Santa Fe Salad

This Santa Fe salad is so fresh and flavorful! It features tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. The homemade lime cilantro dressing is slightly sweet and so delicious. Add your favorite protein for a healthy meal or serve as a side dish!
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Santa Fe salad is a vibrant and flavorful salad that is perfect for a summer day!  It is a Tex-Mex inspired salad that is packed with fresh ingredients, like lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, and avocado.  The salad is also topped with a creamy and flavorful Santa Fe dressing that is creamy and fresh.  This quick and easy salad is great as a light meal, appetizer, or side dish!

Santa Fe salad.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This Santa Fe salad is quick and easy.
  • It features fresh and flavorful veggies.
  • Great as a weeknight dinner, side dish, or appetizer.
  • It tastes like Chili’s southwest salad, but this version is healthy.
  • Pair with some chicken or beef for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • It is packed with fresh ingredients that are in season.
  • The Santa Fe dressing is creamy and flavorful.  It perfectly complements the other ingredients in the salad.
  • Santa Fe salad is easy to make and can be customized to your liking.
  • It is a great salad to serve for a potluck or picnic.
  • This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be easily made vegan.
  • Check out this Mexican Street Corn Salad or this Broccoli Cauliflower Salad for another refreshing summer dish!

What is Santa Fe Salad?

Santa Fe salad is a Tex-Mex inspired salad that is typically made with lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, avocado, and a Santa Fe dressing. The salad can also be topped with grilled chicken or shrimp, or it can be served as a vegetarian salad.

The Santa Fe dressing is what gives this salad its unique flavor. This dressing is made with lime juice, fresh cilantro, and honey. The lime juice adds tartness, the cilantro adds freshness, and the honey adds sweetness. The dressing perfectly complements the other ingredients in the salad, and it helps to bring all of the flavors together.

Ingredients & Substitutes

These are the ingredients and substitutions for Santa Fe salad. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the full recipe.

Use fresh mixed greens.

Cherry tomatoes add color, freshness, and flavor.

Corn kernels also add color and freshness. Feel free to use fresh or canned corn.

Drain and rinse the black beans.

Dice the avocado into small cubes. Use ripe avocado.

Thinly slice the red onions.

Fresh cilantro adds flavor to the salad and the dressing.

Lime juice is the base of the lime cilantro dressing. Use fresh lime juice if possible.

Use extra virgin olive oil.

Honey or agave syrup add the sweetness.

Garlic adds a garlicky flavor to the dressing. Use a fresh garlic clove if possible. Otherwise, use garlic powder.

Add in sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Ingredients for Santa Fe salad.

Taste & Texture

Santa Fe salad is a flavorful and refreshing salad. The lettuce provides a crisp base, the tomatoes add sweetness and acidity.  The black beans and corn add heartiness.

In addition, the avocado adds creaminess.  The Santa Fe dressing adds a sweet and tangy flavor.

The salad is a great combination of flavors and textures!

How to Make

Step 1

First, in a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, red onion, and cilantro.

Corn tomato salad.

Step 2

In a separate bowl, make the lime cilantro dressing. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper.

Step 3

Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss gently to coat all of the ingredients evenly.

Bowls of southwest salad.

Step 4

Lastly, serve!

Expert Tips for Success

Use fresh, high-quality ingredients. This will make a big difference in the flavor of your salad.

Avoid using frozen veggies.

If you want to add protein to your salad, grilled chicken or shrimp would be a great option.

If you are serving this salad as a vegetarian dish, you can add a hard-boiled egg or some quinoa for extra protein.  For vegan, omit the egg and add more beans or chickpeas.

This salad is best served immediately after it is made.  However, you can also store it in the refrigerator for up to a day.

Bite of southwest salad.

Flavor Variations & Add-Ins

Santa Fe salad is a versatile salad that can be customized to your liking. Here are a few ideas for flavor variations and add-ins:

  • Add grilled chicken or shrimp for extra protein.
  • Add quinoa for extra fiber and protein.
  • Top with a hard-boiled egg for extra protein.
  • Top with some diced jalapenos for extra heat.
  • Use different types of lettuce, such as romaine, spinach, or kale.
  • Use different types of beans, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, or black-eyed peas.

How to Serve & Store

Santa Fe salad is best served immediately after it is made.

Great with grilled chicken, steak, seafood, and more.

However, you can also store it in the refrigerator for up 24 hours ahead of time.  If you are storing the salad, make sure to keep the dressing separate.  You can add the dressing just before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Santa Fe salad made of?

Santa Fe salad is made with fresh vegetables and mixed greens. The veggies include black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and red onion.

What is the lime cilantro dressing made of?

The lime cilantro dressing is made of lime juice, honey, olive oil, garlic, and cilantro.

Can you make this ahead of time?

Sure! To make this ahead of time, store the salad and dressing separately. Then, dress the salad just before serving.

Can you add protein?

Yes! Add grilled shrimp, steak tips, or grilled chicken to this salad.

What dressing goes with Santa Fe salad?

Lime cilantro dressing goes well with this southwest salad.

How do you char corn for this recipe?

To char the corn, add it to a dry hot cast iron skillet. Cook for a few minutes, until charred.

Fresh Santa Fe salad.

You May Also Enjoy

If you enjoyed this homemade Santa Fe salad recipe, please leave a rating and comment! For more inspiration, check out my Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. For 5 free weekly meal plans and more free resources, sign up to receive my free newsletter! Check out these Salad Recipes for more healthy ideas.

Enjoy this healthy Santa Fe salad recipe!

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