Thursday, September 29, 2011

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro & Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

This salad is hearty and colorful and its a snap to make if you already have a batch of my Roasted Corn Salsa whipped up. 


For the dressing, chop up your jalapenos and cilantro before adding them to the other ingredients. Then use an immersion blender or regular blender to liquefy it completely. I was surprised at how easy it was to get it perfectly smooth. After you have blended it, it will be very thin. Once you let it sit for a few minutes it will start thickening up again. So before you drizzle it over a salad, be sure to whisk it a little so i twill re-liqueify in texture. 

Also, this does taste similar to the dressing at Cafe Rio or if you are familiar with the restuarant Chuy's this is similar to their jalapeno ranch. The dressing has a great light and fresh flavor because of all the fresh green cilantro in it.
The recipe below calls for 2 jalapenos which gives it a very slight heat. If you want to taste more heat I would recommend using 4 jalapenos.


Add whichever of the ingreidents you have around, preferably all and toss with some beautiful romaine lettuce. I used my salsa, colby jack cheese, and finished it with crushed up tortilla chips. Be sure to wait until the last minute to add the tortilla chips so they don't get soggy! This salad was a side dish but to make it a meal just add some grilled chicken on top and voila!

Of course, if you don't want to make the Roasted Corn Salsa all the way you could just throw a can of black beans, corn, 2 tomatoes along with some chopped red onion and cilantro and it would still turn out pretty good. But this was divine with the pre marinated salsa. 


Cilantro & Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
The Apron Gal

Ingredients
2-4 Jalapenos [2 for mild, 4 for medium heat], 
3/4 cup cilantro
1 cup milk
1 cup mayo
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix

Directions

Deseed jalapenos and chop. Chop cilantro. Mix chopped jalapenos and cilantro with remaining ingredients. Puree until liquid using immersion blender or stand blender. Chill before serving. 

Southwest Salad
The Apron Gal
Serves 8 as a side or 4 as a main course
Ingredients 
1 large head romaine lettuce
1 batch Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa or 1 can corn, 1/2 can black beans, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup red onion, 2 tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Tortilla chips
Grilled chicken [optional]

1 batch Cilantro & Jalapeno Ranch Dressing [see recipe above]

Directions
Wash and tear romaine. Make Roasted Corn salsa or chop substitute ingredients and toss with romaine. Add shredded cheese and toss with Cilantro & Jalapeno Ranch dressing and crushed tortilla chips. Add grilled chicken if desired.

Enjoy!

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