Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad

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It’s summer! Warm temps, water fun, star filled nights and days of play are here. With that warmer weather and those days of enjoying the outdoors, who wants to spend time in the kitchen?

This easy to prepare salad is perfect for summer days. And Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad is versatile too. Add your favorite toppings or mix things up every time you make it.

Recipe below!

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad title meme

Keeping It Simple

Feel free to prep ingredients for this salad before serving it for dinner. Or…my favorite when it’s hot and muggy outside…buy ingredients that combine easily and quickly so that lunch or supper is served in minutes.

And it truly doesn’t get much easier than this tasty, satisfying salad.

Start with Greens

Using a large bowl or container, start with a layer of greens. I used about 4 cups of chopped arugula. Mixed greens work well too, an assortment of spinach, kale and arugula. For the best nutritional value, skin iceberg lettuce.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad arugula
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – arugula

Add Black Beans and Corn

Next add cooked black beans. You can cook these yourself, however for a quick meal, used one can of beans, drained. No need to heat up canned beans. I use organic canned black beans. Pick your favorite brand.

Next add a layer of organic, non GMO corn, frozen or canned. If using frozen corn, cook first. No need to heat up for canned corn.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad corn and beans
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – non GMO corn and black beans

Add Chopped Red Onions

Chop 1/2 of a small to medium red onion. I use a mini chopper to do this quickly.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad red onions
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – chopped red onions

Add Chopped Tomatoes

Next add fresh tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces. I don’t have ripe tomatoes from my garden yet. I purchased small organic tomatoes and used six of those. Diced tomatoes from a can may be used as well, if fresh tomatoes aren’t available or if you want to sped up the prep time. Drain well first.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad - tomatoes
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – chopped tomatoes

Add Diced Green Chilies

I purchased a small can of diced green chilies, medium spice level. Dice your own favorite peppers, from green bell peppers to hot jalapenos, or add diced canned mild green chilies, drained. Or omit this layer if you don’t want any heat.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad green chilies
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – green chilies

Add Vegan “Chicken”

This layer, and the next one, are totally optional. I seldom use vegan “meats” however, for this salad, it seemed perfect. I used Gardein Plant Based Vegan Seven Grain Crispy Chick’n Tenders. While I assembled the layers, I heated these tenders on the stove top. After they crisped up, I allowed them to cool slightly and then sliced up the tenders. Omit this layer if desired.

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad vegan chick'n
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – vegan chick’n

Final Layer Vegan Cheese

For the final layer of my salad, I added shredded vegan cheese. Vegan cheeses have come a looooong way in recent years. Made from plant based milks, such as almond or coconut, these cheeses are flavorful and behave like dairy cheese.

I added a shredded mix of cheddar and mozzarella plant based cheese.

Omit this layer if desired.

Vegan cheese
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – vegan cheese

Other Tasty Options

This layered salad is so versatile, making it easy to use what you have on hand. Normally, diced avocados go into any salad I make. I was out of them when I made this one. Feel free to add any of the following to your layered salad:

  • diced zucchini or yellow squash
  • slivered or chopped almonds
  • black or green olives
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped green onions instead of red onions
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • shredded cabbage
  • avocados or guacamole
  • chickpeas
  • chopped red, yellow or orange sweet peppers
  • any other veggie of choice
  • salsa

The Dressing

For this layered salad, I added sides of non GMO corn tortilla chips, plant based ranch dressing and sugar free barbeque sauce. What a perfect combination…slightly spicy barbeque sauce and creamy cool ranch. That’s why I wanted the vegan chicken as a layer, for the tangy barbeque sauce.

Use a favorite dressing, plant based, or create your own.

Plant based dressing and barbeque sauce
Ready to eat salad with chips, plant based dressing and barbeque sauce
Vegan cheese

Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad

Enjoy this quick and easy layered summer salad.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American


  • 4 - 6 cups chopped greens: arugula or mixed
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can non GMO corn, drained may use frozen corn instead...cook first
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 5 - 6 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small can diced green chilies, mild to hot, drained may substitute pepper of choice
  • 1 package Gardein plant based chick'n, cooked and sliced may omit this layer
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese, cheddar or mozzarella may omit this layer


  • Prepare plant based chick'n according to package directions.
  • While cooking plant based chick'n, layer each ingredient above in a large bowl or container, ending with shredded plant based cheese.
  • Serve with non GMO corn tortilla chips, plant based ranch dressing and sugar free barbeque sauce. Or serve with dressing of choice. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Makes 4 - 6 servings.
  • Other options: add diced avocado, black or green olives, chickpeas or any other veggie of choice.
Keyword Layered Salad, Vegan

Check Out These Additional Salad Recipes

If, like me, you want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen this summer, check out these eight fresh salads. Loaded with nutrients, they are perfect lunch or supper meals.

Have a happy…and healthy…season! What summer plans do you have?

Ready to Eat
Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad – ready to eat


Summer Salad Helps from Amazon:


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14 thoughts on “Vegan Southwestern Layered Salad”

  1. Cindy this looks so tasty.
    I love Taco Salads but this one with the vegan chicken and salsas looks so yummy. Definitely will have to give it a try.

  2. Yum!! This is perfect for summer barbecues and picnics! I love making cold dinners that require minimal if any cooking on hot days. And my kids would enjoy all the extra toppings on this salad.

  3. This looks fabulous! I love that you can personalize it with stuff your likes. My kids would really like this.

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