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Southwestern Salad

Spicy, crunchy and refreshing, this winter salad includes roasted butternut squash, avocado and jicama, plus black beans and cotija cheese, a hard Mexican cow’s milk cheese. It’s hearty enough for a complete meal.

Ingredients:

For the chipotle vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tsp. adobo sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the fried tortilla strips:

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 4 corn tortillas, each 6 inches in diameter, cut into
      1/4-inch strips
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 butternut squash, about 1 lb., peeled, seeded, cut into
      1/2-inch dice and roasted until tender
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green onion, green portion only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 lb. jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • Thinly sliced red onion for garnish
  • 2 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)

Directions:

To make the vinaigrette, in a blender, combine the lime juice, agave nectar, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce, mustard and olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the fried tortilla strips, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the tortilla strips and quickly toss them to prevent sticking. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the fried tortilla strips to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, squash, black beans, cherry tomatoes and green onion. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat well, adding more vinaigrette to taste. Transfer to a platter. Top with the avocado, jicama, red onion and fried tortilla strips, and sprinkle with the cheese. Drizzle with a little more vinaigrette and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen