When summer approaches, I crave refreshing salads. Chopped southwest salad, for instance, is one of my favorite salad recipes. Of course, my chopped southwest salad is vegan, full of vibrant vegetables and the tastes of the southwest. In order to ‘veganize’ a typical southwest salad, and make it oil-free, I used the freshest ingredients, as well as provide two options for delicious southwest dressing recipes.
So, let’s make a fabulous chopped southwest salad full of veggies, beans, and everything nice!
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHOPPED SALAD AND A REGULAR SALAD?
There’s no denying the fact that people get bored with salads. No matter how many combinations of greens, toppings, and dressing, a healthy salad competes with, well, everything else. But since we need to eat our veggies, I’m thankful for chopped salads to help mix things up.
Chopped salads are just like regular salads, only with a different presentation; the ingredients are chopped, greens and all, and incorporated together instead of layered. Although this detail may not sound important, chopped salads taste better.
Because chopped salads cost a small fortune at salad shops, why not save some money and make your own?
Chopped southwest salad, for example, just tastes better chopped!
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE A VEGAN CHOPPED SOUTHWEST SALAD?
- Romaine lettuce
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper
- Grilled corn on the cob (canned or frozen corn can be used as well)
- Black Beans
- Chopped Avocado
- Air-fried oil-free tortilla strips
Because I prefer to meal plan, I grilled additional corn on the cob for another meal during the week. Then, when the corn was cool, I cut it from the cob in order to use it in the chopped southwest salad later. However, canned or frozen corn can be used in place of the grilled corn, but I love the taste of grilled corn.
MY GRILLED CORN SECRETS REVEALED…
First, I love to marinate my corn on the corn. Although this might sound odd, marinating corn provides deep flavors. Similar to my Mexican Street Corn, I marinated the corn with fresh cilantro, lime juice, garlic and a little hot sauce overnight.
Once the corn is marinated, prepare the grill by preheating it to 500 degrees. Although most recipes for grilled corn suggest leaving on the husks, you have marinated the corn, which prevents it from drying out. On the other hand, taking the husks off, also give the ears of corn beautiful charred grill marks.
Place the corn on a hot grill, because you don’t want the grill to heat up while the corn is on the grill. If you don’t have a temperature gauge, a quick tip is to wait about 10 minutes to preheat the grill.
Then, cover the grill, turning the corn occasionally, about 15 minutes, rotating to make sure all sides of the corn are grilled.
Furthermore, grilling the corn gives it an added richness, and a little charring helps elevate the flavors.
I also made the air-fried tortilla strips I use in my Vegan Tortilla Soup recipe.
MAKING QUICK AND EASY NO-OIL TORTILLA STRIPS FOR A SALAD TOPPER
Even though tortilla chips are usually used in and on top of the chopped southwest salad, I wanted to make them oil-free. Again, oil-free tortilla strips can be made ahead of time in the air-fryer. For my Vegan Tortilla Soup, I used corn tortillas, which are gluten-free. For my chopped southwest salad, though, I decided to use flour tortillas. Regardless of your tortilla choice, they cook the exact same way, crispy, delicious, and oil-free.
To begin, I chose flour tortillas, and using a pizza cutter, I cut the tortilla into thin strips. Then, I added the cut tortillas into a bowl and tossed them in lime juice, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder. The key is to toss in the lime juice, wetting the tortillas, so the seasoning will stick.
Once seasoned, I add to the basket of my air-fryer, and cook at 370 degrees for 10 minutes, tossing once at the 5 minutes mark.
OTHER POSSIBLE TOPPINGS FOR CHOPPED SOUTHWEST SALAD RECIPE
Recently, I reviewed Alpha Strips Grilled Chik’n Strips, which my boys loved! Since southwest salads usually include chicken, these faux chicken strips are an option.
Another idea is to include your favorite grilled tofu recipe for added protein. BBQ Tofu, for instance, would be a perfect topping for chopped southwest salad.
TWO DIFFERENT DRESSING OPTIONS FOR CHOPPED SOUTHWEST SALAD RECIPE
Salad dressing, for instance, makes or breaks a salad in my option. Because some people don’t like to use nuts in cooking, I provide different southwest dressing I love.
First, my vegan southwest dressing is a perfect option, and easy to make.
SOUTHWEST DRESSING (SIMPLE AND EASY)
- Raw cashews
- Fresh salsa (your favorite salsa)
- Lime juice
Or, I love my nut-free avocado cilantro dressing from my Vegan Coleslaw with Avocado-Cilantro Dressing.
AVOCADO CILANTRO DRESSING
- Lime, juiced and zested
- Apple cider vinegar
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Both dressing options, however, are simple to make, and only require a high-speed blender. Then, you just need to decide what flavor you are feeling. My husband, who likes both, used a combination of both dressings on his salad. I, on the other hand, chose the southwest dressing, because it was new, and I have to make sure it’s good before I can suggest you try it.
Furthermore, I plan to serve my Vegan Oil-Free Cornbread Recipe as a side and serve the chopped southwest salad as an entree.
CHOPPING AND PREPARING CHOPPED SOUTHWEST SALAD RECIPE
One of my favorite kitchen tools, my Pro Vegetable Chopper saves me a ton of time in the kitchen. As a result, chopping vegetables for a variety of recipes takes minutes instead of hours. For the chopped southwest salad, for instance, I used the larger chopping blade to chop my onions, cucumber, and red bell pepper. Then, I used the small blade to chop the jalapeno.
As a result, I made the entire salad in the time it took to cook the tortilla strips in the air-frier. Even though chopped southwest salad is for tonight’s dinner, the salad can all be made ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The southwest dressing, however, should not be tossed with the salad until you are ready to serve.
SALAD LOVERS, HERE ARE SOME SALAD IDEAS TO INCREASE YOUR GREENS
- Antipasto Salad
- Asparagus Salad
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- Spinach Pasta Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Salad
- Spinach Strawberry Salad
- Tabouli Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Vegan Taco Salad
- Vegan Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Greek Salad with OMG Oil-Free Dressing