Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Southwestern Salad is one of my favorite salads to bring to parties and potluck gatherings. This salad is vegan and gluten-free so everyone can enjoy, but also rich in flavors, colors, and textures.

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Southwestern
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sweet corn (fresh cut off the cob or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground New Mexico chile pepper (or other mild ground chile)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large avocado, sliced or cubed
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup pepitas, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper (if desired).
  2. Toss together corn, olive oil, ground chile, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl. Spread evenly onto sheet pan. Roast corn for about 15 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking to prevent burning. Corn should be just starting to brown a little. Remove to a plate or bowl and allow to cool while prepping other salad ingredients.
  3. On a large platter or salad bowl, layer lettuce, roasted corn, cucumber, bell pepper, avocado, tomatoes, and pepitas.
  4. Serve with Cilantro Lime Dressing.
Variation
  1. Slice 3 or 4 fresh corn tortillas into ½ " x 1" strips and pan fry in a little olive oil until crispy. When cool, use as an additional salad topping.

Want to learn how to make delicious, healthy food while meeting new people? Chef Rachel’s current class schedule is available here. 

Quick Ume Pickles (Naturally Fermented)

Have you wanted to make your own pickles but were intimidated by the process?

I wanted to let you in on a great tip for making quick, healthy pickles with many different kinds of vegetables. These are called Quick Ume Pickles – thinly sliced vegetables pickled in umeboshi or ume plum vinegar and water (that’s it!).

Quick Ume Pickles are the perfect addition to sushi rolls, fresh spring rolls, grain salads, or Buddha bowls, and add vibrant color to any meal.

Naturally fermented pickles such as these are a beneficial addition to a plant-based diet as they aid in digestion of complex carbohydrates and have the sour taste that is tonifying to the liver. I prefer salt-fermented pickles such as these over vinegar-based pickles because of the beneficial lactobacillus fermentation that occurs, which aids in digestion and makes me feel good after a meal.

What is umeboshi or ume plum vinegar?

I use ume plum vinegar in a lot of things, like salad dressings, hummus, guacamole, and of course pickles! Ume plum vinegar is an alkalizing, raw, probiotic condiment with a distinctive sweet-sour-salty taste. It is technically not a vinegar, but rather the salty byproduct of making umeboshi plums, which are sought after for their healing properties.

Simliar to sauerkraut “juice,” which you can now purchase by itself for its probiotic qualities, ume vinegar contains probiotics and is good for digestion, along with having a delicious taste. In Austin, you can get various brands of ume plum vinegar at Whole Foods, Central Market, and Wheatsville Coop.

 

How to make quick ume pickles

Step 1.

Wash, dry, and thinly slice or grate vegetables you’d like to pickle. Try using carrots, cucumbers, purple daikon, red radishes, watermelon radishes, beets, or red onions. Place in a large bowl.

Daikon and radish slices for ume pickles

Step 2.

Drizzle ume plum vinegar over sliced vegetables to coat. Gently massage vinegar into vegetables. Add herbs or seasonings, if desired, such as chopped garlic, fresh or dried dill, coriander seeds, or lemon zest. Or just leave plain to get the true flavor of the vegetable.

Step 3.

Pack veggies into clean jar and add enough water to just cover the vegetables. You should have roughly equal amounts of vinegar and water. Loosely cover and let sit on the counter for several hours. Pickles can be eaten in less than and hour but will get stronger in flavor and more pickled the longer they sit. Refrigerate after veggies have been pickling several hours. Colors will become more vibrant once they have pickled overnight in the refrigerate. Eat within 1 month of pickling. Enjoy!

How to Make Quick Ume Pickles!
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pickles
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 1 pint
Ingredients
  • 4 cups red radishes or purple daikon radishes, sliced thinly into rounds or half moons
  • ¼ cup ume plum vinegar or umeboshi vinegar
  • ¼ cup spring or filtered water
Instructions
  1. Place radishes in a bowl and drizzle with ume plum vinegar. Massage vinegar into vegetables for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add water and mix to combine. Let sit for about 15 minutes and you will see water coming out of the radishes. Make sure that radishes are pushed down to the bottom of the bowl so that they are completely covered by the pickling solution.
  3. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least one hour to start the pickling process.
  4. Transfer radishes and liquid to a pint canning jar. Store in the refrigerator. By the next day, each radish will uniformly colored bright pink throughout.
  5. Will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.
Variations:
  1. Try using other thinly sliced vegetables, such as cucumber, carrot, red onion, purple cabbage, purple daikon, or watermelon radish.
  2. Add fresh dill, garlic, ginger, or coriander seed to flavor the pickles.
Notes:
  1. For a large batch of pickles, use the following quantities: 4 pounds thinly sliced radishes, 1¼ cups or one 10-ounce bottle ume plum vinegar, and 1¼ cups spring or filtered water.

 

colorful purple daikon pickles in pint sized mason jars
Ume pickled purple daikon radishes after pickling for 2 days in the refrigerator

 

Salade Niçoise with Dijon Vinaigrette

photo of nicoise salad

This vibrant and delicious Salade niçoise was originally introduced to me by my mother Louise, who is an amazing cook and liked to teach me things from her French heritage. We first made this salad together for a holiday celebration at my school French class around 1987. I rediscovered this timeless salad several years ago, and enjoy making it a little differently each time. The dressing is a very basic vinaigrette that gets its distinctive taste from Dijon mustard. Check out the variations in the recipe and photos for more ideas.

Apparently, there are very strong feelings about what should or should not be included in a Salade niçoise. See the commentary on wikipedia for a run down of the “rules” if you want to be a “traditionalist” when it comes to making this salad! For instance, some defend that there should be no cooked vegetables in this salad. And it should have anchovies and eggs. I say, make it however you like it, and enjoy it! And maybe you can just call it “my favorite salad” if someone criticizes you for not making the authentic niçoise. 

Salade Niçoise
 
This beautiful composed salad is a meal in itself, especially if you add some large white beans, quinoa, or tuna. You can arrange the salad onto ndividual plates or one large platter.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
Salad
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 4 cups mixed field greens or 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, sliced in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced or 1 cup baby tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata or niçoise olives, pitted and sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar or lemon juice with mustard. Add a few pinches of salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil with a few pinches of sea salt. Add green beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain green beans and spread them out on a plate or platter to cool.
  3. Scrub potatoes and peel away any blemishes. Place potatoes and a few pinches of sea salt in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and let simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain and place into a bowl. When cool, slice large potatoes in half or into several pieces, if desired.
  4. Arrange lettuce on large platter or individual plates. Place green beans, potatoes, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes on top of lettuce in distinct rows or mounds. Sprinkle olives and capers over the top. Drizzle the entire salad with some of the dressing, then sprinkle chopped parsley over the top.
  5. Serve with roasted salmon or canned tuna packed in olive oil, if desired.
Note:
  1. If you are able to find colorful fingerling potatoes, such as red or purple varieties, these look very beautiful in the salad.
Variations:
  1. Add cooked white beans such as giant Peruvian limas or butter beans.
  2. Add quinoa or quinoa with chickpeas.
  3. Omit cucumbers if not in season.
  4. Add 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half.

Here are some other variations of the salad I have tried in recent years.

With golden fingerling potatoes and baby San Marzano tomatoes:

photo of salade niçoise

With quinoa and chickpeas and roasted salmon:

photo of salade niçoise with quinoa, chickpeas, and salmon

Arranged in a radial pattern, with plenty of artichokes!

photo of salade niçoise

I hope you enjoy making this salad, and please let me know if you come up with some new and delicious versions!

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed, spun, and chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced (or 1 cup grape tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ¾ kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced
Dressing
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • ½ cup spring or filtered water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. Place greens onto a platter or individual salad bowls. Decorate greens with tomato slices, cucumber slices, olives, and red onion.
Dressing
  1. Drain cashews and discard soaking water.
  2. Blend cashews in blender or VitaMix with water, garlic, scallions, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar until smooth.
  3. With blender on low speed, add in olive oil and blend until incorporated.
  4. Add dill, mint, and oregano and blend on low for a few seconds.
  5. Add a pinch or two of sea salt, if needed, to balance flavors.
  6. Pour dressing into a bowl or creamer to serve alongside salad.
Variation
  1. Serve with goat feta or homemade tofu feta cheese on the side.

 

Questions?

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(512) 217-1259

rachel@cookloveheal.com

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