This Mexican Chopped Salad might just be the freshest, healthiest, most delicious salad you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting!
We’ve been spending a bit of time dusting off some recipe posts that have been super popular with our readers over the past 6 years. Some of them need new photos, as we didn’t know a thing about food photography when we started this blogging venture. Others just need a bit of sprucing up. With over 900 recipes in the Café arsenal, many have gotten lost in the deep, dark archives. We shared this Mexican Chopped Salad almost 3 years ago, to the day. It’s way too good to be forgotten and I thought it would be perfect for all those fun, summer picnics, parties and potlucks you might have coming up! Enjoy!
This might seem a little strange, but it makes me really happy to come home from the grocery store or farmer’s market loaded down with all sorts of beautiful, fresh produce. And if I find it for a super duper price, well, let’s just say I’m like a little pig in mud.
I always have fun deciding what to do with my stash of fresh goodies. I’ve been thinking about a Mexican Chopped Salad for a while now, and when I found tiny sweet peppers, red onions, fresh succulent corn and zucchini all on sale this week, I did a little happy dance, knowing it was time to make that south of the border salad happen. I just needed to find one more item; the item that could very likely could win “the ugliest member of the produce aisle” award. Can you guess what i might be?
One small jicama (pronounced hē-kə-mə) is what I needed to complete my salad. Jicama is often used in South American cooking. The plant is native to Mexico and jicama is used commonly there in all kinds of dishes. I love to use it in salsas and salads as it gives a lovely, slightly sweet crunch, and doesn’t loose it’s crispness over time.
If you’ve never used jicama before, don’t be surprised when you finally find it looking like a speckly, brown, misshapen potato. There’s lots of goodness hiding under that humble surface. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, potassium, iron and vitamin C. I would describe the taste and texture as a cross between a Asian pear, a potato and an apple. Pick one up next time you’re at the grocery, you may discover a new friend as jicama is not only wonderful diced in salads, but can also be cut in sticks and eaten with dips like hummus and dips.
Back to my Mexican Chopped Salad. It’s the kind of salad I can never get enough of; fresh, vibrantly colored, loaded with flavor. Eating it, makes me feel energetic and healthy. The dressing is light and bright, with just a few ingredients; fresh lime juice, honey, a clove of garlic and a splash of oil. A pinch of cumin along with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper finish it off perfectly. I love simple recipes like this.
If you like a little crunch in your salad, like we do, be sure to pick up a package of corn tortillas. That’s what you’ll use to make the crispy topping for this wonderful salad. Just slice them up, drizzle with a bit of oil and pop the pan in the oven till they’re gloriously golden brown; a perfect complement.
Okay, and one little secret I have to share. See how all the veggies are chopped perfectly to the same size. That’s not me. Nope, if I was doing the chopping, they’d be all random sizes. I have this Vidalia Chop Wizard that I’d have a hard time managing without. When I want to make a pot of soup or a salad with lots of chopped veggies in a hurry, I just pull out this little magic chopper and 1-2-3 I’m done!
What to serve this Mexican Chopped Salad with:
- Perfect with any Mexican entree; tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, etc
- Delicious spooned on top of nachos.
- Serve it with chips (just omit the lettuce).
- Delicious with grilled chicken, seafood, pork or beef.
- A wonderful side to serve with burgers.
- Ideal for potlucks and picnics.
If you’re craving fresh and delicious, be sure to add these ingredients to your grocery list. Make this Mexican Chopped Salad and enjoy it for dinner along with some grilled chicken, pork or seafood. Then pack it up for lunch the next day, as it keeps quite well. Just a warning though; all your co-workers will be drooling over your delicious, brightly colored lunch. Enjoy!
Café Tips for Making this Mexican Chopped Salad…
- This video demonstrates the microwave corn technique. It’s really quite amazing. The corn husks and silks just pull away. The corn is clean and just slightly cooked, perfect for salads like this.
- For a pretty presentation, try to chop all the ingredients about the same size.
- Although fresh corn is ideal in this salad, you can substitute frozen corn when fresh is not available.
P.S. Do you love South-of-the-Border cuisine? Be sure to check out our Homemade Flour Tortillas. We’ve gotten over 800 comments from cooks all over the world who have fallen in love with these easy tortillas!
This Mexican Chopped Salad might just be the freshest, healthiest, most delicious salad you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. And it’s loaded with fabulous Southwestern flavor!
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- taste and add salt if needed
- 6 6- inch corn tortillas
- 1 ½ tablespoons canola oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce chopped in approximately 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 medium bell pepper diced in 1/4-inch pieces**, any color (I used orange)
- ½ medium red onion diced in 1/4-inch pieces**
- ½ medium jicama peeled and diced in 1/4-inch pieces**
- 1 medium zucchini diced in 1/4-inch dice**
- 4 medium tomatoes seeded and diced into 1/4-inch dice**
- 4 ears corn if fresh corn is not in season, substitute 1 1/2 cups of sweet, tiny frozen corn
- 1 1/2 cups canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro plus whole cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired
For the dressing, combine lime juice, honey, cumin garlic and salt.
- In a slow, steady stream, add the oils, stirring continuously with a fork or small whisk.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
For the corn tortilla strips, preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Stack corn tortillas on a cutting board. Cut in half. Cut each stack of halves into thin strips, widthwise, about 1/4-inch thick.
- Transfer tortilla strips to a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.
For the salad, place corn, two ears at a time, in the microwave and cook for 3 1/2 minutes.
- Remove from microwave with a hot pad and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- After cooling, cut bottom end of corn off, about 1 1/2 inches from end. Pull back husk and silks (almost all of the silk should easily pull away). Cut kernels from husks and set aside.
- Combine corn and other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add dressing and stir to coat all ingredients. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.
- Serve with tortilla strips on top or place a bowl on the side and let guests help themselves.
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