This Santa Fe Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh ingredients and easy to prep ahead for a healthy, protein-packed lunch.
No better way to get your family hooked on eating salads than this southwest inspired recipe. With flavors like taco grilled chicken, black beans, corn, avocado, and Homemade Jalapeño Ranch, it’s sure to be a meal your family will crave.
I often use leftover taco night ingredients to assemble these salads for a light dinner or lunch. It’s a smart way to reuse leftovers for a satiating meal.
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How to Pack Salads for Lunch
Not sure how your kids feel about salads for lunch? I get it, sometimes my kids come home, and there’s only a bite missing out of their salad. As soon as I started packing this Santa Fe Chicken Salad, everything was gone. Sweet success!
Here’s how to make this recipe or any salad stay fresh in the lunchbox:
- Create a bed of lettuce in the lunch container.
- Top with room temperature or chilled toppings like cooked chicken, cheese, black beans, corn, and avocado. Seal.
- Pack the Jalapeño Ranch or your choice of dressing in lidded sauce containers and add them to the salad prior to eating.
Adding hot ingredients and dressings to lettuce or greens will cause them to wilt. This is okay if you are eating the salad right away, but it will create a soggy salad for packed lunches.
How to Meal Prep Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Making these salads ahead of time is a smart move to have healthy, ready-to-eat meals on hand. I like to have the veggies chopped and chicken already cooked and cooled down before starting. Here’s how to turn this Santa Fe Chicken Salad into a lunch meal prep:
- Follow the directions above, making sure all ingredients are at room temperature or chilled. Leave out the avocado until the morning you plan to pack a salad for lunch.
- Refrigerate the lunch containers for up to 3 days.
- The morning you plan to pack a salad in your lunch bag, add the avocado. Send with a sauce container filled with Jalapeño Ranch.