Spicy Southwestern Salad with Avocado Dressing Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Spicy Southwestern Salad with Avocado Dressing

61 reviews / 4.7 average


Calling all the avocado lovers. *whole world raises hand*

Today’s southwestern salad is so super simple and classic – just spicy golden roasted sweet potatoes tossed with sweet corn (fresh or grilled? – you choose), black beans, chopped romaine lettuce, and a cool n’ creamy avocado dressing that is packed with cilantro, lime, and other good things.

I mean, what can I say? It’s not the world’s most cray-z-awesome creative combination – it’s just what my mouth wants to eat every day all day in the summatime.

Let’s get right down to it. I adore this salad for many reasons, one of them being that you can actually just omit the lettuce (umm I didn’t just say that 🙅) and toss the roasted sweet potatoes, corn, black beans, and avocado dressing together for more of a Southwestern Salad meets *Chips and Dip for Lunch* situation.

Judging by how closely our food tastes align most of the time in this internet food blog space, I’m going to guess that you’ll be as obsessed as I have been for the last five hundred lunches.


Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

This healthy Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing! | pinchofyum.com

Insider Tip: if you are going the chip route, and if you can find chips with a spicy hit to them, you will be in spicy-cool Southwestern-flavored heaven.

**UPDATE: per reader request, here is the link to the (spicy!) chips that I will now go on to rave about. This is an affiliate link to buy them on Amazon. You might be able to find them in store as well – I got mine at Byerly’s.**

Kinda like how I bought these sweet potato chipotle tortilla chips the other day, and like how I found out as I broke into the bag on the way home from the store that they were WAYYYY too spicy to eat on their own, and like how those spicy chipotle chips then became the perfect scooping mechanism for this southwestern salad because the coolness of the salad + the heat of the chips were a match just made for each other. The kick of the chipotle with the crunch of the chip texture with the luscious, cooling avocado…

And then there’s that moment you realize that your post about a nice, real food, flavorful, healthy and whole southwestern salad has turned into a love letter to PACKAGED CHIPS.

🎶 I see your truuuue colors shining through 🎶

This healthy Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing! | pinchofyum.com
This healthy Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing! | pinchofyum.com

This southwestern salad takes about 30 minutes to prep, start to finish.

Get the sweet potatoes going, and while those bbs are doing their yummy thing with the cumin and chili in the oven, make the dressing and chop up the lettuce and drain and rinse your corn and beans.

If you want to be extra deliciously awesome, I highly recommend using fresh sweet corn and grilling or roasting it. I did that one other time when I made this southwestern salad combo happen and it was D to the Licious!

On the other hand, if you’re just getting home from work and you’re hungry for dinner and you have about 2 seconds before you have to start Round 2 of more work in the evening (hiiii this is my life right now for exciting reasons that will soon be made known), then just using canned corn and beans will be right up your alley.

Literally right at this second I just had a vision of tossing some sizzling tequila-lime-esque shrimp in with the corn and beans and sweet potatoes, and covering it in the avocado cilantro dressing, and gobbling it all down in a moment of ultimate southwestern salad bliss.

Will someone please do that for me?

This healthy Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing! | pinchofyum.com
This healthy Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing! | pinchofyum.com
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Spicy Southwestern Salad in a bowl with avocado dressing.

Spicy Southwestern Salad with Avocado Dressing

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 big salads 1x


This healthy Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing!



For the Salad

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon each cumin and chili powder (plus a sprinkle of cayenne if you like it hot)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 romaine heart, chopped

For the Cilantro Dressing:

  • half an avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a squeeze of lime juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Mix the olive oil, cumin, and chili powder together in a small bowl. Brush mixture on sweet potatoes. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir or shake the pan. Turn heat up to 425, and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Check, stir, and bake until the sweet potatoes are just barely roasty-brown on the outside. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth.
  3. Toss the beans, corn, lettuce, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Serve with chips and/or the other half of the avocado for extra yum!


This recipe can be made vegan by swapping the Greek yogurt with a non-dairy yogurt alternative – even just a little hunk of tofu would work, or maybe the whole avocado instead of half. But don’t use oil – the oil and avocado don’t really blend together well (I speak from experience).

HERE ARE THE SPICY CHIPS. They are really spicy and really good. This is an affiliate link to order a box of them on Amazon.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

Keywords: southwestern salad, avocado dressing, spicy southwestern salad

Frequently Asked Questions For This Southwest Salad

How long does the avocado dressing keep?

The dressing will keep for 2-3 days before it starts to brown.

Can you omit the avocado in the dressing?

It will be a little less thick and creamy, but could work! You could also sub in this Jalapeño Ranch instead for an avocado-free dressing.

Can you use frozen corn instead of canned?

Yes! I’d just warm it in the microwave or sauté/char it on the stove before adding to the salad.

Can you make the dressing dairy-free?

Skip the yogurt in the dressing and increase the lime juice by just a bit for more zing, or use a plant-based yogurt instead. If you want to replace the creaminess without yogurt, you could also sub in some mayonnaise.

What meat could be added to this salad?

Grilled chicken would be amazing! But if you have an air fryer, I’d highly recommend this chicken recipe.

PS. Totally need to say thank you for your responses on yesterday’s post. I couldn’t sleep last night – my mind was too busy being completely overwhelmed by your kind, encouraging, real-people-real-life words. ♡

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of best healthy sweet potato recipes. Check it out!

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    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This is the best look salad, bar none! I love your presentation. So swirly and whirly. Confession, I always (like everyday) hit up the Southwest salad at McDonalds. (That’s when I’m not at Chipotle which is rare too.) I NEED to make this and impress all my friends!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This looks amazing. My family doesn’t like cilantro. Think it would be good with parsley?? Lmk what a good substitute to cilantro would be! Thanks!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      How far in advance can I make the salad dressing?? Does it stay good for a few days?

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Your last post – so inspiring and beautifully written. This salad – so inspiring and is going to look beautiful when I make it and then put my face in the bowl because I won’t be able to eat it fast enough. YUM.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Okay, so I am not weird for laying awake at night pondering new ways to use avocados at every meal??? Avocado oatmeal anyone!? Ew. It must have been a bit too late with that one. This looks SPLENDID. and the green reminds me of Magic Green sauce…<3

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yep – this will be dinner tonight – I’ll use shrimp in place of the sweet potato (’cause that’s what I already have) and call it good.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks fabulous! Definitely making this tomorrow as we are a year-round sweet potato family. But I MUST know, what brand and where did you find sweet potato chipotle tortilla chips? Sounds delicious! Sounds like a Trader Joe’s product *fingers crossed*

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsay, this looks amazing!! My step-daughter and I are obsessed with anything avocado! I think that this will be perfect for our family picnic! I don’t have sweet potatoes, but I have butternut squash. Do you think that the salad will still be as delicious? I’ve been following your blog recently and I must say you make my mouth water! 😉 I’m new to the blogging world. Your blog is a great inspiration! Thank you!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh my goodness. Saw this and had to run out and get some sweet potatoes. I have all the other ingredients. I don’t like cilantro, so I substituted with Italian parsley. This was a big hit with me and my husband. Hubby likes side salads, but wants meat . . . with this salad he didn’t need the meat or want the meat. A delicious and fabulous salad. Thank you Lindsay!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh Lindsay! This is going to be the lunch salad of the week next week for sure! I love every single ingredient you’ve put in this delicious dish! Coriander and avocado were just meant to be friends, and when they get together with sweet potato and black beans, magic happens. And I might just sneak a few chips in my lunchbox too 😉

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Lindsay,

    This recipe looks amazing! I’m also wondering where you got the dressing container? Not sure if that is the right term, but it looks lovely as well, and I’m looking for one. Please share when you get a chance!

    Thank you,

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I am obsessing over that salad dressing jug/bottle as well! Please share where you got it. Your avocado dressing looks especially tasty in it 🙂