Delicious Chick-fil-A southwest salad ready to eat

Chick-fil-A Southwest Salad

March 21, 2016 by Michelle

My local Chick-fil-A again invited me to try out their new menu item, and I have to say, I’m definitely a fan of the Chick-fil-A Southwest Salad. I was not compensated aside from the salad I enjoyed, and all opinions are my own.
Chick-fil-A Southwest Salad review spicy

Growing up, I remember fast food restaurants pretty much had the same menus all the time. Nothing changed, nothing was new. Now? Menus are getting facelifts on a regular basis. Chick-fil-A is one of those restaurants that is continually making changes lately, and some of them I absolutely love. Honest Kids juice for the kid meals now? Not only is it organic, but it has less sugar, which is a win in my book. They are also getting rid of high fructose corn syrup and several other ingredients of questionable health benefit. These are the trends I love.

And, yes, they are changing up the flavors on their menus, too. Gone is the coleslaw. Gone is the carrot raisin salad. And now, gone is the Asian salad, replaced by the Chick-fil-A southwest salad. Why this new salad and not both? Well, Chick-fil-A test marketed the new salad with and without the Asian salad on the menu. And… the Asian salad didn’t sell. People bought either one or the other – it was essentially the same market for both salads in many cases, and that made it not worthwhile keeping both salads on the menu, as the ingredients wouldn’t be as fresh as they have to be with slower sales of each. I get that.

Delicious Chick-fil-A southwest salad ready to eat

While I know there are people who are bemoaning the loss of the Asian salad from the menu, the Chick-fil-A southwest salad is pretty tasty. It is spicy, and when I say that, know it comes from someone who enjoys spice and usually nods when people say things are spicy. This? It’s spicy. While the same spices are used to marinate the chicken as are used in the breading of the spicy chicken sandwich, without the buffering of the breading, it’s much stronger. I like it, but I also like it with the creamy salsa dressing. The chili lime vinaigrette is too acidic on top of spice for me. Go into it knowing that it’s spicy, and you’re good though.

Chili Lime Vinaigrette and creamy salsa dressings for the Chick-fil-A southwest salad

The salad is made with a fresh bed of chopped Romaine lettuce and baby greens, then topped with shredded red cabbage and carrots. The  grape tomatoes are added next, followed by a blend of Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and a zesty combination of roasted corn and black beans.

Adding tomatoes to the Chick-fil-A southwest salad

The chicken tops the salad, and as soon as you take a look at the Chick-fil-A southwest salad, you’ll notice something different. Go ahead…take a closer look.

spicy chicken on the new Chick-fil-A southwest salad

The chicken is no longer thick slices that you need to cut with your knife before enjoying your salad. Chick-fil-A got smart, and the chicken for the salads and wraps is now shredded (ok, they call it shredded, I say it’s sliced thinly – but the end result is the same). That means you can pick up a bite of salad with your fork and… it’s a bite of food and not something you have to cut. The chicken remains fresh and juicy, as it gets used so quickly that it never has a time to dry out. Smart, right?

Chick-fil-A now has shredded chicken for salads and wraps

You have the option to add tortilla strips to your salad – the same tortilla strips that come with the chicken tortilla soup. Honestly? I am just as happy without the tortilla strips on my salad. The Chick-fil-A southwest salad doesn’t need that extra crunch from them – or the 170 calories added to the salad, for that matter. That said, I did enjoy adding the pepitas – pumpkin seeds – as they were a good add of texture and flavor, and I like the health benefits from them. Yes, they add fat to your salad, but this is the good kind of fat.

What you get with the Chick-fil-A southwest salad

This is now a completely low calorie entree salad. The salad with the pepitas and tortilla strips is 420 calories, which isn’t bad. The creamy salsa dressing adds another 280, however. That said, I used maybe one-third of the dressing on my salad and felt like I had plenty of flavor. If I leave off the tortilla strips (which I have done after the first salad I tried), that still keeps me at or under 400 calories for a very filling salad with great protein at 34 grams.

Closeup of the new Chick-fil-A Southwestern salad

Do I miss the Asian salad? I do. I enjoyed it. It was a unique menu item that fit in well, but the Chick-fil-A southwest salad fills that void for me – something with a ton of flavor that is a healthy option for me to enjoy while eating at a fast food restaurant, which is something I do focus on, and I know I’m not alone.

Chick-fil-A southwest salad ready to eat without dressing

Have you tried the Chick-fil-A southwest salad yet? What do you think of it?


  • Angela

    Thanks for this review of the new salad. I have a promotion coupon for a free one but wanted to know what to expect. Appreciate the time you spent to let us know about it!

    • Tanya

      The salad is packed with flavor and filling. However, I can eat the spicy chicken so my local Chic Fil-a knows me and graciously replace it with the market grill chicken.

      • Michelle

        Yes! I’ve heard from others that they will replace the spicy chicken with the regular chicken. I love their flexibility.

  • Mary

    The southwest salad is so good with the avocado lime dressing. It’s a flavor combination I am addicted to. Yum!

  • Nancy

    I adore this salad. To be honest, I crave it to the point of having it 3-5 times each week! When something this good is also healthy, it’s a treasure.
    I agree that about a third of the creamy salsa dressing is more than adequate, and the tortilla strips are unnecessary. I love the pepitas! It’s perfect and I hope it’s on the menu forever!

  • Mallory

    It is sooooo good with their avocado lime ranch, I initially tried with the regular dressing and liked it but the avocado lime ranch took it to a while new level, it’s not my favorite and I’ve had salads everywhere! I have been getting this combo every single day of my work week so 4x/wk it’s helped keep my diet in track because even with the higher calorie ranch i end up eating less bc I’m so full the rest of the day…

    • Michelle

      So glad to hear that you’re loving it and it’s helping you stay on track. I’m with you that I feel more full when I eat regular food like this rather than trying to cut down everywhere. I love that avocado lime ranch!

  • Isela

    Love! I eat it 2-3 times a week. I’ve never tried it with the creamy salsa though, as I tend to stay away from any dressing with the word creamy (too many calories), so I always use the chili lime vinegrette. So yummy! I love the crunch of the tortilla strips, but I’ll probably stay away from them to save on calories.

    • Michelle

      Some calories are good calories though – and I use way less of the dressing than what’s in the package. Sometimes, you have to enjoy life and forget calories 😉 But yes, this is a fantastic salad!

  • Patricia

    This Salad is very spicy. I had no idea that it would be this spicy or i would have never ordered it. Good ingredients and looks filling except for it was extremely hot….too hot whereby I could not enjoy it. Had to throw it out. I will not purchase it again.

    • Michelle

      I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I actually really enjoy the spice, but I know everyone has different preferences. I do know that many friends have gotten this made with the regular chicken and not the spicy chicken so you can enjoy the rest of the salad ingredients!

  • Kelani Z

    I’ve loved this salad for years, but My God, the little packet of creamy dressing has 31g fat. Surely that can be reformulated to be a bit healthier, without losing any taste.

    • Michelle

      It’s *good* fat, but I agree it’s still a lot of fat… but I only use about a third of the dressing on my salad as is, so I don’t feel too guilty about it. Such a delicious salad!

  • S McDonald

    The chili lime vinaigrette is great with the sw chicken, and only 60 Calories.

    • Michelle

      I know a lot of people like that one with the southwest salad. I’m definitely partial to the avocado – but again, I only add about a third of it and know what I’m eating.

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