Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

August 11, 2015

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Originally from the Kitchen of Kaitlin M at The Garden Grazer

*Note: I originally found this recipe on the internet a few weeks ago. We liked it so well that I did something I have never done before…I wrote to Kaitlin and asked if I could share her recipe on Up in the Attic. She graciously agreed!

Any changes are noted in parenthesis. Photos – whether good or bad – are my doing. I have linked to the original recipe at the end – you might want to go check out this and a BUNCH more yummy sounding recipes over on Kaitlin’s site.

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

No cooking! Just chopping, dicing and stirring – how much easier and fresher can you get than that on a hot August day?

Necessary items – large salad bowl, small dressing bowl, possibly food processor or blender

Time: 30 minutes prep (or less)

Ingredients for Chopped Salad:

Large head of romaine lettuce, rinsed

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 large orange bell pepper (I used julienned mini red peppers left from dinner the day before instead)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 cups corn (Kaitlin uses frozen, thawed. I used a 15.5 oz. can of whole kernel corn)

5 green onions (I used a good sized clump of chives from my garden)

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing (recipe below) or other dressing of choice



Finely chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions.

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl, along with the black beans and corn. Mix to combine.

Toss with desired dressing

(Changes: we like different dressings so we drizzle whichever one we like over it once it reaches our plates, instead of tossing it with one dressing. I already told you about the differences in the green onions and orange bell pepper. We also have a family member that does not like tomatoes so I leave them in larger pieces so they can be removed.)


Ingredients for Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing:

1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped

(I used 2 oz. of Garden Gourmet’s Stir-in paste cilantro – from a tube)

½ avocado or ½ cup plain vegan yogurt or Greek yogurt

2 Tbls fresh lime juice – about ½ a lime

1-2 garlic cloves (I used 1-1 ½ tsp chopped garlic in water – from a jar I always have on hand)

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp white vinegar

1/8 tsp salt (I added just a touch more)

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing. Adapted with permission from The Garden Grazer.  Photo: Cathy Rueter ©2015

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing. Adapted with permission from The Garden Grazer.
Photo: Cathy Rueter ©2015


Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. (Because I used the cilantro paste, I just used the smaller bowl and stirred VERY well). Toss with salad.

*Note: Five reasons why I make this dressing on the side.
1) We have two people severely allergic to avocados in our family so I used regular, plain yogurt instead of the avocado. I usually have Greek yogurt on hand but didn’t last night so I used plain. This is a thick, stir-in dressing normally so the thinner, regular yogurt made it easier to drizzle.

2) One of my son’s has an aversion to cilantro. He’s usually not a real picky eater but I thought he was making it up. Then I did some research on it. Turns out there are some people who get a strong, unpleasant metallic taste from cilantro. Guess what? That’s what he’s been telling me all along, “tastes like I’m chewing on a piece of metal.” Guess mom should have listened better.

3) The first time I made this recipe my crew was so hungry, and I knew I was only making the dressing for me, that I didn’t make it. I used ranch dressing, then drizzled lime juice and sprinkled fine ground sea salt over it all. Ooh it was good (but then again, I’m a lime/salt fanatic).

4) My husband likes hot sauce….he adds it to his dressing of choice for this salad. Umm, no thanks!

5) If given a choice, one of my sons doesn’t like dressing of any kind on his salads.

Making it for on the side allows all of us to choose how to dress this delicious, summer fresh salad.




Original recipe from The Garden Grazer




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