Mexican Chopped Salad Recipe with Spiced Pepitas and Honey-Chipotle Lime Dressing

Mexican Chopped SaladOur 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!)

Mexican Chopped SaladOkay, 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!

Mexican Chopped Salad

Mexican Chopped Salad Recipe with Spiced Pepitas and Honey-Chipotle Lime Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6 to 8
For the spiced pepitas:
  • 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
For the dressing:
  • 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
For the salad (everything "chopped," should be cut into about ¼ to ½-inch dice):
  • 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
For the spiced pepitas:
  1. 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.
For the dressing:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lime juice with the chiptoles, honey, cumin, and salt. Gradually whisk in the oil and set aside.
For the salad:
  1. 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.
The dressing recipe here may make a bit more than you'll need -- dress the salad to your taste.

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!



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  1. Billy says

    Please allow me to join in the horn tooting…EVERYTHING you make is FANTASTIC!!! and I’m looking forward to this chopped masterpiece for the party!!!

  2. Andy says

    The dressing is amazing. I ended up almost doubling everything but the olive oil as the oil seemed to overwhelm everything else the first go-around. I added mango to the salad, and it was great. I was trying to recreate a salad I had once at Frontera Grill. This wasn’t it, exactly, but it was really tasty!

    • valentina says

      Andy, that’s awesome! Love that you added mango — they are so delicious right now! Cheers! 🙂

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