This is the perfect summer salad. It has a great balance of sweet and spicy, thanks to the combination of honey, corn and roasted jalapeños. The textures were also lovely, with plenty of crunch from the tortilla chips and corn and velvety smoothness from the olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This was a delicious, healthy dinner! The dressing could also be made with extra virgin olive oil, but I prefer the clean flavors of canola oil, which has a great good-to-bad fat ratio and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, in this particular dressing.
Southwestern Salad with Jalapeño-Honey Dressing
Crispy Tortilla Strips:
3 soft taco sized flour tortillas cut into 1/2″ strips
Olive oil flavored cooking spray
Kosher salt, to taste
Cumin, to taste
3 fresh jalapeños
1/2 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup cucumber, roughly diced
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
zest and juice of 1 small lime
1/4 cup honey
About 1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
5 oz. baby arugula
2 cups frozen sweet corn, defrosted
3 large radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/8 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 large tomato, diced
Shredded Mexican cheese, to taste (not pictured)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place tortilla strips in a single layer on the baking sheet and spray liberally with cooking spray. Season with cumin and salt to taste. Bake 10-12 minutes until light golden brown, stirring halfway through baking time (return to a single layer). Remove from baking sheet and set aside. Save baking sheet for next step.
For the dressing, heat broiler. Spray reserved baking sheet with cooking spray. Place jalapeños on baking sheet and put under broiler, turning over occasionally, for 15-20 minutes until skin is lightly charred. Set aside to cool, reserving one roasted jalapeño for salad.
While jalapeños are roasting, assemble other dressing ingredients. Remove stems from jalapeños and cut into thirds. If you don’t want your dressing spicy, remove seeds and ribs (or partially remove, to taste). We like spice, so I left all of the seeds and ribs in the jalapeños. Some people will recommend you remove the charred skin from the roasted jalapeño, but I personally love the light taste of “char,” so I leave it. Add parsley, cucumber, zest and juice of lemon, zest and juice of lime, honey, jalapeños, and salt and pepper to taste to a food processor. While running the processor, slowly drizzle in canola oil until the texture of the dressing is mostly smooth. Taste and re-season as necessary. Set aside.
Combine corn, radishes, cucumber, reserved jalapeño, mushrooms, black olives, and tomatoes. Add dressing to corn mixture and allow to marinade in refrigerator at least one hour. Just prior to serving, toss with arugula. Top with reserved tortilla strips and shredded Mexican cheese blend to taste.