Budget Meal: Southwestern Chicken Salad

southwestern chicken salad

Servings: 4
Cost per meal: $9.98
Cost per serving: $2.50
Prep time: 20 minutes
Estimated Calories: 385

Salads are a wonderful meal for any night of the week—they’re quick, easy to make, and for those of you who are trying to avoiding eating too many carbs, they’re a great way to up the veggie (and meat, if you like) count in your diet! Salads are pretty underrated, in my humble opinion. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off- It’s more than made up by a super quick and simple preparation process. Here is a recipe for a nutritious and filling southwestern chicken salad, adapted from two different recipes, found at Taste of Home and All Recipes.

salad ingredients


  • 1 15-oz. can of black beans
  • 1 8.75-oz. can of corn (Don’t accidentally buy the creamy style like I did!)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1.5 cups cooked chicken pieces (store-bought or home-prepped)
  • 1/4 cup tortilla chip pieces
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1.5 TB lime juice
  • 1.5 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

1. Drain and rinse your black beans and corn thoroughly, setting them aside in two separate bowls for when you need them. (Another option is to cook the beans and corn in the microwave, covered, for about 3 minutes each.)

2. Dice your tomato. This is actually easier than you think (see photo below). Start by slicing the tomato in one direction to make 1/4-inch slices. Then line up the slices and turn them 90 degress so you can slice in the perpendicular direction. Finish by slicing the resulting tomato strips into cubes. It’s okay if it gets messy!

how to dice a tomato

3. Make the dressing. This consists of the lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. I like to put my dressing ingredients into a little container like so and shake it.

making salad dressing

4. Assemble your salad in a large dish or bowl. Start with the lettuce, then add the corn and tomato, and finish with the beans, tortilla chip pieces, and dressing.

pouring dressing over salad

This would be great served with fresh bread or tortilla chips, as you can also use these things to help you scoop salad onto your fork when eating. Enjoy!

By the way, for dessert I decided to have a little slice of the pistachio cake I made over the weekend. I loved making this because I’ve learned that you can reduce the amount of flour in a cake by substituting in ground nuts. Want to learn how? See our tutorial on how to substitute ground nuts for flour.

pistachio cake

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