When I had my cafe, we sold a lot of salads and the Tex Mex was one of the most popular. I still get requests for this salad recipe. Crisp romaine lettuce topped with quinoa, black beans, shredded cheese, grilled corn, pico de gallo, avocado, crispy corn tortilla strips and dressed with a light, flavourful cilantro cream dressing. This vegetarian salad is packed with protein, making it a great, complete meal.
You can add vegetables or leave things out, but don’t skip the pico de gallo. The pico mixes together with the dressing and reinforces the flavours. It’s a necessary component of this salad.
Tortilla strips are available in some grocery stores but are also easy to make. Heat about 1-inch of canola oil in a pot to 350°F / 175°C. Cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry in small batches until crisp and golden brown. This just takes a minute or so, so don’t walk away. Use a slotted spoon to lift the tortilla strips out of the oil and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with a little salt. And if you can’t find strips or don’t want to make them, break up some corn tortilla chips and use them.
Grilled corn is one of my favorite things to add to a salad and it works perfectly in this one. To grill the corn, remove all husks and silk from the corn cobs and wash well. Dry the cobs and brush lightly with oil. Grill on a barbeque or grill pan until the corn is lightly charred on all sides. Remove from the grill and let cool enough to handle, then carefully cut the kernels from the cobs. If corn isn’t in season or you don’t have a barbeque or grill pan, you can use frozen corn. Heat a non-stick saute pan over high heat and add a little oil. Add the frozen corn kernels and saute, stirring, until the corn has started to turn a golden brown. Remove from heat.
I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do and as much as my customers did!
Tex Mex Salad with Cilantro Cream Dressing
A fantastic salad made up of crisp lettuce, black beans, grilled sweet corn, tangy pico de gallo, shredded cheese, quinoa, crisp tortilla strips, creamy avocado and a creamy, tangy salad dresssing.
- Cilantro Cream Dressing
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (40 grams / 1 1/2 oz.)
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro – use leaves and tender stems (20 grams / 3/4 oz.)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeds and ribs removed (20 grams / 3/4 oz.)
- 1/2 roma tomato rougly chopped or 8 grape tomatoes (50 grams / 2 oz.)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried well and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 can black beans, rinced and drained
- 2 avocado, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup raw quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
- 1 batch pico de gallo
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese or mix of both
- grilled corn kernels from 2 cobs
- 2 cups crispy corn tortilla strips
- To make the dressing, put all of the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.) Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to let the dressing chill for at least half an hour before using, letting all the flavours meld.
- You can arrange everything in a large salad bowl, add dressing and toss together or set up individual salads for everybody. You can also set everything up as a salad bar with each componant in a bowl and let everybody take as much or as little of each item as they like.