Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Southwest Pepper Jack Salad with Avocado Salsa Dressing

 Getting ready for a long weekend with Memorial Day with this must have Southwest Pepper Jack Salad! I love a good salad and especially where the lettuce is the afterthought! This salad is packed with black beans, red bell peppers, fresh sweet corn, sunflower seeds, pepper jack cheese and smothered in creamy avocado salsa dressing. And let's talk about the dressing! Salsa, cilantro, garlic, lime, jalapeno, pinch of smoked paprika and cumin blended with avocado and sour cream make for the perfect creamy dressing! This dressing literally could go on everything!

Southwest Pepper Jack Salad with Avocado Salsa Dressing

Southwest Salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 (15oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese, or more for taste
tortilla strips for salads

Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing:
1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup smooth salsa
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
juice from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
hot sauce to taste (optional)

Add all of the Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Add additional milk to thin to desired consistency if needed. Chill in the refrigerator, time permitting.
Add salad ingredients into a large bowl except the tortilla strips and toss to combine.
Toss salad with desired amount of dressing, (there will probably be some left over) or drizzle dressing over individual servings if not eating all of the salad immediately.
Garnish salad with tortilla strips and fresh cracked salt and pepper.

Adding the tortilla chips is the perfect crunch you need in every bite to keep you coming back for more. I love having texture in my salad so it doesn't get boring and with the combination of fresh, crunchy veggies, sunflower seeds and tortilla chips you won't be disappointed. The spicy pepper jack cheese with the creamiest dressing gives you all of your favorite Mexican flavors for the perfect salad! Literally could eat this every day and to make it a meal top it off with grilled chicken and don't forget to grab a cold Coca Cola! Try our favorite cherry coke here!

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