Tortilla Chopped Salad is a hearty, vegetarian salad that is filling and satisfying enough to have for dinner.
Ready in 10 minutes
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Does it mean you’ve unlocked some sort of adulthood merit badge when you can say with all seriousness that you totally love salads? You would have almost never caught me ordering a salad in a restaurant when I was in high school or college or heck, even a few years ago. But now, I make a beeline for the salad section of the menu whenever I’m out. Especially if they offer big, beautiful bowls of dinner salads.
I love salads that are hearty, filling, and delicious—and creative! I’m not interested in a bowl of iceberg lettuce with some pink tomatoes. Give me interesting, complicated layers of flavor in that salad bowl! With my newish-found love of salads, I’ve been really working on upping my at-home salad making game.
I have to be honest, a lot of my at-home salads in the past years have been solely utilitarian. A dinner needed some veggies, so I tossed some greens in a bowl and threw some dressing on top of it. Then I hurry up and scarfed through it first so I could get to the really good stuff. What a sad state of salad affairs.
Now I know that homemade salads can be so much more than just obligatory. They can be complex and hearty and satisfying and totally worthy of the limelight. Man, I love me a good salad. I think the key to making a main stage salad is all about finding balance. Balance in flavors. Balance in textures. Balance in nutrition. You want every bite to be full of interest—and a salad done right can provide that kind of interest unlike any other type of dish.
This tortilla chopped salad was inspired by one of the first salads I actually learned to love—a giant Latin-flavored chopped salad from a little restaurant across the street from my dorm in college. It was probably the first time I realized that salads can be so much more than just something my Mom put on the table at dinner (and that I didn’t eat).
That salad was impossibly huge (as restaurant portions tend to be) and came with roasted turkey breast. I’ve scaled down the size of my salad—it’s still huge, but you’ll be able to conquer it without unbuttoning your pants. And I left off the turkey. I love meat as much as the next omnivore, but I feel like this chopped salad really doesn’t need any meat. It’s packed full of healthy plant-based fats and protein, and it’s got enough heft on its own so that you’ll feel satisfied after eating it—even without the meat.
I know ranch dressing’s reputation has taken a hit over the past few years (what, with people drowning their pizza-wrapped cheeseburgers in the stuff), but cool, creamy ranch is such a wonderful flavor complement to spicy foods—it really is a perfect way to dress a Latin-flavored salad like this one. The keys to doing ranch right—use it in moderation and find a dressing that is made up of real ingredients. Some of the bottles of ranch on store shelves have ingredients that are barely recognizable as food, if at all. Read your ingredients, people!
That’s why I’m totally loving the Marzetti® Simply Dressed® line of salad dressings right now. They have no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors. They are made with 100% “real” ingredients. Basically, they are pretty much what you’d make in your own kitchen if you made your own salad dressing—except more convenient because, you know, they’ve already made it for you.
Just a little drizzle of the Simply Dressed Ranch on top of this chopped salad is all it needs to really set off the flavors. It’s not about covering up the flavor of vegetables, it’s about adding another wonderful layer of flavor and texture to your salad. It’s about taking your salad to the next level (I can’t believe I just typed that). This is a salad that I will happily eat even if I don’t have any veggie quotas to fill.
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