Southwestern Salad with Chipotle Ranch Greek Yogurt Dressing
Confession: I have not being leading as healthy a lifestyle lately as I’d like. Busy days turn into busy weeks, and Postmates and mental exhaustion end up trumping home cooking and the gym. One gin + tonic turns into two and then three. The cycle starts over again, and I’m left feeling sluggish and lethargic, a barely-there person lamenting the tightness of my pants and the loss of my usual exuberance.
Enough is enough, people! My husband and I have both declared a war on our months-long complacency and are rededicating ourselves to healthfulness, wellness and prosperity. Going to the gym will always, probably, be a chore to me (my goal is four times a week), but I can at least find joy in conscious cooking.
Enter in this absolutely delectable, super easy to prepare salad. I used my copycat Chipotle corn salsa as the jumping-off point and added in black beans for some needed fiber and protein. Baked tortilla strips incorporate crunch, and sliced avocado provides creaminess and filling, healthy fat. But the pièce de résistance? A super simple + flavorful low-fat dressing made with Greek yogurt, chipotle in adobo sauce and ranch dressing seasoning. If you’re looking for a salad that’s both healthy and truly satisfying, this one fits the bill!
Note the photos below of our American Staffordshire Terrier mix, Beau. Beau is our polite beggar and can always be found within spitting distance of the counter when we’re cooking. I was chopping the red onion and must’ve dropped one, not noticing he was right below me. It took a good 10 minutes for him to realize there was food on his nose (and yes, he will 100% eat a raw onion)!
Lettuce of your choice (we used shredded Bibb lettuce)
1 - 14.5 oz. can of black beans, drained
2 ears of corn
1 serrano pepper, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. cilantro, minced
Juice of one lime
1 avocado, sliced
Small corn tortillas, cut into strips
5.5 oz. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce + 1/2 t. of the adobo sauce
Powdered ranch dressing seasoning, to taste (we used about two tablespoons, maybe a bit more)
1 T. olive oil + extra
1 T. milk
1 T. water
Salt & pepper, to taste
Smoked paprika, to taste
Olive oil cooking spray
Optional: cotija cheese, to garnish
1) Shuck the corn. Spray it with olive oil cooking spray and season it with a bit of salt and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. We cooked it on our outdoor grill until it was nicely blackened and charred, but you can also roast in the oven to achieve the desired effect.
2) In a large bowl, combine the black beans, serrano pepper, red onion, garlic, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Once the corn is done roasted, use a knife to remove the kernels from the cob. Add the corn to the bowl with the black bean mixture and stir well to combine. Cover and plate in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
3) Place a pan in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the corn tortillas into strips and add them to a large bowl or plastic bag with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Toss well to coat.
4) Once the onion has preheated, remove the pan and place the tortilla strips evenly onto it. Cook for six minutes, toss, then cook for another six minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
5) Add the Greek yogurt, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and ranch dressing seasoning to a food processor and purée until smooth. At this point, the dressing will be too thick and dip-like, so you’ll want to add about three tablespoons of liquid. We went with one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon milk and one tablespoon water, but you can do any sort of combination. Purée again until the dressing is fully combined.
6) Prepare your lettuce and chop the avocado. Place the lettuce onto a plate and drizzle it with the dressing. Top your salad with a few spoonfuls of the black bean + corn salsa, then garnish with the tortilla strips, avocado and cotija cheese, if desired.