Salads full of bright, fresh vegetables don’t need much help in the beauty department – but there’s something about laying out all of the components on a platter that adds a bit of elegance to the presentation.
This Southwest Chopped Salad Platter – kind of like an elevated taco salad – is nutrient-packed and very satiating. Definitely substantial enough to be a main dish. There’s nothing boring about this salad, with so many different flavors and textures complimenting each other. And the “chopped” preparation lets you fit lots of those different components into a single bite. Also, unlike some salads, it’s also REALLY good leftover the next day!
Two quick notes on the ingredients:
– The corn, sweet potatoes and “meat” can be served warm on the salad, or at room temp or chilled – whatever you prefer.
– I’ve been trying and testing different store-bought meat replacements to know what to reach for when the mood strikes and what to recommend when asked what brand/type I like best. Typically, I’m not a huge mock-meat fan (I do not put straight up tempeh, which is my favorite, or tofu into that category, as those are “whole” foods unto themselves and not transformed to be like something else) – but there are a few exceptions that I think are fun to enjoy once in a while. My biggest conditions are that it be non-GMO and/or organic, and as minimally processed as possible. Having tried many, many varieties – Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican is a pretty stellar ground beef/turkey replacement. It’s already a bit seasoned, but you can doctor it up more yourself (as I did). The texture is great – not mushy blobs, as some similar products tend to be. Definitely recommend this one!
Recipe: Southwest Chopped Salad Platter (makes about 4 servings as a main dish)
What You Need (approximations!):
- 5 large handfuls/cups of greens (try and mixed baby greens blend of kale, spinach and chard), chopped
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 large or 2 small avocados
- 2 cups sweet corn (ideally fresh or frozen)
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- Optional: 1 package of Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican (can omit, or replace with tempeh or something else you prefer!)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 limes
- fresh cilantro
- chipotle pepper (dried/ground for seasoning)
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp Vegenaise (vegan mayo)
What You Do
- Note: If arranging ingredients on a platter like in the photo, simply place into piles or rows. Otherwise, just toss it all into a bowl!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- While the oven is preheating, prepare the vinaigrette. Combine about 1/2 clove of minced garlic, a few shakes of chipotle pepper, a small pinch of salt, a bit of ground black pepper, the honey, the mayo, about 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 of the limes in a small bowl. Mix. Then, whisk in the olive oil. Cover and set aside.
- Toss the diced sweet potato with the coconut oil and about 1 clove of the garlic. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake until tender and browning (about 20 minutes or so).
- Heat the corn in a skillet over med/high (add a drop of oil if needed/desired), stirring to warm through. Season with chipotle pepper to taste. A few good shakes should do the trick.
- Heat whatever meat replacement you’re using (if using) according to the instructions on the box. I heated the Lightlife Mexican Smart Grounds with 1-2 tsp olive oil over medium heat, along with one clove of minced garlic and the minced shallot.
- Arrange each ingredient on a platter or toss all into a large bowl. Sprinkle some cilantro over the top. Serve the dressing on the side!