Chicken & Black Bean Spinach Salad

The chicken spinach salad is a lunchtime power boost that will fuel you through the afternoon. It’s packed with veggies, black beans and tossed with a simple garlic-lime dressing. Prep the ingredients ahead of time for easy weekday lunches.

overhead photo of a bowl of salad with chicken, black beans and vegetables

Every time I share a salad I feel this urge to over-justify its existence seeing as salads at my house are more of an exercise in cleaning out the fridge versus a composed “recipe”. But sometimes I find myself making the same thing over and over and so, in sense, it graduates to a proper recipe complete with a list of required ingredients and instructions for making it.

And so is the case with this chicken spinach salad with black beans and a whole bunch of other things. It has crunch, it has creamy textures, it has a super simple homemade dressing. It is what I’ve been eating on repeat for lunches lately.

It’s loaded with southwest-y ingredients tossed with a simple garlic-lime dressing. It’s easily customizable depending on your tastes and it’s totally make-ahead appropriate which is always nice for weekday lunches.

In a nutshell, it’s a noontime power bowl of goodness that will fuel you through the afternoon so you don’t hit the wall at 3 o’clock, otherwise known as slumpy time. Slumpy time is the worst.

Some Ingredients You’ll Need

Feel free to experiment with the ingredients adding more or less of what you like or don’t like. This is not a fussy recipe – adaptations are welcome.

photo of the dressing in a small jar
  • For the greens, I like fresh spinach, although you can use your favorite green like spring mix, arugula, or even chopped romaine lettuce.
  • Sliced radishes give the salad a peppery bite and add a little happy pop of pink.
  • I love the black beans in this salad, but you could substitute pinto beans, cannellini beans, or chickpeas if that’s what you have on hand. 
  • Some crumbled feta cheese (which I realize isn’t exactly “Southwest”, so for a more authentic experience use queso fresco).
  • Avocado
  • Cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast. I like to cook it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Or use super convenient shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • The dressing is a simple lime juice, olive oil, and garlic combo.

Make-Ahead Tips

This is the sort of salad, if you have cooked chicken on hand you can easily prep the rest ahead and toss it all together later for lunch.

For best results, store the components individually in the fridge so when it’s time for lunch nothing is wilted or soggy or otherwise unappealing.

The recipe as written makes two large salads, but, depending on your appetite, you can stretch the ingredients to make four small chicken spinach salads.

Happy salad-making!

close-up photo of chicken spinach salad

More Easy Recipes

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Chicken Black Bean Spinach Salad

overhead photo of a salad in a bowl

The chicken & black bean spinach salad is a lunchtime power boost that will fuel you through the afternoon. It’s packed with veggies and tossed with a simple garlic-lime dressing. Prep the ingredients ahead of time (see the notes for more details) for easy weekday lunches.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 salads 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

For the Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch each of kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the Salad

  • 4 generous cups of roughly chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces cooked chicken, diced or shredded (see note)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 small avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced into quarters

Instructions

  1. Whisk the lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil together in a small bowl until combined.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the spinach and cilantro together. Drizzle about half of the dressing over the greens and lightly toss them again to coat them in the dressing. Divide the greens between two serving bowls.
  3. Top the greens with the radishes, black beans, chicken, and feta cheese. Place the avocado slices on the salad, drizzle each salad with the remaining dressing and serve.

Notes

I like to cook the chicken ahead of time to make it easy to toss a salad together for lunch. To prepare the chicken, I pound it out to an even thickness (about a 1/2″ thick), season it on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook it on a grill pan on both sides until it’s cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Or, use shredded rotisserie chicken and skip the cooking.

If you want to prep this salad ahead of time, cook and dice the chicken, chop the spinach, slice the radishes, and drain and rinse the black beans. You can also make the dressing ahead. Keep all of the components separate in the fridge until you are ready to make the salads. Add the cheese and avocado and it’s ready to serve.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
  • Calories: 625
  • Sugar: 1.8g
  • Sodium: 592.8g
  • Fat: 46.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 34.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.8g
  • Fiber: 11.3g
  • Protein: 35.7g
  • Cholesterol: 99.4mg

Keywords: spinach salad, chicken spinach salad

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2 Comments

  1. I have made this amazing salad twice, however, I did make two changes. As my husband isn’t a fan of cilantro or radishes I used grape tomatoes and oregano! He really liked it and we are having it tonight!! Thanks!

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