Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to enjoy a refreshing and flavorful salad. Among the most popular options for a summer salad is the Southwest Salad. This salad is packed with flavor, color, and texture, making it the perfect option for a light and healthy lunch or dinner. In this article, we will explore how to make your own Southwest Salad and also how to veganize it to make it even healthier.
Chopping up a Summer Favorite: The Southwest Salad
A Southwest Salad is a great option for a summer salad as it is light, fresh, and packed with flavor. The salad typically includes ingredients like lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers, all of which are in season during the summer months. The salad is usually topped with a Southwest-style dressing, which adds a tangy and slightly spicy flavor to the dish. Those who want to make their own Southwest salad can begin by slicing the necessary ingredients. Utilize a knife to chop your lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and avocado.
A Healthier Southwest Salad: Chopped and Vegan
A Southwest Salad can be a healthy option, but if you are looking to make it even healthier, you can veganize it by using plant-based ingredients. This means replacing the traditional toppings like chicken or cheese with plant-based alternatives. For example, you can replace the chicken with grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. You can also replace the cheese with chopped avocado or cashew cream. To veganize the salad, you will also need to replace the traditional dressing with a plant-based option like a Southwest-style vinaigrette.
Grilled Corn and Black Beans: The Star Ingredients in a Chopped Southwest Salad
One of the star ingredients in a Southwest Salad is grilled corn. Grilled corn adds a sweet and smoky flavor to the salad and pairs perfectly with the other ingredients. To grill the corn, you can use fresh or canned/frozen corn on the cob and grilled with some oil and a pinch of salt. Another key ingredient in a Southwest Salad is black beans. Black beans add a meaty texture to the salad and are packed with protein and fiber. You can use canned or cooked black beans.
Dressing up a Chopped Southwest Salad: Two Options for Flavor
When it comes to dressing up a Southwest Salad, you have two options: a Southwest-style dressing or a vinaigrette. The Southwest-style dressing is usually a creamy dressing that is made with sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, and spices like cumin and chili powder. The vinaigrette is a lighter option, made with oil, vinegar, lime juice, and spices like cumin and chili powder. Both dressings are delicious and add a tangy and slightly spicy flavor to the salad.
How to Make Your Own Chopped Southwest Salad
The following items are required to create your own Southwest Salad at home:
- Romaine lettuce
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper
- Jalapeno pepper
- Chopped avocado
- Tri-colored grape tomatoes
- Grilled corn
- Black beans
Here’s how to make it:
- First, get out a big salad bowl and toss some chopped romaine lettuce in it.
- Add in your chopped red onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, chopped avocado, and tri-colored grape tomatoes.
- Add in your grilled corn and black beans.
- Top with your desired dressing and toss everything together.
A Sturdy and Crisp Base: Romaine Lettuce in a Chopped Southwest Salad
Romaine lettuce is the perfect base for a Southwest Salad. Its sturdy leaves can endure the weight of the ingredients and the dressing, making it less likely to wilt. The crisp texture of romaine lettuce also adds a refreshing crunch to the salad.
Adding a Little Spice: Jalapeno Peppers in a Southwest Salad
Jalapeno peppers add a nice touch of heat to a Southwest Salad. The heat level of jalapeno peppers can vary, so it’s a good idea to taste a small piece before adding it to your salad. Seeds and ribs can be removed from the pepper before cutting for a less fiery salad.
Avoiding a Soggy Salad: How to Make Perfect Air Fryer Tortilla Strips
One way to add a little extra crunch to a Southwest Salad is by adding tortilla strips. If you want to make the best tortilla strips for your air fryer, you should begin by chopping corn tortillas into thin strips. Then, before putting them in the air fryer, lightly coat them with cooking spray and season with salt and any other desired spices. Cook it for 3-4 minutes at 375F, or until crispy. Be sure to keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.