Good friends are like good recipes: they always come through for you when you need them.
Shortly after we returned home from the hospital with new baby Sophie, my good friend and neighbor Monica showed up at our door with a big bowl of Mexican chopped salad. I didn’t think I was craving salad, but we devoured every last citrusy drop. I think I even licked the bowl. Somehow Monica knew just what I needed without having to ask. Maybe it’s because we’re both from Seattle, and both get a little giddy when the usually-sunny skies over New Jersey turn gray and overcast. “Seattle day,” we’ll cheer in accord.
This Mexican chopped salad is similar to Monica’s version, which is similar to one I found on epicurious.com (originally from Self). Clearly there are a lot of versions of Mexican chopped salad out there, and for good reason: it’s a healthful, crowd-pleasing meal-in-one. Monica’s recipe calls for chopped jicama (a crunchy vegetable kind of like a potato); I’m all for jicama, but I think the salad’s just as good without it. Plus, that’s one less thing to buy, peel and chop. I also omit the radishes and add crushed tortilla chips for crunch.
Finally, I took a shortcut with the tangy honey-lime dressing – using an immersion blender to purée the cilantro together with the other ingredients in one quick zip. If you don’t want to use a blender, just chop the cilantro and whisk it into the other ingredients. Toss in some grilled Garlic-Lime Chicken and you’ve got a perfect sunny day – or Seattle day – meal.
Mexican Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Adapted from Self, July 2003
Makes 4-6 servings
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from approx. 2 limes)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 handful fresh cilantro (approx. ½ cup)
- 1-2 pickled jalapeño slices, minced (optional, for heat)
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed but not cooked
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- Sliced or diced grilled chicken, or leftover rotisserie chicken (optional)
Add all ingredients to a beaker or Pyrex measuring cup and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, use a food processor or finely chop cilantro and whisk into other ingredients.)
Place all ingredients except tortilla chips in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Toss in crushed tortilla chips right before serving.