For a couple of years, I was in the habit of buying pre-washed salad mixes. You know, the kind that come in a bag or plastic box. This lead to the donation of our OXO salad spinner to the Good Will, because it was just sitting there collecting dust and taking up precious kitchen storage space. Well, that turned out to be a big mistake, because you guessed it, shortly thereafter I started buying a greater variety of greens and cutting them up myself! Drying lettuce without a spinner is such a pain, so I eventually caved and bought a cheap knock-off from IKEA for something ridiculous, like $3. I use it a couple times a week now and whenever I get it out, I’m reminded of my donation mistake.
I’ve been buying romaine hearts and eating a lot of side salads lately. But I also recently made this main dish Southwestern salad packed with corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocados, and crunchy blue tortilla chips. I drizzled a lovely lime vinaigrette on top and added in some mini meatballs spiced with Ancho chile powder, cumin, and oregano – yum! They elevated the salad to a whole new level.
We enjoyed this salad for several days in a row. I assembled it with everything except the vinaigrette, avocados, and tortilla chips, which I added as we went during the week so the avocados didn’t brown and the tortilla chips stayed crispy. I hope whoever picked up that donated salad spinner is using it to make yummy salads like this one!
Southwestern Mini Meatball Salad
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 large egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 hearts of romaine, chopped
1 cup cooked corn
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound grape tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed blue tortilla chips
To make the meatballs, heat oven to 375˚F. Place ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano, and salt in a large bowl and knead with your hands until well mixed. Shape into 50 mini meatballs and place on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 375˚F for 13-15 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
To make the vinaigrette, place canola oil, lime juice, honey, mustard, cumin, and salt in a small container and whisk until smooth.
To assemble the salad, place lettuce in a large bowl and place strips of mini meatballs, corn, black beans, and grape tomatoes on top. Top each serving with fresh avocado, crushed tortilla chips, and the desired amount of dressing. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 653 calories, 40.8g fat, 11.6g fiber, 32.2g protein per serving
Cost: $2.48 per serving