Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fiesta Salad

We recently got invited to dinner at a friends house and I asked if I could bring something.  Our hostess was making sour cream enchiladas (which were delicious by the way, recipe coming soon!), so I wanted to make something that would compliment the main course.  I thought a Mexican salad would be tasty and instead of the traditional "taco salad" I used a "Tex Mex" bowl that I had last weekend at a Chili's restaurant for inspiration for my salad. I combined lots of the same ingredients and flavors that I had enjoyed in the Tex Mex bowl minus the meat and rice and came up with a spicy flavorful salad that turned out great and I think everyone enjoyed.  If you want a great side to go along with a south of the boarder meal you might want to give this one a try... your taste buds just might have a party in your mouth!

Fiesta Salad
2 to 3 heads Romaine lettuce (washed and dried)
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
small can corn, drained
1 small container pico de gallo
1/2 English cucumber, chunks
2 avocados, sliced
cherry tomatoes
3/4 green onion chopped
fresh cilantro
crunchy tortilla strips for salads

Directions for Salad:  Finely chop romaine, pepper, tomatoes, and green onions, and cucumbers. Add corn, beans, and pico de gallo. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and a little cilantro, and crunch tortilla strips.  Arrange slices of avocados on top. Toss with desired dressing, or serve with dressing on the side for others to choose to their taste.

Good Dressing Choices 
Italian dressing
Southwest dressing
Homemade Creamy Cilantro/Avocado Dressing

Recipe for Homemade Cilantro/Avocado Dressing
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, regular plain yogurt or low fat sour cream
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime), more to taste

1 avocado
1/2  cup water
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp. cumin (optional)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. coarse pepper
1/2 Tbs. Agave (optional)

Directions: Puree all ingredients in a food processor/blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. The honey/agave takes the tartness from the Greek yogurt, or you can use regular yogurt or low fat sour cream I added more spices than the original recipe called for to kick it up a notch... taste as you create to get just the right amount of flavor.

Cooks Notes - With some of the left over salad, I made a tex mex bowl for lunch on the weekend.  We put some Mexican Rice on the bottom, the salad on top with some grilled steak (or chicken) on top and drizzled with the left over dressing... it was delicious and a great way to extend our left over salad into another complete meal!

Wash and dry several heads of Romaine lettuce and cut into bite sized pieces

Add corn, black beans, pico de gallo and chopped veggies

Crunch tortilla strips (if you can't find these broken up tortilla chips or 
Fritos would work)

Add Avocado slices, fresh cilantro and Mexican blend shredded cheese

To make dressing gather ingredients, fresh avocados, and lime, cilantro, seasonings, oil, yogurt/sour cream, agave

Mince cilantro in food processor

add all other ingredients and blend well

The dressing is super easy to make! Serve with the salad on the side!

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