Salad for a heat wave

I love summer, and I declare it proudly. After the winters that I’ve lived with all my life in Rochester and now Chicago, I have no complaints when the temperature goes above 80, 90, even 100. I leave my air conditioning off for as long as I can possibly stand it; I hate wearing weather-appropriate clothes and then freezing as soon as I go inside a building.

That said, the four days of 100+ temperatures in a row Chicago had recently tested even my heat-loving limits. I already shared one of my favorite hot-weather salads–but what about when I don’t even want to toast a piece of bread for fear of raising the temperature a half a degree  in my blissfully air-conditioned apartment, and the thought of eating anything denser than crisp, cold vegetables is inconceivable? This salad is what I make.
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I have my mom to thank for finding this recipe; she doesn’t like the avocado, but I think the creaminess compliments the other ingredients nicely. The ingredients take advantage of vegetables that are just coming in season, and the colors also look incredibly pretty layered in a clear bowl or jar.
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Mexican Chopped Salad
This is great all mixed up in a bowl for dinner, but it also looks great layered in a glass jar and brought to work for lunch. If you want to make it vegan, you can use agave instead of honey and leave out the cheese; or if you want to add meat, shredded rotisserie chicken is very good. Makes 4-6 servings.

2 ears fresh corn, quickly blanched and cut off the cob; or 3/4 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and well drained
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup diced peeled jicama
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 red onion, very finely chopped and rinsed under cold water
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup queso fresco or feta cheese

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a bowl or jar, combine the ingredients for the dressing and mix well to combine; set aside while you assemble the salad. If serving immediately, combine all ingredients except the onion, avocado, and cheese. Add salad to individual bowls, top with dressing and remaining salad ingredients.

If you want to layer the salad, assemble them in this order: dressing, beans, jicama, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, radish, onion, cheese. Add avocado right before you’re ready to eat.


3 thoughts on “Salad for a heat wave

  1. This is great since these are the types of dinners I look for now that our weather is blitering. Although, unlike your Mom, I’ll leave the avacado, but the beans have to go. Thanks for the dinner idea!

    By the way, sounds like a great collaboration you and Uncle Dave have with the ribs.


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