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With a creamy lime dressing, tender roasted sweet potatoes, and black beans, this easy Mexican Salad recipe is the healthy salad of my dreams!

Healthy Mexican salad served in a bowl

Why You’ll Love This Healthy Salad Recipe

  • It’s Perfect for Meal Prep. Once you’ve prepped this healthy Mexican salad, it’s an easy and delicious on-demand meal (much like my Roasted Vegetable Salad). I’ve included tips for prepping the salad in advance below, and I’ve even included how to make this a jarred salad for lunch in the FAQ section.
  • It’s Both Healthy and Hearty. This modern take on a traditional Mexican salad keeps core Mexican flavors and ingredients but gives them a wholesome spin (like this popular Taco Skillet). It’s packed with good-for-you ingredients that will help keep you satisfied for longer.
  • It’s Loaded With Yummy Ingredients. Crisp, flavorful, and filling, this easy Mexican salad recipe is the perfect blend of textures and flavor (like this Mexican Pasta Salad). From the creamy black beans to the spice-coated sweet potatoes, this salad is packed to the brim with exceptionally delicious ingredients.
Creamy Mexican salad dressing with yogurt on colorful ingredients

5 Star Review

“We made this Mexican salad for a family birthday dinner and it was a hit! We will definitely be making this salad often.”

— Marie —

How to Make Mexican Salad

The Ingredients

For the Salad

  • Pepitas. Contribute healthy fats and a satisfying crunch.
  • Sweet Potatoes. Packed with fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, sweet potatoes keep this salad filling and satisfying while adding a lovely sweetness to contrast the spicy notes of this salad.
  • Spices. A traditional blend of Southwest flavors, including cumin and chili powder, perfectly seasons the sweet potatoes. (I use a similar seasoning for this Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad.)
  • Romaine. My pick for a hearty salad green that won’t overtake other ingredients. It has a mild flavor that allows the other ingredients to shine while adding a nice crunch to every bite.

Market Swap

You can swap the romaine for a different salad green of your choice. Baby spinach, mixed field greens, or chopped kale are other nutrient-dense options.

  • Black Beans. Lends this vegetarian Mexican salad (and this Black Bean Corn Salad) extra fiber and plenty of plant-based protein.
  • Tomatoes. For color, moisture, and traditional Mexican flair.
  • Jalapeño. Kick up the heat.
  • Cilantro. For freshness and authentic Mexican flavor.

For the Dressing

  • Greek Yogurt. Helps make the dressing creamy and tangy.
  • Lime Juice. For acidity and brightness.
  • Garlic + Spices. A bit of garlic and cumin adds depth.

Optional Mexican Salad Topping Ideas

Finish this salad with one or more of the following toppings to make it your own:

  • Corn. Corn is a classic ingredient in many traditional Mexican salad recipes (and Mexican Corn Dip). Feel free to toss it in here too. You can use grilled, canned, or frozen (and thawed) corn.
  • Cheese. Feta, goat cheese, and queso fresco are my personal faves. Shredded cheddar or pepper jack would, of course, be delicious choices too.
  • Avocado. For additional creaminess and an extra dose of healthy fats. You could also add a dollop of my Best Guacamole Recipe.
  • Tofu. For some extra plant-based protein, top the salad with the sautéed tofu from this recipe for Tofu Tacos.
  • Grains. Add cooked quinoa, bulgur, or farro to turn this into a hearty Mexican salad bowl.

The Directions

  1. Toast the Pepitas. Don’t let them burn!
Roasted sweet potatoes on a baking sheet
  1. Roast the Potatoes. While they roast, you can wash and chop the other Mexican salad vegetables.
  2. Prepare the Dressing. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
  3. Combine the Lettuce and Dressing. Make sure it’s evenly moistened.
  4. Add the Remaining Ingredients. Toss to coat, top with tortilla chips, and ENJOY!
One of the best cold Mexican salad recipes served in a bowl

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place Mexican salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. If possible, store your dressing in a separate container and your tortilla chips at room temperature.

Meal Prep Tip

  • Option 1. You can prep all ingredients (except the tortilla chips) and keep them separate or mixed together. Prepare the dressing, but leave it off the Mexican salad for now. I recommend waiting to add the creamy lime dressing until a few hours before you serve it and waiting to add the tortilla chips until just before serving, so they stay crunchy.
  • Option 2. Just toast your pepitas and roast the sweet potatoes ahead of time. Store the sweet potatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and pepitas at room temperature. Having these two ingredients ready and on-demand cuts down the prep time for nights when you’re in a hurry.

Leftover Ideas

Pile leftover salad ingredients into a taco shell for a spin on my Vegetarian Tacos. You can also add the leftovers (minus the lettuce) to a flour tortilla for a tasty quesadilla (like my Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas). Use the lettuce on top or on the side if you’d like.

Easy Mexican salad served in a bowl with avocado

What to Serve With Mexican Salad

  • Sheet Pan. For toasting, roasting, baking, and everything in between!
  • Chef’s Knife. A sharp knife for chopping ingredients is a must-have tool for any kitchen.
  • Serving Bowl. This beauty will turn this recipe into a show-stopping centerpiece if making this Mexican salad for a crowd.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Change-Up the Veggies. Don’t let your lack of specific veggies hold you back! Make this recipe your own with a custom medley of vegetables. For tips and seasoning suggestions, check out my ultimate guide to Oven Roasted Vegetables.
  • Know Your Preferred Spice Level. This salad can be as mild or as spicy as you like. If you’re a fan of spice, include the jalapeño seeds and membrane. Can’t handle the heat? You can remove them or omit the jalapeño completely.
  • Have Fun With It! Above all else, this delicious salad should be fun! A mixture of beautiful colors, bold flavors, and varying textures, it’s pleasing to the eyes and the taste buds. So, pour yourself a Skinny Margarita and enjoy it!

Mexican Salad

4.67 from 27 votes
The BEST Mexican salad! This easy Mexican salad with creamy lime dressing and sweet potatoes is healthy, vegetarian, and versatile.

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 servings (as a side) or 4 (as a main)

Ingredients
  

For the Salad:

  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks (about 2 pounds or 5 cups raw or 3 1/3 cups roasted)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 can reduced-sodium black beans (15 ounces) drained and rinsed
  • 1 small jalapeño* thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small bunch radishes thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro packed
  • Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese, or queso fresco (optional, for serving)
  • Tortilla strips or crushed chips (optional, for serving)
  • Sliced avocado (optional, for serving)

For the Dressing:**

  • 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lime (about 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the pepitas in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast until the pepitas turn darker (they'll be a deep goldish brown) and are fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the pepitas to a small plate or bowl. Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
  • On a rimmed baking sheet (I use the same one I toasted the pepitas on to save a dish; just brush it off first), toss sweet potatoes with the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt until evenly coated. Spread into an even layer and roast until browned and tender, 20 to 22 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Let cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients: Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime zest and juice, garlic, salt, and cumin. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. The dressing should taste very bright and limey—its flavor will mellow once tossed with the other ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, place the chopped romaine hearts. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss to moisten.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, beans, jalapeno, radish, and cilantro, then drizzle on another 1/4 cup of dressing. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with tortilla strips. Enjoy, with extra dressing as desired.

Video

Notes

  • *JALAPENO NOTE: For a more mild salad, you can remove the seeds and membrane from the pepper if desired. You may also omit the jalapeno entirely if you’re particularly sensitive to spicy foods.
  • **DRESSING NOTE: This recipe yields about 3/4 cup of dressing. Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight storage container.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN/DAIRY FREE: Swap a non-dairy yogurt for the Greek yogurt or use the dressing from this Grilled Corn Salad instead; omit the cheese.
  • TO STORE: Mexican salad may be kept in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. If possible, store your dressing in a separate container, and keep your tortilla chips outside of the refrigerator to keep crisp.
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: You can prep all the ingredients for the salad (except the tortilla chips) and keep them separate or mix them together. Prepare the dressing, but store it separately from the Mexican salad ingredients. I recommend waiting to add the creamy cilantro lime dressing until a few hours before you serve it and waiting to add the tortilla chips until immediately before serving, so they stay crunchy.
  • See the full blog post above for more tips on making this Mexican salad for meal prep!

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6); about 2.75 cups without optional toppingsCalories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 10gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 1mgPotassium: 760mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 11718IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 3mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make Mexican Salad Vegan?

To make this easy Mexican salad recipe vegan, omit the cheese as a topping or swap it for your favorite vegan-style cheese shreds. When making the dressing, swap the Greek yogurt for your favorite plain dairy-free yogurt.

Is Mexican Salad Good for Lunch?

Yes, this Mexican salad is the perfect recipe to prep for easy, healthy lunches! In fact, it can become a scrumptious jarred salad with a few simple steps.
For a Mexican salad jar that’s perfect for on-the-go lunches:
1. Prepare all ingredients of the Mexican salad, but do not add the dressing or tortilla chips to the other ingredients.
2. Drizzle the dressing over the bottom of a large container or individual mason jars.
3. Add the salad ingredients on top.
4. Place your desired amount of tortilla chips in a ziptop bag, and store outside of the refrigerator until serving.
5. When ready to enjoy your Mexican salad jar, shake up the prepared container to toss the ingredients with the dressing. Sprinkle with your tortilla chips, and enjoy!

Can I Make The Mexican Salad Dressing Without Garlic?

Sure! While I have not tried the dressing without garlic before, you may certainly omit it from the recipe if that is your preference. The flavor will be a bit different but delicious nonetheless, I’m sure. (For another tasty dressing option, check out the one in my Grilled Corn Salad.)

What Meat Goes With Mexican Salad?

If you’re looking for a meat-forward main course to serve with this vegetarian Mexican salad, try these Fajita Chicken Kebabs or Mexican Shrimp. As a topping, Mexican salad with chicken (e.g., Grilled Chicken Breast or Crockpot Mexican Chicken ) or Mexican salad with shrimp (and Grilled Shrimp Seasoning) are both tasty options. Check out this turkey Taco Salad too.

Related Recipes

For more fun variations on traditional Mexican salads, try one of these other south-of-the-border salad recipes:

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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24 Comments

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  1. Wow, Erin, this salad is soooo good. Doesn’t seem like anything too out of the ordinary when you’re looking at the ingredients but there’s something about how it all comes together that makes it absolutely delicious. Maybe it’s the dressing, or the spices on the sweet potatoes, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’ll be making this salad regularly from this point forward! Thanks for another great recipe!5 stars

  2. Hi –

    I’m making this tonight for dinner and it looks and sounds delicious.
    The avocado is mentioned several times and it’s visible in the picture but it’s not on the ingredients list. Just a mention because now I’m going to have to run back to the grocery store before I cook.

  3. Hello! We will be dining with guests tonight and one guest cannot have garlic, garlic salt, or garlic powder. Do you think this dressing will be just as good without it? 😬🤷‍♀️

    1. Hi Erin! It will change the flavor a bit, but I think it would still be tasty. I hope you enjoyed it!

  4. We made this Mexican salad for a family birthday dinner and it was a hit! We will definitely be making this salad often. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  5. Holy delicious!!! I meant this to last a few meals but can’t stop eating it. Thanks for a great lunch5 stars

  6. Wow, this was delicious! The dressing is just amazing and used a bit of leftover for a plain salad the next day and it bought it to another level.
    I’m not a lover of feta so I used Wensleydale with cranberries cut into small chunks and it worked beautifully adding another pop of flavour and colour (not that it needed either of course). I also don’t like sweet potato, but thought I’d go with it and boy are they amazing; the spices used worked perfectly! Superb recipe I will definitely be doing again and again, thank you!5 stars