In Florida, summer can start in April. Hot, sultry days and warm, breezy nights. The kind of climate where the thought of turning on the stove or oven seems like an affront to the air conditioning that’s working overtime to keep the sauna-like temperatures at bay. On days like this, I find it’s better to forage in the fridge for dinner.
That’s what happened last night. It was too hot to cook and I had enough fresh vegetables in the crisper drawer to make me think I didn’t have to.
A cool salad — with a Southwestern twist. That sounded good!
I had some leftover grilled flank steak, corn on the cob and a can of black beans… Definitely the makings of something good. I always have a supply of different cheeses on hand and the queso fresco (left over from last week’s chicken tacos) was perfect with this combination.
To bring it all together with that smoky, spicy southwestern-ness, I made a simple lime vinaigrette with some cumin and chili powder. Yum.
What I like about this kind of meal, is that you make the most of what you have on hand. If you have leftover chicken instead of steak — use it instead, it will be delicious. No queso fresco? Substitute some shredded cheddar.
Add chopped jicama or green onions. Or don’t. Hate cilantro? Skip it. Pass on the chipotle if you don’t like heat. Add sliced jalapenos if you do.
Make it your own, and don’t work up a sweat! It’s just dinner, after all.
Southwestern Steak Salad
- 6 cups of lettuces I used a blend of arugula, bibb and red leaf
- 1 ear corn kernels removed or 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 7 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 ripe avocado sliced or cut into bite size chunks
- 1/2 cup queso fresco crumbled
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 hardboiled eggs halved or quartered
- 1/2 pound leftover steak very thinly sliced
- For vinaigrette
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the lettuce, corn, black beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, queso fresco, jalapeno and cilantro and toss to combine. Add a about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing and toss to combine.
- Arrange the sliced steak and avocado over the salad. Slice the eggs in half and tuck into the salad. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.
More Dinner Salads: