This salad is my copycat recipe for the Santa Fe Salad recipe from Earls restaurant. As a vegetarian, I'm usually limited to salads and appetizers (or some sad sort of veggie burger) at most big chain restaurants, and this salad is one of my go-to's when I eat at Earls because it's actually quite fresh, delicious, and filling. I absolutely love big salads, but they really need to have a lot of good flavours and textures going on to make a meal in themselves. The Santa Fe combines salty, earthy black beans, sweet corn and dates, and creamy avocado on top of crunchy romaine. The accompanying peanut lime dressing is rich, nutty, and garlic-y, yet light and fresh thanks to the citrus. Despite making a satisfying vegetarian main dish, I still don't believe in spending top dollar in a restaurant on a plate of vegetables - and why should a person have to when it is so easy to make your own version at home? Try it for yourself and see!
*Serves 2-4 depending on serving size
1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sweet corn (if using frozen then thaw first)
1/4 cup Medjool dates, roughly chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
Peanut Lime Dressing Ingredients:
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3-4 Tbsp. water
Sea salt, to taste
Prepare the peanut lime dressing by combining the ingredients in a small food processor, blender, or by shaking in a jar. Taste and adjust to your preference. Add more water or lime juice to thin it out if needed.
Toss the chopped romaine lettuce in the dressing until coated. You may have dressing leftover, so just store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Evenly divide the romaine onto serving plates and top with the cooked black beans, sweet corn, and dates. You can toss the ingredients together at this point or leave them as is. Finally, top with sliced avocado and another drizzle of dressing if desired. Serve immediately.
*Recipe by Brooke McMillan, inspired by Earls Restaurant