Mexican Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

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Good friends are like good recipes: they always come through for you when you need them.

keith sophie

3-day-old Sophie in our old kitchen (Dec. 2004)

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. 

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With Monica in New Jersey

 

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

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

  • 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)

Salad

  • 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)

Make dressing:

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.)

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I throw in one slice of pickled jalapeno (put up from last summer’s garden) for a little extra spice.

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An immersion blender makes quick work of chopping cilantro (use stems as well as leaves).

Make salad:

Place all ingredients except tortilla chips in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Toss in crushed tortilla chips right before serving.

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My favorite tortilla chips: extra thin and crispy.

My favorite tortilla chips: extra thin and crispy.

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4 thoughts on “Mexican Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

  1. Pingback: Time for Fiesta! | Subee's Kitchen

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