Southwestern Chicken (or Turkey) Quesadilla Salad

By Ann Fulton

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This is my FAVORITE restaurant salad–well, my rendition of it, anyway!  I usually make it when I have leftover chicken, but leftover turkey works well, too.  Packed with flavor and various textures, it is a satisfying yet healthy meal, especially perfect amidst the overindulgences of the holidays!

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 a meal 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;  make extras and warm in the oven or toaster oven to serve with the Southwestern Quesadilla Salad the next night.  The black bean salsa may also be made ahead and used another night as a topping on Baked Tilapia or your favorite fish, even grilled chicken or steak. (Delicious as a dip for my homemade version of ” Hint of Lime” tortilla chips, too!) 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 the components may be prepared ahead, will last for several days or more in your fridge, and incorporate basic pantry ingredients.  The actual meals are hands-off slow cooking options or quick throw-together dishes that are wholesome, taste great and might even reward you with more leftovers!

For all the recipes I mention above, simply click on the highlighted words to see them.

This ranch dressing is equally delicious as a healthier dip for your favorite veggies.

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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