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Last updated on April 3rd, 2024 at 06:02 pm

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Chopped Mexican Salad Recipe [video]

Mexican Salad is a great addition to your summer menu with its rich combination of flavors and Mexican staples like beans, avocados, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro. With a refreshing honey lime dressing made with cumin and chili powder. I adore the simplicity of Mexican cuisine and the abundance of fresh ingredients and spices that take a simple recipe to a different level.

Chopped Mexican Salad with Cilantro

As a food developer, I like to make sure my recipes are delicious and also easy for everyone before sharing them. Sure, I could write down all the details without the hints and tips or steps to make it, but what good is that if it is too difficult for anyone to make? That means I have to test the measurements and ingredients until it is perfect for you, my readers, to follow.

I find great pleasure in what I make, and when salad season rolls around, I am happy to mix and match to get the perfect combos to share with you. Sometimes, getting the kids to eat their vegetables can be difficult. But if you mix them with all these delicious flavors and dress the salad with my homemade honey lime dressing, they will be asking for seconds! All you have to do is toss it all in a bowl and add your favorite garnishes.

I encourage you to try mixing in your own favorites along with the cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, English cucumber, and bell peppers. I chose to add red beans and corn to make it a heartier meal and toss in some black olives, red onion, and cotija cheese for extra flavor. 

What makes this dish ultra special is the richness of Mexican flavors balanced in one easy recipe. Also, you get all sorts of textures and flavors from the vegetables and spices all tied together nicely by the tangy lime dressing. Using cumin and  chili powder, adds that distinctive flavor that we all love in Mexican recipes.

This Mexican Chopped Salad recipe is a simple and healthy addition to pretty much any meal. I love using it as a side with baja fish tacos, chicken enchiladas, grilled chicken, and grilled shrimp.

What you need to make Mexican salad

Starting with romaine lettuce and adding crisp, fresh veggies, cheese, and seasonings gives this Mexican salad its incredible flavor. It is not a difficult salad to make, and you can chop all the veggies with a food processor to make it fast and easy.


Mexican salad has a variety of fresh veggies including:

  • Romaine lettuce – Rinsed, drained, and chopped.
  • Fresh cilantro – Rinsed, drained, and chopped.
  • Cherry tomatoes – Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Avocado – Peeled and diced.
  • English cucumber – Rinsed and sliced into rounds.
  • Red onion – Thinly sliced.
  • Sweet corn – Canned is fine but make sure it is drained.
  • Bell pepper – Deseeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • Black olives – Drained and halved.


Then, toss in some beans. I used red beans in my salad, but you could try black beans, pinto beans, or even black-eyed peas.


My favorite is cotija cheese but sometimes I use feta cheese. It just depends on what I happen to have and what mood I am in. Try your favorite cheeses like parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, or camembert.

Homemade honey lime dressing

I will teach you how to prepare the dressing so you won’t have to purchase commercially available ones. This makes this already healthy side dish even better, since aside from the generous portions of healthy greens and veggies, a healthy and flavorful dressing is used.

  • Lime juice and zest
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to make chopped Mexican Salad:

  1. Prepare and chop the ingredients: Start by washing and chopping the ingredients for the salad, then. Then, toss them all in a large salad bowl leaving out the cheese at first.
  2. Dressing: Whisk together the ingredients for the lime dressing in a separate bowl.
  3. Combine: Once combined, drizzle over the salad and toss some more. Top it with the cotija cheese. Then, cover and chill the salad in the refrigerator before serving.

Expert tip

Salads come in many different forms from small and light appetizer salads to main courses like this Mexican salad. There are even fruit salads and dessert salads like ambrosia. But, whatever kind of salad you are making, it is important to have some type of dressing to hold it all together. Even if it is just a dash of olive oil to help it meld.

Another reason for the salad dressing is to help your body absorb the nutrients from the veggies. My Mexican salad calls for a honey lime dressing that is absolutely delicious. A good dressing is KEY at tying a salad together. Here you have to concentrate on a few things to get the best results. A great dressing needs to have something acidic, something to balance it, a fat, and some seasonings.

Make sure you use the correct proportions, and an important step is to add the oil little by little into the dressing, while stirring continuously. This why it will emulsify, otherwise it may separate from the other ingredients.

Recipe Variations:

  • Grilled veggies: Experiment with grilling your veggies before adding them to the salad for a different taste. Just make sure they are completely cool first.
  • Add meat: Although you get vitamins and protein from the veggies and beans, try making this a hearty dinner dish for the family by adding your favorite meat. Chopped chicken, pork, or turkey would add another layer of flavor.
  • More cheese: No reason to stop at just one type of cheese. Add as many kinds as you like. 
  • Spice it up: If your family loves spicy food, I would add some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chopped jalapenos.
  • Grilled Corn: Although sweet corn is great in this dish, you can easily substitute it with grilled corn instead. Also, you can use fresh or frozen corn if desired. 
  • Tortilla chips: For a crunchier texture, top it with some tortilla chips. 
  • Other veggies: You can easily mix in your favorite veggies, such as sweet peppers, zucchini, jicama, etc. 

Serving suggestions:

While I have worked hard to give you the best Mexican Salad, there is no reason why you cannot add your own ideas when serving it. Try it in different ways and use leftovers for other dishes.

  • Since I absolutely adore Mexican cuisine, I highly recommend you serve this salad with classics like homemade salsa, or use this guacamole recipe and some tortilla chips on the side.
  • This delicious salad is a great side dish when serving burgers, sandwiches, or soups.
  • Try serving this tasty mixture in taco shells or soft tortillas.
  • Use some homemade Horchata on the side, for a complete Mexican feast.

Fun Fact

Do you know how the first salad was invented? It was the ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Babylonians who first thought to mix greens with oil, vinegar, and salt to make a meal or snack. Soon after, things like onions, celery, and radishes were added for more flavor and nutrients.

In the years to follow, salads became one of the most popular and versatile dishes all over the world with additions like fruits, herbs, and even flowers as well as cheeses and dressings. Not long after, people were making salads from everything from meats to nuts as well as sweets and tangy sauces.

Frequently asked questions

What is Mexican salad made of

It incorporates the staple ingredients of Mexican cuisine including beans, bell pepper, olives, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, and avocados on a bed of Romaine leaves. It has a complex and refreshing flavor brought by the use of fresh cilantro, that is characteristic to Mexican dishes.

Topped with cotija cheese, another Mexican staple, this dish has all the flavors you are looking for. In addition, the salad ingredients are tossed in a sweet and refreshing honey lime dressing spiced with some cumin and chili powder.

What do you need for a perfect salad?

I find the best salad is one with a base, body, garnish, and dressing. Of course, the number one ingredient in almost every salad is some kind of greens whether it is lettuce, spinach, or some other kind of fresh greens, which is the base.

The body of the salad includes things like veggies, fruits, and some kind of protein such as beans or meat. The garnish is whatever cheese you enjoy as well as crunchy toppings like croutons or seeds. Finally, the dressing should complement the other elements of the salad.

What are the different kinds of salads?

There are several types of salads including a green salad, which is mostly leafy greens with some veggies and cheese. Then there are the bound salads like potato salad, egg salad, and coleslaw. That also includes chicken and tuna salads. Fruit salads are self-explanatory, made with various fruits and sweet sauces.

A dinner salad is a main course like this Mexican salad and includes everything from greens to veggies, beans, and meats. Then, there are the dessert salads like ambrosia, pistachio, jello, and cookie salads.

More Mexican food recipes:


  • Refrigerate: It is best to keep the salad and dressing separate if you plan to have extras. It is safe to keep for up to five days in the fridge, but it should be kept in a loosely covered container. The dressing can be stored in a glass container with a lid in the fridge for up to 14 days.
  • Freezing: Freezing is not recommended.

Recipe tips:

  • Try to chop all the veggies the same or similar size so you get a variety of flavors in every bite.
  • To save time, prepare your veggies and dressing in advance. Then, put it all in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.
  • Be sure to add the cheese last, when you are ready to serve, for the best flavor.
  • Keep the salad and dressing separate if you think you may have leftovers.
  • Let the salad chill for at least an hour for everything to meld together before serving. 

Best Mexican Salad

Mexican Salad is a great addition to your summer menu with its rich combination of fresh veggies, honey lime dressing, and cotija cheese.

Mexican Salad Recipe
  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 1 large head Romaine Lettuce rinsed, chopped, and dried
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 English cucumber sliced
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 15.25 oz can red beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.25 oz can sweet corn drained
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup black olives cut in half
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese or feta cheese

Lime Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground


Make the dressing:

  • First, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adding the oil lastly little by little, while stirring to combine. Set aside.
    honey lime dressing ingredients in a bowl

Assemble the salad:

  • Chop the salad ingredients and combine them in a separate bowl, except for the cheese.
    mexican salad ingredients in a bowl
  • Then, add the dressing and toss to combine. Refrigerate for one hour before serving, for the flavors to meld.
    pouring dressing over salad
  • Garnish with cotija cheese on top and serve.
    overhead shot of mexican salad

Nutrition Facts


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Charles Suggs

Charles Suggs

A good substitute for Cojita cheese would be Feta cheese. Feta is salty so taste as you go along.

It is great recipe.



The best salad I made so far. It is authentic, easy to make and quite satisfying. We served it yesterday with some bbq at the pool, and it was perfect! Thanks for sharing!

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Thank you!



This was sooooo good. My husband is not a salad person and he asked for this recipe!

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe! thanks for the feedback!

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