Guacamole Greens Salad with Cilantro Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette
Ok, here’s the deal on this guacamole greens salad.
I love salad. Salads are usually supporting acts to my meals. We have a small salad almost every night with dinner, but it takes a lot for me to feel completely satisfied with a salad…as a main course. It better have a lot going on, and there better be lots of texture and lots of flavor. [Oh hi, this salad!]
As you can imagine, since I’m t-minus 39 days away from our wedding and smack dab in the middle of dress fittings, salads have been promoted big time. It’s par with the course.
Thankfully, this hasn’t been much of a struggle, and this salad gets a lot of the credit for that.
This salad, which is brimming with all sorts of goodies (avocado, lime juice, grape tomatoes, roast chicken, red onion, and tortilla chips!), was inspired by the Guacamole Greens salad from the once little and local to Washington, DC–and now relatively huge–salad chain known as Sweetgreen.
I don’t visit it often (although I have ironically went there a few times directly after wedding dress fittings), but I recently decided that I had to recreate it for the blog and share it with all of you. Or at least, attempt to recreate it.
And let me tell you, with the powers of deduction and some careful analysis of my taste buds, I’m happy to report that I nailed this one.
I literally cannot tell the difference between my salad and theirs–and I promise, I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I wouldn’t do that to you. That’s cruel.
Obviously, the actual salad components were the easy part, the trickiest part to nail was the cilantro lime jalapeño vinaigrette. As with any good salad, the salad dressing is an integral part of the equation, so I knew this was the make-it-or-break-it element. Since salad dressings usually contain only a handful of ingredients, ratios are key.
This salad’s vinaigrette is all about the cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice.
It is bright, acidic, and incredibly light. The touch of jalapeño pepper (don’t worry, it’s not spicy!) and ground cumin round it out perfectly! Since you want the cilantro to be relatively finely chopped in the vinaigrette (similar in consistency to a pesto), the easiest way to make this vinaigrette is in a blender or small food processor.
Honestly, this salad vinaigrette could be used as an everyday salad vinaigrette for any occasion, but when tossed with these ingredients, particularly the creamy avocado chunks, it truly shines.
Although I grilled chicken breasts–seasoned with just salt and pepper–on a grill pan for this salad, you could easily use a rotisserie chicken or a leftover roast chicken, and it would have even more flavor.
Don’t forget to finish the salad with another squeeze of fresh lime juice! It’s the final touch.
Guacamole Greens Salad with Cilantro Lime Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Cilantro Lime Jalapeno Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 small strip of jalapeno pepper (seeds and ribs removed), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grapeseed (or other neutral/mild olive oil) oil
- small pinch of sugar (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- roughly 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt* (note: not all salts are created equal!)
- freshly ground black pepper
Guacamole Greens Salad:
- 4 ounces grilled chicken breast (or rotisserie or leftover roast chicken), cubed
- 3 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion ( roughly 1 ounce)
- 8-10 large corn tortilla chips (1 ounce), crushed lightly with hands
- 1 small avocado, pitted, and cut into medium chunks
- 3.5 ounces mixed spring greens
- wedge of lime
- lime cilantro jalapeno vinaigrette (see above--shake before using!)
- Prepare Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a blender, or small food processor bowl. Puree or pulse ingredients together, until mixture just begins to come together, and cilantro is still finely chopped. Set aside in a small container. Shake before using.
- In a large bowl, place the cooked chicken, halved tomatoes, diced red onion, crushed tortilla chips, avocado, and mixed spring greens. Squeeze the wedge of lime over the salad, then toss the salad lightly with lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
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