Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad Copycat Recipe

You may have heard cautionary tales about some fast food salads that end up containing more calories than cheeseburgers that are offered the same menu. Well, this is decidedly not one of those situations. According to Wendy's nutrition information page, the Southwest Avocado Salad itself contains 420 calories, in addition to 140 calories in the packet of dressing that comes with it. That's 560 calories all told, which is not bad at all. In fact, in other words, it's a perfect light lunch.

"I would say this is a complete meal," says chef, recipe developer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, adding, "It is delicious." And the salad will taste even better when you make a copycat of the Wendy's original at home with the freshness of the ingredients you will have at your disposal, as well as the chance for you to customize the dish a bit. And if you don't like things spicy, for example, that's absolutely no problem at all, because as Carli says, "It would be delicious with a little less heat. I would omit or take down the jalapeño liquid for a slightly milder taste in the dressing."

And if you want to make it even more of a delicious meal in a bowl, why not add some tortilla chips or even a bed of rice?

Gather the ingredients to whip up this Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad copycat recipe

To make your very own Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad copycat, you will need a butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce mix, roughly chopped, cooked chicken breasts cut into cubes, a Roma tomato (diced), shredded pepper jack cheese, strips of bacon (chopped), guacamole, ranch dressing, a few dashes of hot sauce, and a bit of the liquid from some jarred jalapeños.

You can, of course, prepare this salad using pre-cooked chicken and store-bought guac (and even with pre-cooked bacon), but in case you want to prep everything yourself, let's talk through the simplest way to cook a chicken breast and prepare some guacamole before moving on.

The easiest ways to cook chicken breast and make a delicious guacamole

The easiest way to cook a boneless, skinless chicken breast is to bake it. Set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and then trim the fat and any gristle off the meat while it heats up. Place the chicken in the hot oven in a lightly greased baking dish or on a lined baking sheet, and let it cook for 18 minutes. Then, check the center of the meat with a thermometer. Your target temp is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and if it's not there yet, keep baking the chicken in 2 or 3-minute increments.

To make simple guacamole, slice open a ripe avocado, remove the pit, and scoop the green "meat" into a bowl. Mash it lightly with a fork, and then sprinkle over a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and about a tablespoon of lime or lemon juice, then mash and mix everything well. And just like that, you have yourself a delicious serving of guac.

Assemble your Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad copycat, and cook the bacon

Your oven may still be hot from the chicken, but if not, pre-heat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, in a large bowl, add the roughly chopped lettuce, the cubed chicken, the diced tomato, and the shredded cheese, and toss very lightly to start combining. Keep in mind that you don't want to overdo it, or else many of the ingredients will fall to the bottom of the bowl.

Next, on a foil-wrapped baking sheet, lay out the bacon, and then cook it in that pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until it's crispy. We're baking the bacon, not frying it, precisely so it crisps up perfectly.

Once cooked, remove the bacon from the oven, and slice it into strips. Let it cool briefly, then spread the pieces out atop the salad. Next, spoon dollops of guacamole over your salad.

Make the dressing, then dress the Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad copycat

In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of ranch dressing, 3 dashes of hot sauce, and 2 teaspoons of the liquid from the jarred jalapeños, and then whisk to combine them into a spicy dressing. Remember that you can ease back on one or both of the spicy parts there, but they really do add flavor if you're okay with a bit of heat.

Next, pour the dressing over the salad, and then enjoy it. And do enjoy it as soon as possible, as Carli says, "Unfortunately, this one doesn't keep well at all."

Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad Copycat Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
When you're in the mood for a salad with some spice, this Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad copycat recipe has you covered.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Wendy's Southwest Avocado Salad copycat
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 8-ounce butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce mix
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 strips bacon
  • ¼ cup guacamole
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 3 dashes hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons jarred jalapeños liquid
  1. In a large bowl, add the lettuce mix, cubed chicken, diced tomato, and shredded cheese, and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place bacon strips on a foil-wrapped baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until crispy.
  3. Remove bacon from the oven and slice it into strips. Cool briefly, then spread atop salad.
  4. Spoon guacamole over salad.
  5. In a small bowl, add ½ cup of ranch dressing, 3 dashes of hot sauce, and 2 teaspoons of the liquid from jarred jalapeños and whisk to combine.
  6. Pour dressing over salad.
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