Do you ever have those lunches that you just love to splurge on? There are a lot of times I bring lunch to work only to change my mind and venture out for my favorite kale salad. My guilty pleasure is Chop’t – one of those chain salad joints where they toss an insane amount of vegetables into a bowl, chop it all up for you, and charge about $10-12 per salad. Try that 5 times a week and the wallet starts to feel a bit thinner. With my new deal with myself about bringing lunch to work to offset my gym membership, I really had to try to make my own version of my favorite salad. And I have to say – I was quite surprised with how it turned out!
While I was trying to recreate a salad, I was doing it with what I had on hand. So really, the main star of this post is the salad dressing. I am obsessed with the Chop’t version of a spicy, cilantro-y, lime-y dressing they call “Mexican Goddess” (fingers crossed that’s not trademarked or something). It’s amazing. What I came up with had the perfect kick – just like the Mexican Goddess – but was a bit creamier than the original, which I actually thought was even better. Tangy, a bit spicy, and extra creamy, this dressing is so good I have literally found every excuse to eat it. On salad? Done. On chopped veggies? Done. Even a little bit on some toast when I got real desperate. (I know, we might have to stage an intervention soon).
While the salad itself could use a bit more fancying up to compete with Chop’t, the dressing was spot on and more than made up for lack of ingredients in the salad.
What you’ll need: (dressing)
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 cup cilantro
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 clove roasted garlic (if you have it on hand – a raw clove would also work)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
- salt to taste
What you’ll need: (salad – 1 serving)
- 1 1/2 cups kale
- 1/4 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatos
- 2 teaspoons flax seeds
- (it would be even better with some corn, maybe some crunched up tortilla chips, and even some marinated tofu – that’s how I order it at Chop’t)
This is maybe my favorite part about this dressing. It is pretty much as easy as it gets. The hardest part was seeding the jalapeno and then forgetting to wash my hands and touching my face…whoops! Add all the ingredients, except salt, to a food processor and process until smooth. Then add a pinch of salt, blend again, and taste test until you get the flavor just right.
All of the lime juice not only helps to make the dressing extra-tangy, but it keeps the avocado from turning brown. Days later, the dressing still looked great and fresh. I don’t know how long it will keep in the fridge…mine was gone within 3 days.
I added a small amount of dressing to the salad ingredients, mixed it up well, and placed a few extra cilantro leaves on top for good measure. The dressing was nice and thick, but didn’t weigh the kale down, making it perfect for packing at lunch. This one is definitely on my go-to list now. It’s great even in this cold weather, and I bet it will be even better when summer rolls around again.
Don’t forget! Today is the LAST DAY to sign up for the vegan slow-cooker cookbook giveaway! The winner will be announced on Tuesday – sign up before it’s too late!