Aspen Village Salad

5 from 1 vote
Jump to Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Aspen Village Salad with easy Southwest Cumin Dressing is a refreshing and easy summer dinner.

picture of aspen village salad with lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, olives, cheese, pepperoni, avocado, and southwestern dressing

Chicken Salad With Creamy Cumin Dressing

Aspen Village Salad is a great way to improve your summer salad game. This is definitely an entree salad, that’s going to satisfy even the hungriest eaters. 

Aspen Village Salad is a southwestern take on the traditional main-course cobb salad. The first cobb was developed at the Holywood Brown Derby restaurant in 1937 and has been an American favorite ever since. 

My husband grew up eating this entree salad and it’s a very versatile and filling meal for hot summer days. Because this recipe can be made ahead of time, its a great fast lunch or dinner and won’t heat up your house.

Check out my web story about this amazing Aspen Village Salad.

picture of aspen village salad with lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, olives, cheese, pepperoni, avocado, and southwestern dressing

How to make Aspen Village Salad

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

Salad Ingredients 

  • Romaine Lettuce – Romain is one of the few heat-resistant varieties of lettuce which makes it widely available. Some consider mature romaine to be bitter, but removing the thin white stalks and ribs can alleviate this issue. 
  • Chicken breast – chicken breast is a great clean protein for summer salads like this. Because they don’t contain a lot of intermuscular fat like legs and thighs, they taste better served cold and with creamy dressings. 
  • Monterey Jack Cheese – Jack cheese is an American original, originally made by Franciscan monks in California in the 1800s. It’s known for having a mild and slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture. It’s a great accompaniment for other, bolder flavors.
  • Pepperoni – Pepperoni provides a great kick of spicey and just the right amount of meaty, fatty flavor. 
  • Mandarin Oranges – I used canned mandarins with the liquid drained. The sweetness of the mandarins is a great balance to the peppery spice of the pepperoni.
  • Avocado – Avocados add a rich, healthy, fat, and creamy texture to the salad and make it a full meal in and of itself. 
  • Pitted, canned olives – The olives pack a mild salty and fatty punch that pairs well with the crunch of the romaine and the mild chicken breasts.

Ingredients for the easy Southwestern Cumin Dressing  

  • Mayonnaise – Mayo provide the creamy base for this dressing, and helps smooth out the funkiness of the cheese. 
  • Sour cream – This brings a tart, creamy flavor to the dressing that compliments the more neutral flavor of the mayo.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste – every dish, even salad needs to be seasoned with salt and pepper. 
  • Garlic powder – garlic powder brings the “edge” and earthy flavor of garlic without the harsh “spice
  • Lemon juice – All the rich creaminess in this dressing needs a tart and acidic counterbalance. Lemon juice provides a great, fresh punch of acid to balance out the rich and creamy mayo and sour cream.
  • Ground Cumin – Ground cumin comes from roast cumin seeds, and has a real earthy southwest flavor. 
  • Green chili salsa – Green chili salsa is a southwestern staple and brings nice heat from the green chili with acid and sweetness from the tomatoes. The salsa really rounds out this dressing and brings it all together. 

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method: 

  • Step 1 – Cut and clean your romaine lettuce.
  • Step 2 – Poach your chicken breast in a pot of water on your stovetop. When the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165o, remove it from the water and set it aside to cool.
  • Step 3 – Open and drain the olives and the mandarins.
  • Step 4 – Cut up the salad ingredients. Cut the pepperoni slices into quarters. Cut the chicken breast, cheese, and avocado into cubes, and the olives into slivers. You can pull the mandarins in half with your fingers.

For the Southwestern Cumin Dressing

  • Step 5 – In a bowl combine the wet ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and green chili salsa
  • Step 5- Add the dry ingredients (salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin) to the bowl with the wet ingredients. 
  • Step 6 Whisk thoroughly to combine. Your goal is to thoroughly mix the sour cream and the mayo and the seasonings. The green chili salsa will provide some chunks of chili and tomato for texture.

To build the salad

  • Step 7- Plate lettuce in the bottom of a salad bowl. Arrange the ingredients in rows on top of the lettuce like a cobb salad. 
  • Step 5 – Serve the salad with the dressing on the side. Keeping the dressing on the side allows your guest to use their preferred amount of dressing. By not dressing the salad it’s easier to refrigerate the leftovers with the dressing making the lettuce mushy. 
picture of aspen village salad with lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, olives, cheese, pepperoni, avocado, and southwestern dressing in a bowl

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Aspen Village Salad:

Great picnic salad.  This is a great picnic salad. Gather all the ingredients together and keep them in separate containers to assemble at your picnic site. 

Don’t like pepperoni? You can easily substitute pepperoni for a more mild salami and still enjoy all the meaty flavor without the spice. 

Leftover chicken works great. Have leftover roast chicken? You can easily substitute cooking fresh chicken breast, with adding leftover grilled, roasted, or rotisserie chicken. 

FAQ:

How long can my Southwestern Cumin dressing keep in the fridge?

You can keep your homemade dressing in your refrigerator for 5-7 days, but in my experience, I can never have it last that long.

Can I use rotisserie chicken?

Rotisserie chicken is a great timesaver for this recipe – you can shred the chicken meat instead of dicing it.

picture of aspen village salad with lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, olives, cheese, pepperoni, avocado, and southwestern dressing in a bowl

What to serve with Aspen Village Salad and Southwestern Cumin Dressing

This salad is a delicious entree salad that is sure to fill up even the hungriest eaters.

Homemade bread makes a great partner with this salad, making sure you have something to mop up every last drop of the delicious dressing. My Best Easy No-Knead Bread is a great option if you’re not a fan of fussy preparation.

If you want a slightly more exotic bread, I’d highly recommend giving this Best Easy Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe a try.

If you want to get adventurous, you can also use the southwestern cumin dressing as a more flavorful substitute for sour cream on your tacos. It tastes amazing on my Fried Chicken Tacos or Vegan Cauliflower Tacos.

picture of aspen village salad with lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, olives, cheese, pepperoni, avocado, and southwestern dressing in a bowl

Aspen Village Salad with Southwestern Cumin Dressing

If you love this easy recipe please click the stars below to give it a five star rating and leave a comment! Pease also help me share on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Follow on Instagram

Follow
picture of aspen village salad with lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, olives, cheese, pepperoni, avocado, and southwestern dressing in a bowl

CONNECT WITH SWEET C’S!
Be sure to follow me on social media and get in on all the fun!

Only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table? Sign up for my 30 minute dinner plans direct to your inbox!
Find and shop my favorite products in my Amazon storefront here!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week – and be sure to tag @sweetcsdesigns on social media – I love to see your creations!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
picture of aspen chicken salad in a bowl
Print

Aspen Village Salad With Southwestern Cumin Dressing

Hearty, creamy, cool, crunchy chicken salad with southwestern cumin dressing.
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, pepperoni, salad, southwestern dressing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 571kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce washed and chopped
  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts roasted, and cut into chunks
  • 10 slices pepperoni cut into fourths
  • 6 oz Monterey Jack Cheese cut into cubes
  • 1 Avocado peeled and cubed
  • 8 oz mandarin oranges drained
  • 8 pitted ripe olives drained, and sliced
  • For the dressing:
  • ¼ Cup Sour Cream
  • ¼ Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Roasted Green Chile Sauce

Instructions

  • Cut and clean your romaine lettuce.
  • Poach your chicken breast in a pot of water on your stovetop. When the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165o, remove it from the water and set it aside to cool.
  • Open and drain the olives and the mandarins.
  • Cut up the salad ingredients. Cut the pepperoni slices into quarters. Cut the chicken breast, cheese, and avocado into cubes, and the olives into slivers. You can pull the mandarins in half with your fingers.
  • For the Southwestern Cumin Dressing
  • In a bowl combine the wet ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and green chili salsa
  • Add the dry ingredients (salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin) to the bowl with the wet ingredients. 
  • Whisk thoroughly to combine. Your goal is to thoroughly mix the sour cream and the mayo and the seasonings. The green chili salsa will provide some chunks of chili and tomato for texture.
  • To build the salad
  • Plate lettuce in the bottom of a salad bowl. Arrange the ingredients in rows on top of the lettuce like a cobb salad. 
  • Serve the salad with the dressing on the side. Keeping the dressing on the side allows your guest to use their preferred amount of dressing. By not dressing the salad it’s easier to refrigerate the leftovers with the dressing making the lettuce mushy. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 689mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 11g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

You May Also Like

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating