Mexican Chopped Salad is the perfect addition to a Mexican meal and always gets rave reviews. The lime-cilantro vinaigrette is bright, a little sweet, and spicy. This crispy and refreshing salad is also simple and easy to prepare. Packed with a variety of colors and textures it’s a beautiful dish to bring to a summer cookout or serve with black bean soup.
What do you need for Mexican Chopped Salad:
- Lettuce - Iceberg or Romaine is the way to go for this salad. Slicing the lettuce thin brings a bright freshness to the salad and the smaller size allows you to fully incorporate all of the other ingredients.
- Bell Peppers - Red, orange or yellow bell peppers are best. They’re a little sweeter than green bell peppers and I love the extra color they add to this salad.
- Cherry Tomatoes - I love cherry tomatoes for this Dish because when you slice them in half they’re the perfect size with all of the other ingredients. Cherry tomatoes also tend to be sweet and easy to come by any time of year. If you have Roma, plum, or garden tomatoes on hand just go ahead and use those. Be sure to chop them up into smaller pieces.
- Corn - I always have a bag of corn in my freezer, so unless it is August or September and I happen to have leftover ears of corn, I just use frozen corn. Obviously, fresh corn is more delicious but I don’t let it get in the way of making this super easy salad. To prepare the frozen corn I just throw it in a bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds until thawed, but not hot.
- Red Onion - I love red onion for a salad because I find it a bit milder and it also brings a beautiful color to the salad. I usually use fresh red onion for the salad but once in a while I use pickled red onion and that is also a delicious combination.
- Feta Cheese – The feta cheese gives the salad a salty and briny flavor. I almost always have a brick of feta in my refrigerator so I just chop off an ounce and break it up into small crumbles. I find that brick of feta holds its flavor and texture better than the feta packaged as “crumbled feta” you get at the store.
- Black Beans - Black beans give this salad a great added texture, and heartiness and are an excellent source of fiber and protein. Simply rinse and drain canned black beans in a colander before adding them to the salad. If you don’t have black beans on hand, feel free to use chickpeas or cannellini beans. While black beans give it that classic Mexican flavor, in a pinch I’ve used other canned beans with happy results.
- Avocado- Avocado is absolutely delicious in this salad and brings a rich creaminess to the dish that works really well with the lime cilantro vinaigrette.
Learn more about the amazingness of beans and lentils: Black Beans vs. Pinto Beans, Navy Beans vs. Great Northern Beans, What to do with leftover lentils (15+ ideas), What do Lentils Taste Like? and more Canned Black Bean Recipes.
What you need for Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette:
- Lime Juice - Lime juice forms the base of the salad dressing. Lime is part of the Mexican flavor profile for this dish.
- Olive Oil - If you didn’t have olive oil you could use vegetable oil or some other kind of neutral flavor oil.
- Fresh Cilantro - Fresh cilantro might be the secret and essential ingredient to the success of the salad. I think you could substitute or skip most of the ingredients in the salad but for me, cilantro is the key flavor.
- Cumin – Cumin contributes to the Mexican flavor profile. It adds a earthy and warm flavor that balances well with the acidity of the lime juice.
- Jalapeño- if you like a little spice to the salad dressing use a fresh jalapeño. I suggest scraping out the seeds and the membranes so that it’s not too spicy. If you want to dial down the spice in this dressing I suggest using four or five slices of pickled jalapeños instead of a whole fresh jalapeño. This way you’ll get the flavor of the jalapeño just milder.
- Salt and pepper- Finish off this salad dressing with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
How to make the salad:
First, you want to finely chop the lettuce. I like to slice the lettuce pretty thin so that it easily combines with all of the other ingredients. Next, chop the bell pepper and red onion and slice the cherry tomatoes in half. If you are using frozen corn, microwave it 30 seconds at a time until the corn is thawed but not warm.
Drain and thoroughly rinse your black beans in a colander.
Break up the feta cheese into small crumbles and last but not least cut your avocado into half-inch chunks. Add all of the ingredients together to form your salad. I like to wait to add the avocado to the salad, minimizing the opportunity for the avocado to go brown because of oxidation.
Making the salad ahead of time:
If you plan on making the salad ahead of time and I suggest preparing all of the ingredients and storing them in different containers. After chopping the lettuce, store it in a large serving container. In a separate container store the chopped bell peppers, red onions, sliced tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Don’t add the avocado or feta cheese until right before serving.
How to make the Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette:
Start by removing the cilantro leaves from the stem until you have enough. Next, slice your jalapeño in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Chop the two halves into small chunks. Use an immersion blender to fully combine the lime juice, honey, crushed garlic, cumin, olive oil, cilantro, salt, fresh ground pepper and chopped jalapeno creating this delicious vinaigrette.
Side or the main dish:
This salad is a delicious side dish for any Mexican meal. If you’d like to make it a main dish, just increase the amount of black beans. It also pairs well with the addition of chicken or shrimp.
What to serve with Mexican Chopped Salad :
One of my favorite accompaniments to serve with this salad is my Black Bean Soup recipe. The soup which is creamy and rich, pairs really great with this fresh and bright salad. It’s also fabulous with homemade quesadillas or a platter of nachos.
More recipes featuring black beans:
- Black Bean Soup
- Southwestern Stuffed Summer Squash
- Best Canned Black Beans Recipe
- Southwestern Black Bean Stuffed Tomatoes
- Black Bean and Corn Salad with Honey and Line Dressing
If you’ve tried this Mexican Chopped Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette recipe or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals and anything else I’m up to.
Mexican Chopped Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
- ⅓ C lime juice
- 2 t honey
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- ½ t cumin
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 t cilantro
- ½ t salt
- ½ t fresh ground pepper
- 1 fresh jalapeno chopped
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- ¼ C red onion chopped
- ½ C corn
- ¼ C crumbled feta cheese
- ½ C canned black beans drained and rised
- 1 avocado chopped
- ½ C cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Make the dressing
- Removing the cilantro leaves from the stem until you have enough.
- Slice your jalapeño in half and remove the seeds and membranes.
- Chop the two halves into small chunks.
- Use an immersion blender to fully combine the lime juice, honey, crushed garlic, cumin, olive oil, cilantro, salt, fresh ground pepper and chopped jalapeno creating this delicious vinaigrette.
Make the Salad
- Finely chop the lettuce.
- Next, chop the bell pepper and red onion and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
- If you are using frozen corn, microwave it 30 seconds at a time until the corn is thawed but not warm.
- Drain and thoroughly rinse your black beans in a colander.
- Break up the feta cheese into small crumbles and last but not least cut your avocado into half inch chunks.
- Add all of the ingredients together to form your salad.
- Dress the salad.