I get a lot of inspiration from eating out at restaurants, which I rarely do. But when I do eat out and what I order is really good, then instead of wanting to return to the restaurant, I go home and try to recreate a healthier and cheaper version myself!
This is when my Southwestern Arugula Salad with Jalapeno Dressing was born where the inspiration came from a salad from Sweetgreen and a mixture of other southwest salads I have had at various restaurants and flavors I was craving.
I knew I wanted that savory, peppery southwestern flavor in a nutrient dense, satisfying bowl of yumminess. I'm a sucker for Arugula, so definitely wanted that instead of the (not so nutrient dense) iceberg lettuce. Mixing salad greens with cabbage is a great way to bulk up the salad and add some fiber (cabbage is super filling!) From there I topped with what I had on hand, which was minimal (feta cheese, tortilla chips, shrimp). Any southwestern type topping would work here. (beans, tomatoes, etc.)
The salad is good, but the true star of this recipe is the dressing. Creamy, spicy, savory, flavorful dressing. The consistency is perfect to coat every single inch of the salad and the combined flavors are PERFECT! Okay, let's just dive into the recipe:
Southwestern Arugula Salad with Jalapeno Dressing
Chop and cook the cabbage in a frying pan with ghee/butter/or coconut oil. Cook on medium heat until the cabbage softens. (Let cool before you add to the salad.)
You can use any protein here (chicken, beef, fish etc.). Cook the protein in a Mexican blend of spices (cumin, chili powder, oregano, etc.)
Crush up tortillas to top the salad
-Use tortilla chips with MINIMAL ingredients. Stay away from vegetable oil! Use gluten free chips if desired, but stick with an organic, whole ingredient option. I used the Whole Foods organic corn tortilla chip.
Apple cider vinegar
In a blender, add chopped jalapenos, Greek yogurt and olive oil. I used 1 whole jalapeno, and about 4 generous scoops of Greek yogurt. Use about a 1:2 ratio of Olive oil to Yogurt. (half as much olive oil as yogurt) Adjust to desired consistency.
-Start with fewer jalapenos then you think. This can get painfully spicy real quick and it's easier to add more spice then to take it away! (Add more Greek yogurt and olive oil if it's too spicy)
Once you get the desired spice and consistency, start adding in the other spices. A splash of Apple Cider Vinegar, and a generous amount of cumin, chili powder and cilantro. Blend until nice and smoothe.
-This is a fun recipe to really experiment with. Make small portions until you get the hang of how much of each ingredient to use. Every time I make this it's slightly different, so it's different everytime I eat it!
-This dressing tastes the best when it is really mixed into the salad. So pour on top of salad and mix up and let it sit for a moment so it gets all the flavor melted into the salad.