This Mexican Chopped Salad is perfect for a summer picnic or bbq and is so easy to make with less than 10 ingredients. Grilled corn, black beans, and avocado are tossed together with crunchy romaine and a lime vinaigrette for tons of flavor in every bite.

Chopped salads are everywhere right now. You get each component in every bite which makes them craveable and delicious. Loaded with bright color, crunchy texture and a zesty Mexican Salad Dressing, this refreshing Mexican Salad Recipe is simple to throw together and packed with layers of flavor. It’s light and full of healthy ingredients, yet unbelievably satisfying.

Whether you serve it as a quick midday lunch, or as an easy elevated side dish, the options are endless. But most importantly—it’s restaurant quality, at home, which is the best of both worlds in my opinion.

If you like this Mexican Salad idea, don’t sleep on our other go-to salad recipes. They’re light and delicious, and perfect to serve with any meal. Simple sides like this are a great way to amp up any spread too, so if you’re a fan of this one, I highly recommend checking out our Mexican Cole Slaw with Corn—it’s fresh and impressive, and always a hit. Serve any of these alongside a simple protein, like our personal favorites, Grilled Chimichurri Chicken or Skirt Steak, and you’re in business.

Chopped salad in a large white bowl with chopped romaine lettuce, black beans, charred corn, sliced avocado and a lime vinaigrette. A small pitcher of vinaigrette off to the side along with a glass of ice water and a smaller bowl of salad.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Gone are the days of boring, soggy salads! Flavorful and ultra-crisp, this is anything but boring and pairs wonderfully with our Monterey Chicken.

  • Made with Fresh, Flavorful Ingredients: With ingredients like crisp romaine lettuce, fresh, frozen or even canned corn if it’s what you’ve got on hand, fiber-packed black beans, creamy ripe avocados and tangy limes, this salad’s got everything. Bonus, the vinaigrette is made up of mostly pantry ingredients, so you’re already halfway there!
  • Use the Grill or a Grill Pan: Use a grill pan or your backyard grill for the corn in this recipe. Both work great, which makes this a versatile dish you can make year-round.
  • Customizable Side or Main Course: This salad is light and refreshing, which makes it a perfect side dish—you can even add in any other fresh veggies or herbs you’ve got on hand. Bell peppers and cilantro would pair nicely with the other ingredients. Or, serve this alongside a grilled top sirloin steak or your favorite protein to turn it into a main course meal or hearty dinner idea.
  • Healthy Meal Idea: Made with simple and fresh ingredients, this salad is healthy and full of nutrition. It’s on the lighter side if you serve it on it’s own, but it’s beyond satisfying thanks to the fiber-rich black beans and avocado.
  • Great for Meal Prep: With a quick prep time, this salad is perfect to make ahead and store in the fridge for an easy meal. Grill the corn ahead of time, make a big batch of the vinaigrette, and prep the other salad ingredients (minus the avocado) in separate containers so when you’re ready to eat, simply toss all of it together.
salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, agave, olive oil, black beans, romaine hearts, two ears of corn, avocados, and scallions set out on the counter.

Mexican Chopped Salad Ingredients

Chopped Salad:

  • Sweet Corn: I love using fresh corn if it’s in season, but if it’s not, frozen or even canned work just as well. You can char it up off the cob in a cast-iron skillet just as easily. And any variety will add a nice, bright sweetness to the salad.
  • Black Beans: Canned black beans are one of those ingredients you should always have on hand in your pantry. They’re hearty, versatile and packed with protein and fiber—a personal favorite of mine.
  • Scallions: These add a nice, slightly sharp bite to the salad. They’ve got a mild onion-like flavor and when you slice them on the bias they visually elevate the dish.
  • Romaine Hearts: The key ingredient and base of this salad—romaine is the workhorse of many salads. It’s crispy, crunchy, light and refreshing. The leaves are sturdy enough to stand up to all mix-ins and any dressing. You can also use iceberg lettuce.
  • Avocados: Creamy, ripe avocados add a nice richness. They’re smooth texture compliments the crunchy lettuce and corn.
Chopped lettuce, sliced avocado and sliced scallions on a wood cutting board.

Lime Vinaigrette:

  • Lime Juice: Fresh is best! Fresh, acidic lime juice is key to making this dressing.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I like to use a good quality evoo in all of my vinaigrettes. A good olive oil is deeply flavorful, fruity and slightly spicy.
  • Agave Nectar or Honey: All dressings can use a subtle hint of sweetness to balance tangy acidity. Add a little more or less, based on your personal preference.
  • Cumin and Coriander: Both are slightly earthy in flavor, but essential to Mexican-inspired dishes. You can find ground versions of both in the spice aisle of your grocery store.
  • Salt and Pepper: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, always be seasoning (and tasting)! I develop recipes using Morton kosher salt. If you’re using Diamond Crystal, you will likely need a bit more.

How To Make Mexican Chopped Salad

The key to a great chopped salad is making sure everything is well combined, all ingredients are about the same size, and the whole thing is generously dressed—you don’t want a dry leaf in the house. This is all accomplished in this recipe with these easy ingredients and tangy vinaigrette.

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium then coat the grates (or pan) with oil. Once hot, add your corn and grill until charred. You’ll want to turn the corn occasionally until all sides get a kiss from the grill.
Two ears of corn charring on a grill pan with a set of tongs turning an ear of corn.
  1. Meanwhile, make the lime vinaigrette by whisking together lime juice, oil, agave, cumin, and coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set this aside.
Lime juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, agave, salt and pepper in a glass mixing bowl with a whisk set nearby.
  1. Once your corn is off the grill and cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cobs.
Charred corn cut from the corn cobs on a wood cutting board with a chefs knife set nearby.
  1. Add your corn kernels to a bowl with the black beans and scallions
Charred corn, black beans and scallions in a glass mixing bowl.
  1. In another bowl, add the romaine, then add in half of the bean and corn mixture, and half of the vinaigrette, and toss everything together until combined.
Chopped romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl with black beans and corn poured over top.
  1. Before serving, top with your remaining corn and bean mixture and some sliced avocado. Top with a bit more vinaigrette or serve it on the side.

Pro Tips for Recipe Success

  • Chop Everything Finely: The key to a great chopped salad is to chop everything to about the same size. The lettuce, beans, corn and scallions should all be similar in size—this creates that satisfying crunch and flavor-in-every-bite.
  • Dress Right Before Serving: There’s nothing worse than a soggy, soft salad. So wait until you’re just about ready to serve to dress the salad with the vinaigrette. This way, everything stays crisp and crunchy.
  • Use Ripe Avocados: Let avocados ripen at room temperature on the counter for a few days if they aren’t quite there when you bring them home. To quicken the process, add a piece of fruit to the bowl they’re stored in.

Variations & Substitutions

  • Add Extra Vegetables or Herbs: This recipe is great for using any fresh produce you’ve got in the fridge. Bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, red onions and fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley would pair perfectly here.
  • Top With a Simply Seasoned Protein: To make this light dish more of a main course, but without too much work, top with simply seared shrimp or blackened salmon, or grilled chicken or steak.
  • Add Cheese or Seeds: Crumbled Cotija, shredded Cheddar, or even a mild feta or goat cheese would be nice here. Add some toasted pepitas for an extra nutty crunch.
Vinaigrette being poured over romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl with black beans, corn and sliced avocado set on top.

Storage & Meal Prep Instructions

Meal Prep: This salad is great to prep-ahead. Grill your corn ahead of time and prepare the beans, scallions, and lettuce. Keep your ingredients in separate containers and everything is at the ready for you to combine when it’s time to eat. Hold off on the avocado though, don’t slice until right before serving.

Make-Ahead Vinaigrette: Make a batch of the vinaigrette ahead of time and store it in the fridge in an airtight jar or container. It’ll keep for 5 to 7 days. Allow it to come to room temperature for a few minutes before dressing your salad.

For the Fridge: You can store all of the salad ingredients, separate or combined, in airtight containers in the fridge for about a week. Keep the vinaigrette separate of course, and when you’re ready to eat, simple toss everything together.

What To Serve With a Mexican Chopped Salad

This salad is so flavorful and vibrant, it’s perfect on it’s own as a light lunch or a side salad, but you can easily serve it alongside a simple protein or Mexican-inspired main dish to make it a heartier meal.

We have lots of options below, everything from steak and chicken to seafood and salsas to serve on the side—there’s something for everyone.

  • Skirt Steak: Simple to prep, quick cooking and versatile, skirt steak is the perfect protein to top a salad with.
  • Ribeye Steak: If you want something a bit richer and beefier in flavor, a ribeye will get the job done. Try reverse searing it.
  • Mexican Shredded Beef: Super tender and flavor-packed, this braised shredded beef is always a crowd-favorite.
  • Chipotle Lime Shrimp: Light, bright, and simple to prepare, this shrimp would go great served on top of this chopped salad.
  • Salsa Verde Chicken: Bright and herby flavors from the salsa verde are delicious and pair well with almost any protein, especially chicken.
  • Roasted Tomatillo Salsa: There’s really nothing like homemade salsa—serve this with chips or as a condiment.
  • Tomato and Chipotle Salsa: With a little kick from the chipotle, this salsa has some heat that pairs nicely with a side of chips, or as a topper for simply seared or grilled meat.
Chopped salad in a large white bowl with chopped romaine lettuce, black beans, charred corn, sliced avocado and a lime vinaigrette. a silver fork set in a salad and a glass of ice water set off to the side.

More Delicious Salad Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mexican Salad made of?

Mexican Salad is a combination of fresh lettuces, vegetables, beans and sometimes herbs or cheeses, if you desire. This one has crunchy romaine, sweet corn, black beans and creamy avocado with a tangy lime vinaigrette.

What is the difference between a regular salad and a chopped salad?

With a chopped salad, every ingredient is cut to uniform, similar sized pieces, and then mixed together. This way, you get a little bit of everything in each bite. Whereas with traditional salads, the lettuce leaves tend to be slightly larger than the toppings and everything isn’t necessarily mixed together ahead of time.

Can I add a protein to this salad?

Definitely. Simply seared or grilled steak, chicken, or shrimp would go perfectly with this salad. A filet of pan-seared salmon would be delicious, as well. This salad is versatile and customizable, which makes it such a great meal option.

Mexican Chopped Salad

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 4 Servings
Category Salad, Salad/Side dish
Cuisine Mexican, Mexican Inspired

Description

This Mexican Chopped Salad is perfect for a summer picnic or bbq and is so easy to to make with less than 10 ingredients. Grilled corn, black beans, and avocado are tossed together with crunchy romaine and a lime vinaigrette for so much flavor in each bite.

Ingredients

Salad

  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

Lime Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • teaspoons ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a grill or grill pan over medium for 5 minutes.
  • Coat grill grates or grill pan with vegetable oil. *
  • Grill 2 ears corn, turning occasionally, until charred, about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons agave, 1½ teaspoons cumin, and 1½ teaspoons coriander for vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a large bowl, combine corn kernels, 1 can rinsed and drained beans, and 4 sliced scallions. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, add 6 cups chopped romaine and toss with half of bean and corn mixture as well as half of dressing.
  • Top with remaining corn and bean mixture as well as sliced avocado. Serve remaining vinaigrette on side.

Notes

Coating Grill Grates with Oil: I roll a paper towel up and dip it in oil before using tongs to brush it over the grates or grill pan.
Storage Instructions: 
Meal Prep: This salad is great to prep-ahead. Grill your corn ahead of time and prepare the beans, scallions, and lettuce. Keep your ingredients in separate containers and everything is at the ready for you to combine when it’s time to eat. Hold off on the avocado though, don’t slice until right before serving.
Make-Ahead Vinaigrette: Make a batch of the dressing ahead of time and store in the fridge in an airtight jar or container. It’ll keep for about 5 to 7 days. Toss it with your salad before serving.
For the Fridge: You can store all of the salad ingredients, separate or combined, in airtight containers in the fridge for about a week. Keep the vinaigrette separate of course, and when you’re ready to eat, simple toss everything together.
I originally developed this recipe for Cuisine at Home magazine during my time as an Assistant Editor there.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of recipeCalories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 10gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 226mgFiber: 10gSugar: 6.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Chopped salad in a large white bowl with chopped romaine lettuce, black beans, charred corn, sliced avocado and a lime vinaigrette. a silver fork set in a salad.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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