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Make-Ahead Layered Southwestern Salad done in glass bowl | Mother Would Know

Make-Ahead Layered Southwestern Salad

This salad comes together in minutes. With fresh summer ingredients you'll find it irresistible. And you can make it ahead, then pull it out of the refrigerator for lunch or dinner. 

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword avocado, beans, cheese, corn, dressing, lettuce, salsa
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Laura



  • 1 can black or pinto beans, rinsed. I used black beans
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 3 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels About 3-4 ears of corn.
  • 1 cup cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
  • 1 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled, or Cheddar cheese, shredded I used Cheddar
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled tortilla chips. I used unsalted
  • Optional - cooked, crumbled bacon or roasted chicken, shredded or diced


  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce or taco seasoning I used BBQ sauce


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the beans and salsa. Spread across the bottom of a large serving bowl. 

  2. Layer the following ingredients in the serving bowl (on top of the beans and salsa) in this order: lettuce, corn, tomatoes, bacon or chicken if using, bell pepper, cheese, avocado, and top with tortilla chips.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ranch dressing and BBQ sauce or taco seasoning. Serve on the side. 

Recipe Notes

The easiest way to cook the corn is to microwave it

Here's how to cut the kernels off the cob. 

cutting corn kernels off a fresh cob

If you're trying to cut down on salt, use unsalted tortilla chips. The dressing and salsa have plenty of flavor, so you don't need that salt to add flavor to the salad. 

To make the salad ahead and refrigerate, leave off the tortilla chips and dressing until ready to serve.