Today’s post is gorgeous , simple no cook one – Mexican salad with kale and santa fe dressing (vegan + gf )
Salad are often considered boring. Something that you need to graze on for loosing weight . Wait until you try this one and you will change your view forever.
A salad is something that you can have 365 versions for 365 days that means you can customize the heck of it.
It’s very important to keep your salad interesting always to avoid boredom , hence the dressing comes into picture. This Santa fe dressing is a mexican inspired dressing . It’s so yummy that you may land up eating a tablespoon or two on it’s own .
The inspiration for this salad is our family favorite restaurant – cheesecake factory .
I just love that place . It has so much variety to offer even for vegetarians.
Last month when I visited cheesecake factory, as usual we sat down to order. They have this endless menu and every time we try something new . Salad is one of our default orders . So while browsing down the menu ,this very fancy salad name caught my eye – chicken salad with santa fe dressing.The description was quiet inviting as well . The word santa fe sounded cool and I asked the server if it could be made vegetarian for us and guess what they did customize and viola that was one of the tastiest salads I have ever had . Even my 4 year old loved it. So I had to try it at home . For me getting the dressing right was everything. And did I succeed .. nah!! Well the first few times I made it , the salad tasted fine but wasn’t spot on. I had referred to this salad recipe online but something was missing.
So on our recent visit to cheesecake we ordered the salad again and I requested some salad dressing on the side as well. Now was the real test of my palate . I scooped a spoon in the salad dressing and tasted it . Gosh !! it was so yum .. now I closed my eyes and tasted it again and again and again . My husband thought I was some crazy woman just slurping the dressing alone and not having the salad. But that was an important thing to do . Now that the taste was registered in my heart it took me only 2 more tries to perfect it. Yes we have been eating this homemade version more than twice this week itself , but no one is complaining . With a little tweaking and changes here and there , finally we have a winner….yayyyy!!!! It was worth all the effort . I owe you cheesecake factory for this one. Hope I did justice to this salad.
And the best part –
It’s vegan and gluten-free!!!
This salad is a must try at Cheesecake factory . But if you wanna save some time and money why not make it at home . It’s simple quick and filling and makes a great lunch pack for school and office. Always carry salad and dressing separately and simply mix it in just before eating.
Leftover dressing if any can be stored in the fridge upto 4 days.
What is this salad made of –
This salad has a mexican flare .
The base of most of the salads is greens – I have used kale and lettuce here.
I gotta tell you , if you haven’t used kale yet and if it’s easily accessible , then please please make it a part of your diet.
Kale is considered to be the king of greens. So healthy , low in calories and without any fat. It’s rich in vitamin’s , minerals and anti oxidants . You name it and it has it. It’s great for detox . For further benefit details please go through this link and you will be convinced .
Super Kale benefits- click here
For some sweetness I threw in some sweet corn , chopped some fresh tomatoes on vine.
For some crunch I have used green bell peppers .
If going the Mexican way how can I miss beans and avocados , avocados being my favorite super food always .
And a final sprinkle of crunchy tortilla strips – totally optional.
More variety means more nutrition .
The key to delicious salad is it’s dressing.
And this salad is all about the dressing
The dressing was based on the description on the menu. Rounded it up with some Mexican spices and most importantly peanut butter . Sounds off .. yeah I couldn’t decode it until I tasted it. Rounding it up with different textures and flavors in one bowl …. amazingly healthy and yum!
Wholesome and filling
Easy make ahead of time dressing
Makes great lunch box
Mexican salad with kale and santa fe dressing (vegan + gf )
- For salad
- 2-3 cups washed chopped kale
- 4 -5 cups chopped lettuce
- ½ cup beans
- ½ cup cubed tomatoes
- ½ cup sweet corn
- ¼ cup chopped bell peppers
- 2 avocados cubed
- For dressing –
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar/ white vinegar/ red wine vinegar*
- ½ cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon agave/ honey
- 2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Salt to taste
- In a big bowl roughly mix salad ingredients except avocados.
- In a blender/ mixer /food processor place all ingredients for the dressing and blend for a minute . Scrape sides and blend well until a smooth dressing. Taste test, refrigerate until use.
- Right before the meal , toss in 1 cup of dressing into the salad and coat well . Use more dressing if required. Top it with some chopped avocados and tortilla strips for complete yummy experience .
Add few tablespoons of water if the the dressing is thick.
Dressing keeps good in the fridge upto 4 days .
If kale isn’t available , substitute it with your favorite greens like variety of lettuce , arugula /rocket , baby spinach or even napa or purple cabbage .
Hope you like this recipe and do give it a try. I would love to hear from you. If you have tried any of my recipes do drop in a feedback in the comment section or on my Facebook page carveyourcraving in messages section and follow me on Pinterest .
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Thanks for stopping by.
Your site is full of awesome recipes.Have recently started trying your salad recipes. They are great! Just one silly doubt,will we able to have these veggies/greens raw?can we steam them ?
Thank you Kavya. Steaming veggies for this salad will take away the crunch. I suggest make it as mentioned. If any recipe calls for broccoli , peas, cauliflower, beets, edamame or sweet corn you may them.
This looks so good! I want to make it this wknd. Are you using 1 tbsp of all the vinegars you mentioned, or are those the vinegar options that could work and the recipe only calls for one tbsp?
Hi Ashley it’s only a tablespoon of vinegar of your choice.
Made this for lunch . Gave a lunch box to hubby dear. He specially called up to say that salad was fantastic . Thank you so much . Hugs!
Glad to hear that Janki, hugs back 😉
Thalia @ butter and brioche
i am loving this salad. i haven’t made a mexican inspired salad before but it looks like something i would LOVE.
Thank you Thalia , I am happy that you are interested in it. Do try these flavors someday :)It’s really yum
What can I use instead of honey?
I have mentioned agave nectar. You can even sub it with 1 teaspoon sugar, or even skip it.
Love the salad! It’s like an explosion of flavors and texture in one plate.