When we went to New York City in September 2016 I didn’t anticipate eating much salad but the weather was really hot and we found ourselves in a branch of Chopt. I was mightily impressed with their menu and we went back a few times to try different things but this warm grain salad was my favourite by a mile.
There are many reasons why I think this salad is amazing:
- It’s incredibly flavoursome
- It’s topped with tortilla chips
- The dressing is thick, creamy and versatile - it’s great as a dip for leftover tortilla chips
- It’s spicy (although you can moderate the heat)
- It transports well thanks to robust kale and a big batch keeps in the fridge for a few days
- The veggie version with falafel (I use Cauldron) is as good, if not better, than the chicken version
I’ve recreated this recipe from memory so it’s more ‘inspired by’ than exact. There are many versions of the Mexican Goddess Dressing but I like this one. I struggle to find tomatillos in the UK so I use half a jar of Gran Luchito Tomatillo Salsa and freeze the rest for next time.
The tomatillo salsa is salty so I don’t add any seasoning to the dressing.
When I take the salad to work I put the dressing on top and mix it when I’m ready to eat; the dressing is thick and stays put without soaking into the kale. I take the tortilla chips in a separate container as they become soggy if they’re kept together with the salad.
Any kind of cooked chicken will do - breaded or plain, breasts or thighs.
Yes, those are Flaming Hot Doritos in the photo.
- 100g dried quinoa (or use 200g ready made)
- tin of black beans, drained and rinsed (400g tin size)
- 125g kale, stalks removed and leaves chopped
- 100g feta cheese, cubed
- 300g cooked chicken (or ready-made falafel for a veggie salad)
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- Handful of tortilla chips, crushed
Mexican Goddess Dressing
- 1 ripe avocado
- 150g tomatillo salsa
- 2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded (jarred is fine, add to suit your heat tolerance)
- 2 spring onions, trimmed
- large handful of coriander leaves and stalks (around 15g)
- juice from 1 lime
You will need
- a blender or food processor for the dressing
- Salad: Cook 100g of quinoa according to the instructions on the packet.
- In a large bowl or container (I use a 5 litre tupperware measuring 24 x 20 x 12cm) combine a drained 400g tin of black beans, 125g of chopped kale leaves and the cooked quinoa.
- Dressing: Peel and de-stone a ripe avocado then add it to a blender or food processor along with 150g of tomatillo salsa, 2 deseeded jalapeno peppers, 2 trimmed spring onions, a large handful of coriander leaves and stalks (around 15g) and the juice from 1 lime. Blend until thick and smooth.
- Salad: If the salad isn’t going to be eaten immediately, store it undressed in the fridge, otherwise pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to evenly coat the ingredients. Add more dressing if needed.
- Divide the salad between bowls and top with 100g of cubed feta cheese, 300g of cooked chicken (or falafel), 1 sliced spring onion and a handful of crushed tortilla chips.