Spring Salad with Jalapeno Lemon Vinaigrette

springsalad-1.jpg

I always order the same salad from Sweetgreen: Caesar, hold the tomatoes, hold the Caesar dressing, add almonds, add avocado and sub in cilantro lime vinaigrette. It basically isn't a Caesar salad...LOL. I can see my sister now, shaking her head, laughing at my ridiculousness. What can I say, I like what I like and I want it the way I want it.

But two things in particular I LOVE about this salad -- the pecorino crisps and the cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette. The cheese crisps are BRILLIANT because they remove the need for a crispy crouton and add a bit of a salty bite. Seriously, you’re going to love it. And you can just give me anything with jalapeño and I’ll eat. Love me a jalapeño.

springsalad-9.jpg

But there’s this thing where the salad is a bazillion dollars to purchase from Sweetgreen. so I decided make this on my own with all my favorite things and THEN some. I also pack my lunch for work almost everyday to make sure I stay on budget and energized…and you know? This salad passes with FLYING colors. No sad, wilty salads thrown together at the last minute, oh no. In short: this is a vry vry #notsaddesklunch.

It’s worth noting that I used Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan, because it’s a bit healthier and easier to digest, but you can easily just swap for parm if you prefer. 

springsalad-7.jpg

Spring Salad with Jalapeno Lemon Vinaigrette (a la my fav Sweetgreen salad formula)

(Serves 2-3 large portions or more small portions)

Ingredients

Pecorino Crisps:

  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Jalapeno Cilantro Dressing:

  •  2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 strip of jalapeno pepper (seeds and ribs removed), finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil

  • A big pinch of salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 head of Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup of red cabbage sliced fine
  • 1 small avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (free range), chopped

Directions:

1. First, make the pecorino crisps. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a 1/2 tbsp to heap the pecorino on a parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat the heaps down. Repeat until you run out of cheese. Bake the cheese for 3-5 minutes or until the heaps are golden and crispy. Once they crisp, it will burn pretty quickly so keep a tight eye on these. ;D Let cool.

2. Next, make the dressing. Put the lemon, cilantro, jalapeño, oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender and blend up until everything is integrated and a dressing forms. Taste and adjust acid/salt to taste.

3. Assemble the salad. Put the chopped romaine, red cabbage, avocado, toasted almonds and diced chicken breasts in a large salad bowl, reserving a little bit of the toppings to put on top at the end. Break up the cooled pecorino crisps so they’re small pieces and put in the bowl, as well. Pour in your dressing and toss the salad. Salt and pepper/season to taste from there. 


springsalad-4.jpg

And that’s it! If you’re vegetarian and don’t want to do chicken, feel free to add extra veggies like raw green peppers, carrots or anything else that sounds good. We’re not trying to be rigid here. 

I am obsessed with this salad and plan on making it all the time, especially if pecorino crisps are involved!

What are your favorite salad ingredients?