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Chopped Southwest Salad with Cilantro-Lime Ranch

Andria
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Southwest Chopped Salad

Crunchy lettuce, sweet corn and tomatoes, creamy avocado, and salty cotija cheese come together with grilled chicken under the Cilantro-Lime Ranch umbrella, then they get sprinkled with some salty-crunchy-roasty pepitas, and you’ve got a salad that will make everyone happy.

While we are still smack dab in the middle of corn and tomato season here in Houston, we also are going back to school, and watching college football, and hoping for a little change in season. So I thought we could make something this week that takes advantage of the corn and tomatoes, but also feels a tiny bit less like summer, and a tiny bit more like summer-fall. 

Chopped Southwest Salad with Cilantro-Lime Ranch would be yummy in any season. The homemade ranch is spiced up with some fresh, minced jalapeño, which makes for a salad at the kitchen table that feels like you might have ordered it at your favorite Tex-Mex spot. Only this way, having the salad at home, you get to have the enchiladas at the restaurant. 

But back to Southwest Salad. Crunchy lettuce, sweet corn and tomatoes, creamy avocado, and salty cotija cheese come together with grilled chicken under the Cilantro-Lime Ranch umbrella, then they get sprinkled with some salty-crunchy-roasty pepitas, and you’ve got a salad that will make everyone happy. Spring, summer, winter, or fall.

Chopped Southwest Salad with Cilantro-Lime Ranch

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 large lime
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped grilled or rotisserie chicken
2 ears corn, corn cut from the cob
1 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped
½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
¼ cup roasted, salted pepitas

Make the dressing first. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, dill, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Layer the lettuce, scallions, chicken, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese in a large bowl. Pour about half the dressing over, and toss. Adjust the amount of dressing to your taste; you will have some leftover, which you can refrigerate for another time. Sprinkle with pepitas just before serving.

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