Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Southwest-Style Salad with a Sweet and Smoky Chipotle Vinaigrette

Our recreation of Chipotle over the weekend gave me the idea of recreating a dish from another fast-casual restaurant: Chop't.  The result: Southwest-Style Salad with a Sweet and Smoky Chipotle Vinaigrette.

Salad, undressed.

Southwest-Style Salad with a Sweet and Smoky Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 small bag frozen corn
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • 2 avocados, peeled and diced
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 - 6 ounce container French fried onions
Chipotle Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 - 7 ounce can chiles chipotles adobados (AKA chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)

First, toast the corn for the salad.  Pour to corn into a skillet and heat over high heat.  Stir the corn occasionally until it becomes toasty golden brown. 

Next, prepare the salad.  Toss together all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. 

Finally, prepare the salad dressing.  In a food processor or blender, combine the honey, vinegar, mustard, and chiles on high speed until smooth. 

Top the salad with dressing and enjoy.  Serves 6-8 people.

I'm really pleased with how this salad came out.  It's full of tasty ingredients that are filling, yet light.  Rachel liked the salad "a lot" and especially enjoyed the "interesting interplay of textures."  The dressing was also a hit: the honey and peppers create a uniquely rich, smoky flavor that's both spicy and sweet.  Simon thought "it tasted like salad" and his favorite part was the French fried onions.
This is definitely a summertime dish. 
 Ease of Preparation:     
This salad is really quick and easy to make.  It takes about 15 minutes! 
Non-vegan friendliness:    
I think this is an incredible salad.  Simon and Rachel both added shredded cheese on top.  Simon wasn't convinced that it's an adequate main dish, but Rachel and I couldn't disagree more. 

* A note about honey:  I eat honey.  It is technically an animal product, meaning I wouldn't eat it as a vegan; however, as a discerning vegan, I only reject foods that I have a reason to reject.  I eat honey because, unlike other animal products, I don't know any reason not to eat it.**

** If you don't eat honey, let me know why!

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