My vegetarian friend, April, often gives me creative suggestions for some really delicious meatless meals. She recently returned from a trip to Boulder, Colorado, saying she had one of the "best salads ever" at an "upscale taqueria" there. The salad she re-created sounded wonderful, cool, crunchy, and perfect for summer. And as she listed off the ingredients... greens with jicama, watermelon, oranges, tomatoes, pepitas and cojita cheese, tossed with a chili-lime vinaigrette.... I realized I had much of what I needed already in hand. As luck would have it, our bushel arrived yesterday and included the most gorgeous yellow cherry tomatoes from a farm in Dime Box, TX, watermelon, and the perfect head of sweet butter lettuce, giving the salad a nice start. I gathered up the rest of my ingredients...
and peeled, chopped, sliced accordingly.
I made a chili-lime-honey vinaigrette with cilantro and fresno chilies to dress the salad.
Arrange the greens and other ingredients in a large bowl. I used feta instead of the cojita, because I always have it on hand, and the saltiness worked nicely with the sweet fruits in the salad.
Spoon on some of the dressing and toss to coat.
Crunchy, salty, sweet with a sour, spicy kick. April was right. This salad is all that and a bag of chips. Nice.
summer taqueria salad
(serves 4 as a starter or 2 hungry for a meal)
4 cups gently torn butter lettuce
1 cup julienned jicama
2 cups cubed watermelon, 1" cubes
1 cup halved yellow cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 navel orange, peeled and sliced in rounds, then sliced in half
1/3 cup feta, cut into small cubes
1 good palm full of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
optional: crushed tortilla chips to garnish for extra crunch
juice of one juicy lime (about 2 T)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T honey
1-2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T finely chopped fresno chili, seeded
1/4 t chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss with some of the dressing. Ahhhhh.