Our Mexican food fest continues. This Mexican Chopped Salad will be the perfect light accompaniment to the Smoky Chipotle Nachos and other richer dishes we’ll be serving at my husband’s little birthday soirée this weekend.
With food, little details can make a big difference. For example, I think ice-cream tastes better out of the carton than in a bowl. Certain drinks are better with a straw, and there’s no arguing that rice that sticks to the sides of the pan really is better than the rest. Finally, chopping your salad ingredients (all approximately the same size) makes for a very different salad. Just ask my friend Billy. He’s a chopped salad connoisseur. Really! He says, “Everything should fit on the fork. A little bit of every ingredient at once — that’s the beauty of it.” (Billy requests that all his salads be chopped at restaurants — even if they aren’t meant to be. I love it!)
Okay, to toot my own horn a little, this salad is really fantastic! (Truth is, I wouldn’t share a recipe that I don’t think is fantastic.) And I must say, this dressing might be the best I’ve ever created. You’ve probably noticed by now how much I love smoky, spicy, sweet combinations!
- ½ cup hulled, raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
- 2 teaspoons finely minced chipotles in adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups packed, roughly chopped arugula or mixed baby greens (or a combination of both)
- ½ cup roughly chopped, cilantro leaves
- 1-1/2 cups chopped jicama
- 1-1/2 cups chopped tomato, seeds removed
- 1-1/2 cups chopped, ripe avocado
- 1 cup chopped roasted, peeled and seeded poblano chili peppers (about 2 medium-sized peppers -- learn how to roast them here)
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup grated Manchego cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pepitas with the oil and honey. Once they are well-coated, add the spices and salt and stir to blend. Spread the pepitas on the foil-lined baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven until they begin to brown and are very aromatic, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the lime juice with the chiptoles, honey, cumin, and salt. Gradually whisk in the oil and set aside.
- In a large mixing or serving bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cheese. Just before serving, add the cheese, spiced pepitas and the dressing. Toss to combine.
My favorite way to make salad dressing is in a jar. Simply add all of the ingredients at once, put the lid on, and shake!
The pepitas are great mixed in, but I also save a small handful to sprinkle on top. They're nice just to have on hand, too -- they make a delicious snack! (So whatever you do, do not throw away your pumpkin seeds this Halloween!)
I love using arugula -- it has a sharp peppery flavor!