Southwest-style Salad with Spicy Cilantro Dressing

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Hello! Welcome to my salad project! Today I made a salad with kidney beans and red cabbage. I feel like I kind of cheated since I had some leftover kidney beans in the fridge… however, it’s a great way to use what you have on hand. You just have to think of what to add to enhance the items that you are trying to pull together. So today it’s southwestern flavors – serranos, cilantro, jicama, bell pepper. Lots of veggies to keep us full and nourished.

If you have never tried jicama before, you should buy one and give it a whirl. They are a bit sweet, crunchy and starchy. They are great in winter salads to replace cucumbers for some crunch. You can dice them and throw into salads or cut them in batons / sticks and dip them in something good like hummus. I may try to bake them… hmm. I’ll let you know how that works out. I hope you enjoy this version of the southwest salad. It’s super easy and of course you can sub out / in any ingredients you like.

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For the dressing:

1 cup or big handful of cilantro (with soft stems – remove any hard stems)
1 – 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 serrano pepper
1 tbsp. vinegar
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Seriously, don’t remove the cilantro stems. They have so much taste, just get rid of any that aren’t soft. With the serrano, I use the entire pepper (without the stem), ribs, seeds and all. If you want less heat, remove the seeds and ribs. Whiz in the blender until smooth. Add more salt to taste. Set aside.

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For the salad:

2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup red kidney beans (cooked!)
1/2 cup jicama, peeled and chopped
3 or 4 radishes, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced (sprinkle with the lemon/lime juice below to keep it from turning brown)
1/4 of a lemon or lime or 1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla chips for garnishing (optional)

Mix the lettuce and cabbage together, making sure all water is drained thoroughly. Divide between two plates or bowls. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper over each serving (optional). Top with the remaining ingredients. Serve with the Spicy Cilantro Dressing. Enjoy!

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