Oh, all right. I know what everyone’s thinking. “Another salad recipe? Isn’t this the woman who HATES raw leafy greens?”
Yes, I AM the woman who hates raw leafy greens.
I’m also the woman who has decided to experiment with raw vegan for a few months. (Don’t panic, gentle readers … I’m not going totally raw, so there will still be lots of cooked recipes.) But if you know anything at all about raw vegan, you know raw leafy greens are the “base” of the raw foods pyramid, with some experts recommending you eat as much as a POUND of raw leafy greens each day! A meal-sized salad should include two cups of leafy greens – regardless of whatever else you top it with.
So, if I find ways to choke all those leaves down and actually sorta enjoy it, I’m gonna share.
I already shared my go-to California Salad recipe. But very quickly into my raw experiment, I realized I needed to add cooked beans back into my diet. I started adding them to salads, and this recipe, with beans and corn and onions and tomatoes and avocado, naturally developed. It’s a more elegant, adult, nutritious version of the perennial taco salad. The finishing touch is a spicy avocado dressing – what can be yummier than avocado dressing over avocados?
Ingredients for Cinco De Mayo Salad:
2 Cups Chopped Romaine or Spring Mix
1/2 Cup Pinto or Black Beans (about half a can)
Kernels cut from 1 Ear of corn, or 1/3 – 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn, thawed
1/2 Avocado, sliced
Large Handful Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (6-8), halved
1/4 Cup Chopped Sweet or Red Onion
1/2 Cucumber, cut into half moons and then quarters
Black Olives, to taste
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Pickled Jalapeno Slices (optional)
Microgreens or Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Other Optional Veggies: Sliced Radish, sliced or diced Jicama
Ingredients for Spicy Avocado Dressing:
1 Roma Tomato
Juice from 1/2 Small Lemon or Lime
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/8 – 1/4+ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Water, as needed
1/4 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste
Template for Cinco De Mayo Salad:
Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend. The mixture will be quite thick. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you get your desired consistency. I like to keep it relatively thick and creamy, almost more like a pasta sauce than a runny dressing. Taste, do you need more salt, cayenne, or lemon/lime juice?
If you like it spicy, you could also blend in some jalapeno pepper instead of cayenne. Taste your pepper first – jalapenos range from mild as a bell pepper to fiery! And go slowly – you can always add more pepper later, but you can’t take it out. Remember, though, the creaminess of the avocado significantly tones down the heat!
Now, make the salad.
Add two cups of leafy greens to a large salad bowl.
Scatter the beans over the salad. (Tip: Try warming them gently in a saucepan on the stove, with a little garlic salt and a pinch of cumin.)
Add the onion, cucumber, and radish or jicama, if using.
Toss the halved cherry/grape tomatoes on top. Add the avocado slices anywhere there’s room.
Add black olives (as few or as many as you’d like) and pickled jalapeno slices.
Sprinkle corn over it all.
Add the dressing. I’ll be honest, the dressing is not the most appetizing looking dressing in the world – but trust me, it tastes good! To up the visual appeal, scatter some microgreens (super-healthy for you) or cilantro across the top.
Final step – sit back and enjoy this healthy, elegant, adult version of Mexican salad!