Crispy Southwest Chicken Salad

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Those amazing crispy chicken salads that you find at your favorite local restaurant or drive thru are completely achievable at home, and luckily you can make them much healthier. This is the version that I love to make, and it’s one of my favorite things to put together for lunch.

dairy free crispy chicken salad southwest

Dairy Free Gluten Free Chicken

I use these breaded chicken tenders for this salad because they’re dairy free, gluten free, crispy, and delicious. This is a so-called meal hack, because I’m taking all the work out and using frozen chicken tenders rather than making the chicken from scratch. I cook the tenders using the convection option on my oven so they’re extra crispy, but an air fryer works great too. Feel free to use your favorite chicken tenders that suit the dietary needs of your family. My tween and husband enjoy the chicken with a small salad and side of fries, and I skip the fries and keep the carbs low by loading up on this salad. It’s an easy way to cook once and please everyone in the family.

dairy free crispy chicken salad

Dairy Free Dressing Options

My favorite dressing to have on this salad is the Buffalo Ranch by Sir Kensington’s. Some other great options are the ranch from Primal Kitchen, Daiya Homestyle Ranch, or Yo Mama’s American Ranch. You could also make a homemade green goddess dressing, a lime cilantro crema, or a spicy chipotle ranch dressing.

The Beans

I absolutely love the Tex-Mex Pinto Beans from Fillo’s in this salad. In fact, I love all the beans from Fillo’s, and almost all of them will work in this. You can also use a canned bean if you’d like, just be sure to rinse and drain it. Variations that work great here are black beans, kidney, pinto, or mayocoba beans.

How can I get my chicken crispy?

I like to air fry my chicken and spray it with just a bit of avocado oil to achieve ultimate crispiness.

Is this crispy chicken salad healthy?

Everyone’s body is different so “healthy” is different for everyone. This salad is under 300 calories, and if your chicken is baked or air fried you will significantly reduce the amount of fat and calories you’re consuming. This is a much healthier option that takeout salads.

5 from 1 vote

Crispy Southwest Chicken Salad (dairy free, gluten free)

Loaded with fresh vegetables, tons of flavor, and an easy meal hack to put this together in minutes.
Servings 2
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins


  • 5 oz spring mix
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup radishes thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 avocado cut right before serving
  • 8 oz chicken tenders dairy free, gluten free if needed
  • Dressing of choice I like vegan buffalo ranch


  • Cook your chicken tenders per package instructions. The crispier the better!
  • Start assembling your salads in two large bowls.
  • Add your vegetables in this order: lettuce, cucumbers, beans, radishes, tomatoes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, allow it cool for five minutes. Slice the tenders thinly, then divide them in half on top of the salads. Scoop out your avocado and dice, then add about 1/4 cup to each salad.
  • Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!
Calories: 267kcal
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American


Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 283mg | Potassium: 1052mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1097IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
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Did you make this dairy free Crispy Southwest Chicken Salad?

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