 teaspoon) to balance out the flavors to taste. Hope that helps!

  29. michele says

    Made your salad for the 4th…nummy!! I had a few leftovers the next day and I added some tuna flakes to it…was very good!! Going to add some chicken next time…Can’t wait to make again!

  30. michelle says

    Tried out the dressing tonight and its absolutely delicious!!!! Look forward to trying out your other recipes!!

  31. Kathy ThakurDas says

    I made the salad dressing for a Southwest Steak salad and it was a BIG HIT! Even my mom, who is not fond of cilantro enjoyed it. It is fresh and tasty and super easy to make.

  32. Sandeep says

    Any way to make this without apple cider vinegar? Do you have any idea if theres something easy to substitute that with and what it would taste like without it?

  33. Kate says

    I just made this last night for dinner and I’m so sad it’s gone after becoming leftovers for lunch. Rather than getting a rotisserie chickenI grilled chicken smothered in a mole sauce the night before. I diced everything up just before serving and tossed it all together but left the avocado and dressing on the side. I only wish I had made a double batch of the dressing because it was so good. I already plan to make this again for the week. Such a great work salad to get me through the day!

  34. Elizabeth says

    I made this salad earlier this week and loved it (I am a huge fan of your site and probably make at least one thing a week from it!). I had left over dressing and used it later in the week to dress some coleslaw for fish tacos – was a great change from my usual white balsamic, olive oil and lime juice dressing I usually use.

    Love all your recipes and easy to follow directions!

  35. Melodie says

    I am going to try this recipe this week. Do you think I could sub avocado for the greek yogurt in the dressing? I just dont typically buy greek yogurt because it’s expensive. Avocados are usually cheap where I shop and I try to eat a plant-based diet. I think I’ll give it a try and let you know how it turns out.

  36. liz says

    I was very excited about this recipe as I’m going away for a college reunion and am bringing a chopped salad. However, I found the salad dressing recipe too garlicly, too much olive oil flavor and lacking in lime flavor. Followed it faithfully, but next time I’ll use half the garlic, a lighter olive oil and triple the amount of lime and will be sure to include the zest. Think then it will be to my liking.

    • Chungah says

      Liz, please feel free to adjust the amounts as needed to suit your preferences – that’s the beauty of home cooking, right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *