This hearty Southwest Salad is a well-balanced dish that includes roasted sweet potatoes, sweet corn, black beans, and crunchy salad and is tossed with a zesty homemade avocado cilantro dressing. It’s the perfect vegan salad that is filling and satisfying and great for meal prep! 

a bowl filled with greens, roasted sweet potato, avocado and dressing

The warmer months call for lighter meals, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be filling and satisfying. This southwest salad is full of texture coming from the freshly chopped lettuce and onion but also has fiber and protein coming from the beans, corn, and simple roasted sweet potatoes. 

It then gets tossed with a homemade Cilantro Avocado Dressing for a zesty flavor that pairs perfectly with Southwest flavors. It’s the perfect vegan salad to serve poolside or to have as a side dish at a summer party. Make a large batch for tasty leftovers, too! 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s great for summer. This light and refreshing salad is also satisfying without weighing you down. 
  • It’s perfect for meal prep. Prep the salad and assemble it into airtight containers with dressing on the side to take with you for lunches.
  • Uses homemade dressing. This recipe uses a homemade cilantro avocado dressing that pairs perfectly with southwest flavors. 
  • It’s 100% vegan. This filling lunch is made suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 
  • You can change up the fillings. Feel free to play around with the vegetables using your favorite salad ingredients. 
all of the ingredients for the salad on a table

Ingredients You Need

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

  • Cubed Sweet Potato – Gives the salad a naturally sweet flavor and pairs well with southwest flavors. 
  • Olive Oil – Helps the potatoes roast evenly. 
  • Spices –  You’ll need cumin and salt to flavor the sweet potatoes. 

For The Salad

  • Mixed Greens – You’ll need some coarsely chopped salad greens. I like to use a mix of spinach and leafy greens.
  • Black Beans – Adds bulk, fiber, and protein to the salad. 
  • Frozen Corn – Thaw frozen corn to add sweetness and texture. You can also use fresh corn.
  • Avocado – Adds a creamy texture and a dose of healthy fats. 
  • Red Onion – Gives the salad crunch and a mild red onion flavor. 
  • Chopped Cilantro – Adds beautiful green color and fresh herb flavor. 
  • Lime Juice – The juice from fresh lime makes the flavor in this salad pop. 
  • Avocado Cilantro Dressing – Dresses the salad in a creamy dressing with notes of cilantro and lime. 

You can serve with another dressing of your choice. Citrus vinaigrette and other light salad dressings taste great with this salad.

cut sweet potatoes on a baking sheet before roasting

How to Make Southwest Salad

Step 1.

Roast the sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sweet potatoes onto the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cumin and salt over the top. Toss with hands until potatoes are well coated. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Step 2.

Assemble the southwest salad. Divide the cooked and cooled roasted sweet potato, greens, black beans, corn, avocado, red onion, and cilantro between 4 bowls. 

Step 3.

Garnish and serve. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each of the servings and drizzle with the salad dressing. Toss and serve. 

two bowls of southwest salad sitting on a table with forks on the side

Expert Tips

  • Cut sweet potatoes evenly. When cutting the sweet potatoes for roasting, make sure they are all cut bite-sized in ½ inch cubes. This makes them easy to get everything in one bite and helps them evenly roast. 
  • If you have fresh roasted or cooked corn available from leftovers, you can also use it in this salad recipe. 
  • To cut down on the raw onion flavor, soak your red onion in a bowl of cold water for 1 hour or use chopped shallots or scallions. 

Variations

  • Add some char-grilled flavor by grilling up the corn and onions to chop up and add to the salad. 
  • Give it some crunch by crushing up some of your favorite tortilla chips and adding them as a garnish or topping. 
  • Add more protein by tossing in some marinated baked tofu or tempeh. 
  • Make it spicy by adding some diced jalapeno to the mix. 
  • Bump up the veggies by adding some diced bell pepper, tomatoes, or roasted green or yellow squash. 
  • Make it portable by adding a portion to a flour tortilla and making a satisfying salad wrap. 
pouring salad dressing on to the salad

If you love this salad recipe, then try this Beet Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette or this Roasted Vegetable Power Quinoa Bowl.

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a bowl filled with greens, roasted sweet potato, avocado and dressing

Southwest Salad

An easy salad recipe made with roasted sweet potato, avocado cilantro dressing and other southwest flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 3 cups mixed greens, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/4 cup avocado cilantro dressing

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread the sweet potatoes onto the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cumin and salt over the top. Toss with hands until potatoes are well coated. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool
  • Divide the cooked sweet potato, greens, black beans, corn, avocado, red onion and cilantro between 4 bowls. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each of the servings and drizzle with the salad dressing. Toss and serve.

Notes

Storing: Leftover southwest salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in an airtight container. 
Making Ahead: The avocado cilantro dressing can be made up to 3-4 days in advance. Cooked and cooled sweet potatoes can also be stored in the fridge 3-4 days in advance. The raw chopped salad ingredients can be prepared as you are assembling the salad to keep them fresh and crunchy. 

Nutrition

Calories: 334kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 64mg, Potassium: 938mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 12505IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 3mg