Fresh and flavorful Mexican Chopped Salad paired with Chipotle Dressing is perfect for entertaining, as a light side dish or a complete vegan meal. You’ll love how quickly this delicious chopped salad bowl comes together….you can have this on the table in under 15 minutes.
This post has been updated from the original posted July 7, 2021.
I’ve had this Mexican Chopped Salad on repeat over here. I take it to every pot-luck, BBQ and gathering and serve it at least once a week at home. That oil-free chipotle dressing really pulls the salad together and everyone adores it.
There’s no need to buy one of those chopped salad kits when it’s so easy to make your own! This chopped Mexican salad is made with canned beans, fresh veggies and a dressing that comes together in just 5-minutes.
Why you will love it
- Crisp, fresh, flavorful.
- The dressing is DEE-lish! Creamy, dreamy and vegan too.
- Super satisfying…loaded with plant-based fiber and protein. It can be served as a meal or a side salad.
- Versatile: use ingredients you have on hand. Any chopped veggies are great.
- MEAL PREP FRIENDLY: Make both the salad ingredients and the dairy-free chipotle dressing in advance. Toss when you’re ready to serve.
- Easy to prepare. Seriously, no special skills are required. I bet you can chop the ingredients in under 10 minutes.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- GREENS: I used a head of romaine, stacked and chopped. You could also use spring mix, spinach, red leaf, arugula or massaged kale. Whatever greens you have or a combo of your favorites will work well.
- JICAMA: Jicama is 90% water, super refreshing and adds a nice crisp crunch to this recipe. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, plus it contains antioxidants. I show you below what it looks like and how to easily peel and cube. A good substitution, if you don’t have access to jicama and are looking for added crunch is celery, water chestnuts, kohlrabi or daikon radish.
- CABBAGE: I used purple cabbage because I love the color, plus adding a variety of colors correlates with a diversity of nutrition. It’s important for gut health to have a wide variety of plants in your diet. Green cabbage, savoy cabbage, napa cabbage or bok choy would be terrific choices too.
- BEANS: Whatever you have on hand is fine. I usually use black beans, red kidney beans or pinto beans in this recipe. They add fiber and plant based protein to make this salad satisfying and nutritious.
- FRESH CILANTRO: YUM!!! One of my favorite fresh herbs. If you don’t have/don’t care for cilantro, try adding some fresh parsley or oregano.
- RADISHES: Any kind will work well and add a little zing to this salad. Watermelon radishes are so pretty, so are purple daikon. You can also use regular white daikon radish, white salad turnips, or chopped fennel.
- CUCUMBERS: I like to use small persian cukes because their skin isn’t as thick and they have less seeds. But any cucumber will add crunch, color and additional water and fiber to this salad.
- RED ONION: I add onions for a punch of flavor. Good substitutions are scallions, green salad onions, fresh chives, shallots or leeks. If you’re on a low FODMAP diet, just skip this ingredient all together.
- CHIPOTLE SALAD DRESSING: This vegan and gluten-free dressing, is easy to make, will last 2 weeks in your fridge and is creamy, tasty and loaded with nutrition. Other good options include: Avocado Lime Dressing, or a Simple Vinaigrette.
- OPTIONAL: seeds or nuts. I love toasted sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, or pepitas on this salad. Chunks or slices of avocado are also a nice treat. More fresh herbs are also super flavor enhancers.
How to buy and prepare Jicama
- How to buy and store Jicama: Choose a medium sized jicama, anything too large will be dry and fibrous inside. Look for smooth skin that has no soft, bruised or wet spots. Fresh jicama will last, uncut in your fridge for up to 2 weeks, stored with a paper towel in a plastic bag.
- Cut a thin slice off both ends so the jicama will sit flat on a cutting board. Cut, close the skin around from top to bottom in small sections. Keep turning slightly to get to the next section unti lyou’ve make it all the way around. Trim off any remaining skin. A sharp knife and a wooden board make this task easier.
- Cut peeled jicama in half, then into long ½″ slices.
- Turn jicama the other direction and slice into ½″ slices and then turn those slices on their sides to cut again. You will have ½″ cubes. The entire process should take about 2-3 minutes.
How to make Mexican Chopped Salad
First gather all your ingredients. Wash, chop or slice all the veggies. Rinse and drain the beans.
Place your greens on the bottom of a large bowl, then add remaining salad ingredients. You can prepare the salad up to this point, cover and refrigerate until ready to proceed. For meal prep, omit the beans until ready to toss and serve. Chopped veggies and greens will stay good in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week, stored with a paper towel.
Make the Chipotle Salad Dressing
Next you’ll make the chipotle dressing, that uses simple pantry ingredients. Throw beans, nut butter, vinegar, dates, garlic, paprika, salt, chipotle chili powder and water into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Dressing can be prepared in advance and stored in a covered jar for up to 2 weeks.
Pour dressing over prepared salad. Start with about half the dressing. Toss well. Add more dressing, as needed. Serve with additional fresh cilantro, chopped avocado and some additional dressing to pass around. Sprinkle on some seeds or nuts for additional crunch.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Chop all your veggies at once to cut down on clean up time.
- Choose colorful veggies….because we eat with our eyes first.
- Use what’s in season! Vary your greens each time you make this.
- Make this your signature dish to bring to every pot-luck, BBQ, picnic, or party. Prep in advance and toss when you get there.
- Set up a salad bar and let everyone choose what they want in their salad bowl.
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Mexican Chopped Salad with Chipotle Dressing
- 1 head romaine lettuce washed and chopped*
- 2 cups purple cabbage roughly chopped
- 1 cup jicama peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch radishes sliced thinly
- 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained*
- ½ cup sunflower seeds toasted and salted
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced white and green parts
- 1 cup cucumbers diced
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
Chipotle Salad Dressing
- 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup drippy nut or seed butter
- 4 medjool dates pitted*
- 1 large clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder*
- ¾-1 cup water
- Put all ingredients (starting with ¾ cup water) for dressing in food processor or blender. Blend until fully mixed. Scrape down the sides and blend again. Add more water 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency for a pourable dressing. Set aside.
- PREP VEGGIES: Peel and chip jicama into bite sized cubes. Roughly chop cabbage, slice radish and scallions. Dice cucumber and chop cilantro. Stack romaine and then thinly slice or chop into bite sized pieces.
- Place greens, chopped veggies, cilantro and beans into a large bowl. Pour on ½ the dressing plus sunflower seeds and mix well. Add in more dressing, to taste, toss again and serve.
- Remaining dressing can be stored in the fridge with a container with lid for up to 2 weeks. If dressing thickens up too much in the fridge, whisk in 1-2 Tablespoons warm water.