This array of unique Mexican salads will liven up any meal this summer! They range from Jicama Pico de Gallo-a zesty, crunch, delicious treat to Wilted Cabbage Salad, to Rice Salad Santiago, to Avocado-Tomato Salad, Teaque Slaw to Summer Nopales Salad, Chopped Mexican Medley Salad and finally, the world-famous Caesar Salad, which was created in Tijuana. Every single one will bring the exotic flavors of Mexico straight to your kitchen table! Try one. Try them all!
JICAMA PICO DE GALLO
Pico de Gallo (pronounced GUY-yo) is half salsa and half salad. What makes this recipe unique is the jicama, a crunchy white root vegetable served all over Mexico. Served on a bed of lettuce, this side dish is great with Fajitas or most chicken and fish entrees. Serves eight and takes about 20 minutes to make.
3 cups jicama, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and slivered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and slivered
10 radishes, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
Combine jicama, peppers, radishes, onion and cucumber. Mix together oil, vinegar and oregano. Pour over vegetables and mix lightly. Add salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve on chilled plates.
WILTED CABBAGE SALAD
I love Wilted Cabbage Salad. This recipe is derived from the salad at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in San Diego. I guarantee that you'll love it. It's delicious, it's light and it's real change of pace from beans and rice. Serves eight and takes 30 minutes to prepare.
2 small heads shredded cabbage
2 cups chopped celery
3 tomatoes, diced
12 radishes, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
In a large bowl, toss together chopped cabbage, celery tomatoes, radishes and garlic. Refrigerate for up to three hours. Just prior to serving, mix vinegar, oil and spices in a small bowl. Heat for 45 - 60 seconds in a small saucepan or in the microwave, until hot. Pour over cabbage salad, toss and serve immediately.
RICE SALAD SANTIAGO
This is an unexpected and original way to serve rice. Try this vegetable-laden, healthy salad with cold meats or any chicken dish for a light dinner. I'm sure you'll love it as much as my family does. Serves eight and takes less than an hour to prepare.
4 cups chilled, cooked white rice
1 cup chilled, thinly sliced cooked carrots
1 cup chilled, cooked cauliflower-ettes
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced white part only
Combine rice, carrots, cauliflower-ettes, tomato and green onions in large salad bowl. Combine oil, vinegar and onion juice, vinegar, and all spices in small jar. Shake well. Pour over salad and toss lightly. Garnish with salad olives.
AVOCADO - TOMATO SALAD
I created this recipe on a camping trip to Bahía de Los Angeles. I'd forgotten to pack any vegetable or olive oil in our motor home, but since we'd shopped in Ensenada on our way south, I did have plenty of avocados, so I decided to let the natural oils inherent in the avocados act as my salad oil. It worked! They blended with the other ingredients to make create a remarkable and delicate salad. For a dish that started out as a semi-accident, this turned out to be really, really good. It serves eight and takes 20 minutes to prepare.
4 large ripe avocados
8 tomatoes, diced
2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 large radishes, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch cilantro with stems removed & diced
1/2 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
ground pepper to taste
To line plates:
1 large head romaine lettuce
Cut avocados in half. Remove seed and peel each half. Cut into one inch chunks. Place in medium sized bowl with tomatoes, onion, red and green bell peppers, radishes, garlic and cilantro. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt and pepper.
Toss gently. Refrigerate, covered up to three hours. Line chilled salad plates with romaine leaves. Spoon avocado-tomato mixture on top of each bed of lettuce.
My friend Leslie was raised in New Mexico and then in El Centro, just a few miles from the Mexican border town of Mexicali. A wife of one of the bruseros (or farm hands) who worked for her dad, passed this recipe on to Leslie's mom a number of years ago. The first time she made it, Leslie explained that it's better the second day-and my birthday was the next day-so she made it the day ahead. The problem was, by the next morning it was long gone! There were five of us staying in our La Bufadora house, and even though she made a double batch, between us, we annihilated it! This slaw (pronounced Tay-AH-kay) is that good-and it's simple to make too. Serves six and takes 20 minutes to prepare.
1 large head cabbage, shredded
1 lb Chihuahua or Jack cheese, grated
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
2 - 3 fresh jalapenos, chopped (canned can be substituted)
1/4 cup cilantro
Combine all ingredients and chill overnight (if you're lucky) in the refrigerator.
"THE" ORIGINAL TIJUANA CAESAR SALAD
Not too many people know that the Caesar Salad originated in Tijuana. This famous salad is now served all over Baja Mexico, where white-jacketed waiters slide carts alongside diners' tables and whip these salads together with great pomp and circumstance. The Caesar Salad is an edible art form in Mexico and one you should go out of your way to try in your travels south of the border.
A few words about Tijuana. Did you know it boasts the busiest border in the entire world?! True! It's also the largest city in Baja, with a population estimated at 1.5 million. It hit its stride as a border city in that interesting span of time from 1920 -1933 when Prohibition eliminated legal partying in the U.S. All of a sudden cantinas (bars) and casinos sprang up all over the place as the gringos flocked to Tijuana to play. When Prohibition was repealed, the government made Tijuana into a duty free port and it quickly became a destination for worldclass shoppers. These days you can buy Cuban cigars-legally there as Aeromexico flies to Havana from Tijuana daily. Do the gringos buy them? You bet they do!
Back to the salad. Nowadays anybody can buy bottled Caesar dressing and whip together a Caesar Salad in just a few minutes. No big deal. But-if you want to try the "real thing," try this recipe. It's been around a lot longer than I have and it has achieved universal fame. Deservedly so. Trust me, it's more than worth the effort, even if you make it in the kitchen and not tableside! Serves six and takes about 45 minutes to prepare.
1 large or 2 small heads romaine lettuce
1 - 2 tsp anchovy paste
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh if possible)
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
l coddled (boiled l minute) egg - (optional)
To make croutons, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut bread into half inch chunks. Melt butter with parsley and garlic. Toss with bread until evenly coated. Place on baking sheet and bake until crisp and lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes, turning when half-cooked. Cool on paper towels.
To make dressing, combine anchovy paste, lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire Sauce, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, salt and pepper in jar. Shake well until mixed. Refrigerate at least an hour.
To make salad, rinse romaine leaves and tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in chilled salad bowl. When croutons have completely cooled, add them to salad. Immediately before serving, break coddled egg into dressing, pour over greens and toss gently. Serve immediately.
CHOPPED MEXICAN MEDLEY SALAD
This tangy, crunchy salad is "to die for." Its combination of flavors makes it perfect with spring and summer meals. It's a one-of-a-kind subtropical Mexican treat, no doubt about it. Serves eight and takes 20 minutes to prepare.
1 1/2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
1 1/2 pounds jicama, peeled and finely diced
6 seedless Oranges, peeled and chopped into squares
2 red onions, finely diced
1 medium bunch cilantro, stems removed & finely diced
4 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large bell pepper, finely diced
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Chill in refrigerator up to four hours. Right before serving, add salad dressing ingredients, one at a time to the salad. Toss lightly and serve.
SUMMER NOPALES SALAD
You can pick the nopales (tender, young prickly pear shoots) yourself in spring and early summer if you live in the southwest. Or, if you have a Hispanic market near your home, you can buy fresh nopales already cut and cleaned in the produce section or buy them canned here at mexgrocer. Either way, you will be able to make this festive, original and surprisingly delicious salad for yourself. Serves six and takes 20 minutes to prepare (if you use canned nopales).
2 pounds of nopales (tender, young prickly pear shoots), cleaned and cooked 1203
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 quarts water
2 onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
If using freshly picked nopales, soak in water until thorns are soft, then remove with the point of a knife. Cut into strips one inch long. Place in Dutch oven and add water, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion. Heat to boiling and simmer 20 minutes. Drain and wash them, discarding all excess liquid. (Note: Only canned nopales are pre-cooked. Fresh store-bought nopales come cleaned but must be cooked.)
Put nopales in salad bowl with chopped onion, celery, cilantro and tomatoes. Toss with salad dressing and mozzarella cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and chill. Immediately before serving, top with Parmesan cheese.
Please visit our top Mexican food recipes section at Top Mexican recipes
Recipe and tips provided by Ann Hazard.