With a creamy lime dressing, tender roasted sweet potatoes, and black beans, this easy Mexican Salad recipe is the healthy salad of my dreams!
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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.
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
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.
- 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.
- Toast the Pepitas. Don’t let them burn!
- Roast the Potatoes. While they roast, you can wash and chop the other Mexican salad vegetables.
- Prepare the Dressing. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Combine the Lettuce and Dressing. Make sure it’s evenly moistened.
- Add the Remaining Ingredients. Toss to coat, top with tortilla chips, and ENJOY!
- 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.
What to Serve With Mexican Salad
- Chicken. Whether you add it to your salad or enjoy it on the side, this Crockpot Mexican Chicken is a delicious option.
- Tacos. Pair this salad with Shrimp Tacos or Tempeh Tacos for a hearty meal.
- Cornbread. Mexican Cornbread or Jalapeno Cornbread would be tasty with this salad.
- Beans. You can’t go wrong with a side of Instant Pot Refried Beans or Crock Pot Pinto Beans.
- Dip. Both 7 Layer Taco Dip and Mexican Corn Dip would pair nicely with this recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- 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!
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)
- 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, jalapeño, 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.
- *JALAPEÑO 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!
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Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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!
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.)
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.