If you are looking for an opportunity to use all those vegetables in your garden (zucchini, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers) about now or sometime soon, this salad may be just the thing for you. You can use it as a side dish for a Mexican or Southwest type meal, or add some grilled chicken to make it a meal on its own. It is fresh and filling.
Southwest Chopped Salad
For the tortilla strips: Of course these are optional. You can crush up regular tortilla chips instead or omit this entirely. People have been big fans of the homemade tortilla strips, though.
- 6 six inch corn tortillas
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the dressing: I originally tried and really wanted to like a lime vinaigrette dressing that came with the salad recipe, but I did not like it very well. It didn’t have enough flavor and didn’t seem to “stick to” the salad very well; it was all pooled at the bottom of the bowl. I like the zip this yogurt-based dressing adds. This dressing also makes a great dip for tortilla chips.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I always use light Miracle Whip)
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning
- milk to thin the dressing (optional)
For the salad:
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 medium bell pepper (any color you prefer), diced in 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 medium red onion diced in 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 medium jicama, peeled and diced in 1/4 inch pieces (I usually omit this due to not finding it at the store)
- 1 medium zucchini, diced in 1/4 inch pieces
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced in 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- Optional: cooked, chopped chicken if you want to make this an entree salad
- For the tortilla chips: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stack corn tortillas and then cut them in half. Cut each half into 1/4 inch strips, running perpendicular to the first cut. Put strips in a bowl or on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle on the salt, and toss to coat. Spread into a single layer on the baking sheet and then bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Set aside to cool. (My pictures portray a double batch of strips.)
- For the dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and then chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. *This dressing is very thick. If you put it over the whole bowl of salad and toss, the dressing will thin out from the moisture of the vegetables and be fine. If you want a thinner dressing to better pour onto individual servings, add a little bit of milk to get to desired consistency.
- For the salad: Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to distribute the vegetables evenly. Either add the dressing to the bowl of salad and combine or add dressing to individual servings. (If you are not going to use all of the salad, and you put the dressing on it, it will not keep very well. It will get soggy. If you do not dress the salad, it will keep for a couple of days.) Top with tortilla strips.
*This salad can be served as a side dish with chicken taquitos or another favorite recipe, or you can add cooked, chopped chicken to it to make it a meal in itself. I used it as a side salad with taquitos for this meal.
Source: Dressing from http://www.greensnchocolate.com/2012/05/southwestern-chopped-chicken-salad/. Salad and tortilla strips from http://thecafesucrefarine.com/2014/05/mexican-chopped-salad/.