Go Back
+ servings
Chopped vegetable salad with vegan chicken and spicy dressing in a bowl.

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Creamy Tex-Mex Dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Tracy Halasz

Ingredients

Grains and Chick'n

  • 1 - 1 ⅓ cups orzo*, cooked (optional)
  • 8-12 pieces Gardein Chipotle-Lime Fingers or Tofu

Grilled Corn

  • 1 ½ cups corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 clove garlic, medium sized (minced)
  • pepper, red pepper flakes, salt (to taste)
  • ½ lime

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 1 ⅓ cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ⅓ cucumbers, chopped or sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienne or chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1-2 avocados, chunks
  • 1 ⅓ red, green OR yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2-4 handfuls mixed greens, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • tortilla chips, crumbled

Tex-Mex Dressing Ingredients

  • ½ cup Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2-3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup salsa, medium
  • ¼ - ½ tsp maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

Salad Bowl

  • Orzo/Grain - optional but delicious for a heartier salad. I used orzo. Prepare as per package directions. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Chick'n Tenders - Prepare the Gardein Chipotle-Lime Fingers as per package directions (about 20 minutes on a baking sheet).
    OR try crispy baked spicy tofu or tempeh.

Flash Fry Corn

  • Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over high heat. Add the frozen (or fresh) corn and toss it around for a minute or two in the hot pan.
  • Season with minced garlic, a bunch of freshly ground black pepper, hot pepper flakes, salt, and the juice from ½ a lime. All to taste.
  • Cook for another 2-3 minutes - adjust heat if necessary.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Vegetables and Beans

  • Veggies - Wash, pat dry, peel, and chop vegetables as per directions.
  • Beans - Drain and rinse any beans you enjoy. Black beans are delicious in this salad but pinto beans or any small firm bean would also be a good choice.

Tex-Mex Salad Dressing

  • Place all ingredients (except salsa) into a bowl and stir to combine. Add salsa. Taste for flavours and adjust seasonings to your personal preference.
  • PRO TIP: keep in mind the heat index on your salsa which may impact how much additional spice you add to the dressing. Start with the lower quantity of spices, add the salsa, and then adjust accordingly.
  • If the dressing is too sour for your taste, add ¼ - ½ tsp maple syrup. For a tangier dressing, add more apple cider vinegar. Spicier, add more chili powder or cayenne pepper. Creamier, add more Vegenaise. Chunkier, add more salsa.
  • Store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

To Serve

  • Place chopped greens in a large bowl.
  • Arrange piles of orzo/rice, vegetables, beans, and avocado on top.
  • Top with Chick'n Tenders (whole or chopped), crumbled tortilla chips (for crunch and texture), cilantro, lime wedges and a liberal drizzle of Tex-Mex dressing. Enjoy!

Notes

GRAIN/PASTA - To make a heartier meal, add your favourite grain. I chose orzo for both taste and texture.  
BEANS - Black beans can be swapped out for any favourite small, firm bean.
GREENS - Choose a variety of greens like romaine, spinach, leafy greens, kale. Chop well!
TENDERS or TOFU (20-25 minutes) - The Gardein Sriracha-Lime Tenders are perfect with this salad bowl; however, you can easily swap out for crispy tofu.
LEFTOVERS/STORAGE - The textures of a salad bowl are optimal when served fresh especially if it has been tossed with dressing. However, the leftovers will still be tasty after one day in the fridge. 
To keep the salad fresh longer, store the juicy vegetables and dressing in separate containers until just before serving. This way it will last all week.
Put everything into a big tortilla and wrap it up for on the go or to have at lunch!
TEX-MEX DRESSING
If the dressing is too sour for your taste, add ¼ - ½ tsp maple syrup. For a tangier dressing, add more apple cider vinegar. Spicier, add more chili powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper. Creamier, add more Vegenaise. Chunkier, add more salsa.
Swap vegan sour cream for the Vegenaise.
Store leftover dressing in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to one week.