Southwestern Chicken (or Turkey) Quesadilla Salad

By Ann Fulton

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Hearty quesadillas transform this flavorful salad into a satisfying meal – and the quesadillas require just three basic ingredients! 


My make-at-home version of one of my all-time favorite restaurant salad dates back to my early twenties. Suffice it to say, this salad has stood the test of time!

I usually make it when I have leftover chicken, but leftover turkey works well too. Packed with a variety of flavors and textures, it’s a satisfying and wholesome meal.

This meal is also an excellent example of how I stretch and repurpose leftovers. As much as I like to cook, life gets busy and this approach helps me get dinner on the table most nights.

With this recipe, I often start with a Slow Roasted Whole Chicken or Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. A rotisserie chicken works well too.  

Enjoy the quesadillas one evening with a simple green veggie or side salad, but make extras to reheat and serve in the Southwestern Quesadilla Salad the next night. The black bean salsa may also be made in advance and used another night as a topping on Baked Tilapia or your favorite fish, even grilled chicken or steak. (The salsa is also delicious as a dip with “Hint of Lime” tortilla chips–or this homemade version.) The ranch dressing is perfect on a basic green salad, as a dip for your favorite veggies, and even in my Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups. You get the idea!

All these recipes might sound like a lot of time in the kitchen, but when we can prepare various components ahead of time, we are ultimately able to whip up truly satisfying meals quite easily. 

Stretch and transform leftovers into a deliciously filling meal with these family-friendly quesadillas that will be ready in a flash!

For a twist on the following recipe, try BBQ Chicken & Rice Quesadillas, which offer another family-friendly, super-satisfying way to stretch and transform leftovers.

This small batch recipe is endlessly versatile, fresher tasting than store-bought, and ideal for all those times you don't need a whole bottle. (Although it's so good you may end up doubling it!) 

Your favorite store-bought ranch works well, although you may enjoy this simple Small Batch Ranch Dressing recipe, which may easily be doubled as needed.

Southwestern Chicken Quesadilla Salad
Feel free to use quality store-bought condiments or the linked recipes. The hearty quesadillas really make this salad into a satisfying meal, although like the other linked recipes, they can also be enjoyed on their own.
  1. Lightly toss lettuce with ranch dressing.
  2. Top with black bean salsa, tomatoes, and optional garnishes.
  3. Place a few wedges of quesadilla around the edges and enjoy!
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  1. Terra

    Okay, you say this is your favorite restaurant salad….well your version I know:-) Are you talking about Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad? I immediately thought of that salad…..BUT love love your recipe sooooo much better:-) Hugs, Terra

    1. Ann

      Would you believe I have never been to a Chili’s, Terra?? The salad I mention is served at a restaurant where I live although it is not a chain. I might have to make my way to a Chili’s one of these days and check out their salad! Thank you for the compliment!

    1. Ann

      Thanks so much, Valerie! All of the components are delicious separately and work magic altogether in the salad. Truly a favorite here!

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