This Copycat Panera Southwest Chili Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken is my absolute favorite!!! I made it three times this past week!!! Once you have all the ingredients – you can’t help but make it every day!Jump to Recipe
This salad literally has all my favorite toppings – corn, ranch, avocado, feta and chicken – what more can you want?! There’s some lettuce in there too for good measure! But trust me – the Southwest Dressing is what you’re going to come here for and I have an easy hack to make it for yourself!
What is in Panera Southwest Chicken Salad?
Panera’s version has citrus pepper chicken, romaine, arugula, pickled red onions, black bean & corn salsa, fresh cilantro, and masa crisps tossed in chile lime rojo ranch and topped with feta and avocado.
I modified that just slightly by using tortilla strips and made my own chile lime southwest ranch – and you’re going to love it!!! It’s zingy and so delicious with just a little spice!
It’s so easy to make this salad! Start with a base of romaine and arugula (sparingly on the arugula – it’s got a peppery flavor that can overwhelm you). Then layer everything on from there: sliced chicken, pickled red onions, black bean & corn salsa, cilantro, tortilla strips, feta, avocado and my own Southwest Ranch Dressing! So good!
What’s in the Panera Southwest Dressing?
Panera’s dressing recipe is always where I start when making a copycat – this one contains a chile lime rojo blend which has pesto, garlic, buttermilk, a variety of peppers (guajillo, piquante, cayenne, chipotle), vinegar, egg, sugar, lime juice and Greek yogurt.
If you’re looking for the Chipotle Taco Sauce – I found Ortega’s at Kroger for less than $3. If you can’t find it – you can also add Chipotle Pepper Seasoning to your ranch – or even canned chipotles in adobo sauce. On the last one – tread lightly – it’s spicy!
Tips and Tricks
I would reco starting with my Jalapeno Lime Ranch – but if you have bottled ranch – you can add juice from a lime, grated jalapeno and chipotle pepper seasoning!
You make them!!!! I always have the base for these No Cook Refrigerator Pickles in the fridge – most of the time – it’s full of red onion just so I have them on hand. You can use them after they’ve set overnight – but the longer they’re in the juice – the softer and more pickled they’ll get!
They always marinate in a Citrus Pepper marinade and my best copycat is this Mojo Criollo marinade – it’s super cheap and adds so much to the chicken!
I always make chicken breast in the air fryer! Depending on the size of the chicken breast – I air fry at 350 for 12-15 minutes – flipping halfway thru. Temp check with a meat thermometer to 160 and then let it rest for 5 minutes so the juices absorb into the chicken.
Panera’s version has 680 calories. My version has 708 calories. Pretty close!
Recipes included in this chicken salad:
Other Panera Salad Copycat Recipes:
Copycat Panera Southwest Chili Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1.5 cups mojo criollo marinade
- 1/4 cup pickled red onion
- 3 cup romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/4 cup black bean & corn salsa
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/4 cup feta crumbled
- 1/4 cup tortilla strips
- 1/3 cup Jalapeno Lime Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup Ortega Chipotle Taco Sauce
- Marinate chicken in Mojo Criollo marinade in the refrigerator
- Mix together Jalapeno Lime Ranch Dressing and add Chipotle Taco Sauce and refrigerate overnight
- Mix together Quick Overnight Pickles and place rings from 1/2 red onion in
Time to Eat
- Cook chicken breasts – I air fry at 350 for 12-15 minutes – depending on size/thickness. Flip halfway thru and temp to 160-165. Let rest until ready to serve.
- Slice chicken breast into strips, core avocado and dice
- In 2 salad bowls, layer the lettuce and arugula.
- Top with 1/4 cup red onions, salsa, diced avocado, sliced chicken, feta, tortilla strips and fresh cilantro, if desired.
- Toss with dressing.