Tuesday, July 31, 2012

vegetarian southwestern salad with easy taco ranch dressing

doesn't that salad look colorful, healthy and scrumptious? don't you want it on your plate, like, now?

we can make that happen!

this salad starts with a base of rinsed and drained black beans, diced up red bell pepper, a heaping handful of cilantro, and some corn straight off the cob and then slightly charred. this base can be used for so many different dishes- in a cheese quesadilla. add tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno and lime juice and it would be a bright and fresh salsa. as the base for a taco salad with some grilled chicken. heaped on a little brown rice, topped with avocado and salsa. so many options! whip up double a batch and it can feed you and your family for the week.

put a few scoops of this mixture on top of some romaine and green leaf lettuce (we like the mix of these two), add avocado and drizzle with this quick 'n easy taco ranch dressing.  sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips and a little monterey jack cheese and you will have one happy belly.

vegetarian southwestern salad
serves 6

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow and/or orange bell pepper, diced
4 cobs of corn, boiled for 5 minutes, then cooled slightly, kernals sliced off the cob
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, diced
1/2 head romaine + 1/2 head green leaf lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup shredded monterey jack
crushed tortilla chips

taco ranch dressing

2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup mayonnaise or plain greek yogurt
4 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp lime juice (maybe more)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

mix up the dressing ingredients with a whisk, cover, then put in fridge for at least 3 hours, best overnight. after the 3 hours or overnight, mix well and taste. add more lime juice or cilantro, as desired.

put a skillet (i love cast iron for this) on medium heat with 1 tsp olive oil inside. add the corn and cook, stirring a couple times, until slightly charred in places, about 6 minutes. mix with the beans, cilantro and peppers for the base.

let everyone make their own salads so they can choose how much of the toppings they would like. drizzle with that yummy dressing, top with cheese and crushed chips.


***if you want to save yourself a little work and speed up getting dinner on the table, feel free to use canned (rinsed and drained) or frozen (and thawed) corn. i adore trader joe's frozen organic corn. it tastes like summer.***

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