One of my most strongly held opinions about food is that salad doesn’t need to be boring. There are a hundred and one places to go from a basic salad, so not only do we need to avoid that basic one that no one eats at every barbecue, but we also need to bear in mind all the potential ingredients. This Mexican salad is a simple one, with only a handful of ingredients.
Choosing your ingredients
The basic ingredients for this salad are simple: spinach, mixed beans, diced jalapenos, and spiced Quorn or chicken.
The reason I’ve gone for spinach instead of lettuce is that it has the same properties (leafy and crunchy), while also having a lot more flavour. There is definitely a palace for lettuce in the world of salads, but this isn’t it!
Check out my selection of Quorn recipes, all perfect for all the family whether vegetarian or not, some are vegan too.
Which beans and chillies to use
I’ve used mixed beans here so that there’s some variety throughout, but you can use whatever you like. Kidney beans or butter beans on their own would also be delicious in this dish, so if they’re all you’ve got in the cupboard: consider giving them a go.
I would always put mixed beans or some other similar protein source onto a salad if you’re opting for a veggie or vegan diet. The concentrated protein will fill you up and last a long time.
The jalapenos are a simple addition: they keep in the fridge forever, and they’ll add some acid and heat to the dish. I’m a big fan of them, so I just grabbed a few to dice up and throw in.
Adaptions you could make
The veggie chicken is a little different, however. Normally, I’d opt to have a salad just made up of veggies, and maybe some cheese, but the Quorn chicken substitute really works here. If you prefer chicken then why not use that instead?
For a similar salad, you could use alternative spice blends and see how you get on.
How to cook the Mexican salad
I fried it in a little low-calorie spray, just to defrost it, and added a few spices that really make this salad a Mexican inspired one. Namely, those spices are smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, parsley, and garlic granules.
These spices will give the chicken or Quorn an aromatic and typically Mexican flavour. While you could mix this up and opt for more traditional fajita spices, I’ve found that this blend works particularly well for me.
I used roughly a teaspoon of each of the spices, though if there’s any spice in particular that you don’t like, it may be worth removing it or at least cutting them down.
Preparing the salad
As with all salad, the preparation is very simple. Simply dice up whatever you need to dice, fry whatever you need to fry, and combine.
Do you need dressings?
Ordinarily, I’d add a little olive oil and some seasonings at this point. In this case, however, I’m not, as the veggie chicken brings both of those to the dish with little need for any intervention on our part.
If you have any delicious dressings that you’d love to try at this point, then throw them on! There are a huge number of low-calorie or fat-free salad dressings out there, so if you find one that you like, it’s worth giving it a go.
For this dish, I might suggest a lighter, fruity salad dressing, such as one based around pomegranate. This fruitiness is sure to complement the spices on the chicken well, as well as liven up the dish as a whole.
How to enjoy
Once you’ve mixed your Mexican salad, plate it up, and dig in! This recipe will serve two people or one person for two lunches in a row.
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Save time and money by having this simple, easy Mexican-inspired salad for lunch!
Add a little low calorie cooking spray to a pan, and allow it to heat. Add the chicken substitute, and allow it to defrost. When defrosted, add the spices, mix thoroughly, and allow one to two minutes to bloom. If using chicken then cook for a few minutes before adding the spices and cooking until completely cooked throughout.
Once you’re satisfied, remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.
Next, prepare your salad ingredients: wash the spinach, drain and rinse the beans, and deseed and dice the jalapeno pepper.
Finally, mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl or cool saucepan. After tossing, taste for seasoning. If you’re happy, plate up, if not, optionally add a little olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
Keywords: Mexican salad, vegetarian salad,
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