It's a warm, sunny day in the Southwest, and I find myself at the Albuquerque Downtown Grower's Farmers Market, surrounded by a bounty of fresh produce and the quirky charm of downtown ABQ. The colorful array of ingredients instantly inspires me to create something special, something that captures the essence of this lively region.
As I stroll through the market, my eyes are drawn to the heartiest of Romaine lettuces, bright and crisp. It's the perfect canvas for what would soon become my Southwest Chopped Salad, featuring the bold and smoky flavors of Hatch Green Chiles.
The idea takes shape—a loaded salad featuring fresh vegetables, protein-packed chicken, and zesty black beans, all coming together in a symphony of flavors. But what truly makes this salad shine is the Green Chile-Cilantro Vinaigrette—a spicy, tangy elixir that would add the perfect kick, featuring the unmistakable taste of Hatch Green Chiles.
I want this recipe to be not only delicious but also accessible for busy weeknights, so I decide to incorporate rotisserie chicken, making it quick and easy to prepare without sacrificing taste.
Back in my kitchen, I assemble the salad. The romaine leaves, crisp and inviting, serve as the base. I toss them in a generous drizzle of the Green Chile-Cilantro Vinaigrette, ensuring each leaf is lightly coated. This little trick prevents over-dressing, allowing the excess to stay in the mixing bowl.
Next, I arrange the ingredients meticulously. The corn kernels add a sweet crunch, while the black beans bring a hearty, protein-packed dimension. Slices of red onion and creamy avocado lend a burst of color and texture. Cherry tomatoes, juicy and vibrant, add a burst of freshness.
And let's not forget the star of the show—the rotisserie chicken, shredded and tender, bringing a delightful savory element to the ensemble. To crown this culinary creation, I sprinkle crumbled Cotija cheese for a touch of creaminess and saltiness that balances the heat of the dressing.
Finally, the pièce de résistance—the Green Chile-Cilantro Vinaigrette. I blend together extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, fresh cilantro, Dijon mustard, lime juice, honey, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. But the real magic happens when I add a tablespoon of Chopped Chile Co. Hatch Green Chiles, infusing the dressing with that distinct Southwestern spice.
The result is a Southwest Chopped Salad with Hatch Green Chile-Cilantro Vinaigrette that's not just a meal but a culinary revelation—a burst of fresh flavors, a nod to the Southwest, and a reminder that simple ingredients, when combined with care and creativity, can elevate any dish. Enjoy the taste of the Southwest in every bite!