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Layered Tex-Mex Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

April 08, 2009 By: kristi Category: Main Dish, Salad, Sauce, Side Dish

tex-mex-salad

Please pardon the horrible picture with the enormous shadow.  It was pretty late at night, and the lighting was non-existent.

Omigosh, this salad was SOOOO good.  My favorite part is the Creamy Cilantro Dressing.  I used fresh limes, and it is absolutely divine.  I’m typically a ranch girl, but this dressing has swayed me away from ranch.

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Another not so pretty picture, but it’s so delicious that I want to lick my computer screen!

This salad is really fun because I used a glass trifle dish to expose all the colorful layers of the salad.  It’s perfect for a small gathering of friends and family.  This baby makes you look like you know what you’re doing, and it’s so simple.

Aside from the fact that it is quite tasty and presentable, there are a few changes that I will definitely be making.   There was simply not enough lettuce.  I felt like I was eating a cheese salad.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love cheese, but I need some other flavors and textures incorporated in there.  Next time I’m going to add an additional layer of lettuce after the first layer of cheese.

Secondly, inasmuch as the cornbread croutons look amazing nestled on top of the salad, there were simply too many of them!   My plate was full of cornbread and I had to put them back in the trifle dish.  It’s a shame because that’s what really makes the salad look beautiful.  I say either bake half of the amount of cornbread mix the recipe calls for or just bake all of the mix, put half on the salad, and serve slices on the side as well.

With minor alterations, this salad is extraordinary!  It’s fresh, vibrant, and oh so yummy.

Layered Tex-Mex Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

Source: Cooking for Real by Sunny Anderson

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Butter, for preparing 8 by 8-inch glass pan
1 (8.5-ounce) box cornbread mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 packet sazon seasoning (It’s made by Goya, but 1-2 tsp. ground coriander and 1-2 tsp. cumin work well if you don’t have sazon.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup salsa
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into strips
Creamy Lime Dressing, recipe follows*
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack Cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease an 8 by 8-inch glass pan with butter.

Stir together the cornbread mix with the egg and milk. Evenly spread into prepared pan and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely.

Mix together the beans with the sazon (or cumin and coriander) and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the salsa with the tomatoes.

When ready to serve, cut the cornbread into 1/2-inch croutons.

Toss the lettuce with 3/4 cups of the dressing and split into two piles.

In a clear trifle dish, layer the Tex-Mex Salad beginning with the black beans followed by the Monterey jack cheese, one pile of lettuce, the tomato salsa mixture, the Cheddar, the remainder of the lettuce and top with the cornbread croutons. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Creamy Lime Dressing*

Yields 1 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice (I recommend FRESH!!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients except the olive oil until smooth. While machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

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Soooooo good!!!

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