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Mexican Salad {Vegetarian with Lime Dressing} – WellPlated.com

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Mexican Salad {Vegetarian with Lime Dressing} – WellPlated.com


With a creamy lime dressing, tender roasted sweet potatoes, and other healthy ingredients, this easy Mexican Salad recipe is (literally) the salad of my dreams!

A healthy Mexican salad bowl with pepitas, sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn chips

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Last night, I dreamed about a salad.

Really, Erin? You dream about a salad of all things?

Well, let me tell you, if you dreamed about the BEST Mexican salad loaded with jalapeño, crushed corn chips, and a zippy lime dressing that makes every forkful more captivating than the last, you might just wish you dreamed about salad too.

Crisp, flavorful, and filling, this easy Mexican salad recipe is the perfect blend of textures and flavor (like this Mexican Pasta Salad).

After trying it once, I promise it will become the salad you not only dream about by night but also inflict daydreams of far-off white sandy beach vacations (with a Skinny Margarita in hand) as your polish off every last bite.

A healthy Mexican salad without corn and traditional flavors from black beans, jalapeno, corn chips, and cilantro lime dressing

5 Star Review

“We made this Mexican salad for a family birthday dinner and it was a hit! We will definitely be making this salad often.”

— Marie —

How to Make Mexican Salad

This modern take on a traditional Mexican salad keeps core Mexican flavors and ingredients but gives them a wholesome spin (like this popular Taco Skillet).

Tip!

Make this soup your own with a custom medley of vegetables. For tips and seasoning suggestions, check out my ultimate guide to Oven Roasted Vegetables.


The Ingredients

  • Sweet Potatoes. Packed with fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, sweet potatoes keep this salad filling and satisfying while adding a lovely sweetness to contrast the spicy notes of this salad.
  • Spices. A traditional blend of Southwest flavors, including cumin and chili powder, perfectly seasons the sweet potatoes. (I use a similar seasoning for this Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad.)
  • Romaine. My pick for a hearty salad green that won’t overtake other ingredients. It has a mild flavor that allows the other ingredients to shine while adding a nice crunch to every bite.

Market Swap

You can swap the romaine for a different salad green of your choice. Baby spinach, mixed field greens, or chopped kale are other nutrient-dense options.

  • Black Beans. Lends this vegetarian Mexican salad (and this Black Bean Corn Salad) extra fiber and plenty of plant-based protein.
  • Tomatoes. For color, moisture, and traditional Mexican flair.
  • Jalapeño. Kick up the heat.

Ingredient Note

Remove the seeds and membrane from the pepper for a more mild Mexican salad. You may also omit the jalapeño entirely if you’re particularly sensitive to spicy foods.

  • Cilantro. For freshness and authentic Mexican flavor.
  • Creamy Lime Dressing. Made with creamy Greek yogurt, plenty of lime juice, and a bit of garlic and cumin for depth, it’s the perfect finish for this healthy Mexican salad bowl.

Substitution Tip

The dressing from this Grilled Corn Salad is another excellent Mexican-inspired salad dressing option to consider for this salad.

  • Pepitas. Contribute healthy fats and a satisfying crunch.

Optional Mexican Salad Topping Ideas

Finish this salad with one or more of the following toppings to make it your own:

  • Corn. Corn is a classic ingredient in many traditional Mexican salad recipes (and Mexican Corn Dip). Feel free to toss it in here too. You can use grilled, canned, or frozen (and thawed) corn.
  • Cheese. Feta, goat cheese, and queso fresco are my personal faves. Shredded cheddar or pepper jack would, of course, be delicious choices too.
  • Avocado. For additional creaminess and an extra dose of healthy fats. You could also add a dollop of my Best Guacamole Recipe.
  • Tofu. For some extra plant-based protein, top the salad with the sautéed tofu from this recipe for Tofu Tacos.
  • Grains. Add cooked quinoa, bulgur, or farro to turn this into a hearty Mexican salad bowl.

The Directions

roasted sweet potatoes on a sheet pan is a fun twist on traditional Mexican salads
  1. Roast the sweet potatoes.

TIp!

Make sure to do this step first. While they roast, you can wash and chop the other Mexican salad vegetables while the sweet potatoes cook.

  1. Whisk together the creamy lime dressing ingredients. Add the lettuce to a bowl and toss it with a bit of dressing. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, toss, then drizzle on additional dressing.
  2. Top with tortilla chips and other optional toppings. ENJOY!
The BEST Mexican salad for a crowd with lettuce, beans, sweet potatoes, and cilantro lime dressing

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place Mexican salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. If possible, store your dressing in a separate container and your tortilla chips at room temperature.

Meal Prep Tip

For a Mexican salad jar that’s perfect for on-the-go lunches:

  • Prepare all ingredients of the Mexican salad, but do not add the dressing or tortilla chips to the other ingredients.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the bottom of a large container or individual mason jars.
  • Add the salad ingredients on top.
  • Place your desired amount of tortilla chips in a ziptop bag, and store outside of the refrigerator until serving.
  • When ready to enjoy your Mexican salad jar, shake up the prepared container to toss the ingredients with the dressing. Sprinkle with your tortilla chips, and enjoy!

Make Ahead

  • Option 1. You can prep all ingredients (except the tortilla chips) and keep them separate or mixed together. Prepare the dressing, but leave it off the Mexican salad for now. I recommend waiting to add the creamy lime dressing until a few hours before you serve it and waiting to add the tortilla chips until just before serving, so they stay crunchy.
  • Option 2. Just toast your pepitas and roast the sweet potatoes ahead of time. Store the sweet potatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and pepitas at room temperature. Having these two ingredients ready and on-demand cuts down the prep time for nights when you’re in a hurry.
A healthy Mexican Salad bowl with lettuce, beans, tomatoes, avocado, and corn chips and other traditional flavors

What to Serve with Mexican Salad

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Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Sheet Pan. For toasting, roasting, baking, and everything in between!
  • Chef’s Knife. A sharp knife for chopping ingredients is a must-have tool for any kitchen.
  • Serving Bowl. This beauty will turn this recipe into a show-stopping centerpiece if making this Mexican salad for a crowd.

The Best Knife Set

This 18-piece knife set is well balanced, has ergonomic handles, and is made with high quality stainless steel.

A healthy Mexican salad bowl with lettuce, beans, tomatoes, avocado and tortilla strips

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Oh, Mexican salad, you are what salad dreams (or typical Erin dreams) are made of!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make Mexican Salad Vegan?

To make this easy Mexican salad recipe vegan, omit the cheese as a topping or swap it for your favorite vegan-style cheese shreds. When making the dressing, swap the Greek yogurt for your favorite plain dairy-free yogurt.

Can I Make The Mexican Salad Dressing Without Garlic?

Sure! While I have not tried the dressing without garlic before, you may certainly omit it from the recipe if that is your preference. The flavor will be a bit different but delicious nonetheless, I’m sure.

For the Salad:

  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks (about 2 pounds or 5 cups raw or 3 1/3 cups roasted)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 can reduced-sodium black beans (15 ounces) drained and rinsed
  • 1 small jalapeño* thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small bunch radishes thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro packed
  • Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese, or queso fresco (optional, for serving)
  • Tortilla strips or crushed chips (optional, for serving)
  • Sliced avocado (optional, for serving)

For the Dressing:**

  • 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lime (about 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the pepitas in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast until the pepitas turn darker (they’ll be a deep goldish brown) and are fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the pepitas to a small plate or bowl. Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

  • On a rimmed baking sheet (I use the same one I toasted the pepitas on to save a dish; just brush it off first), toss sweet potatoes with the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt until evenly coated. Spread into an even layer and roast until browned and tender, 20 to 22 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Let cool slightly.

  • Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients: Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime zest and juice, garlic, salt, and cumin. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. The dressing should taste very bright and limey—its flavor will mellow once tossed with the other ingredients.

  • In a large bowl, place the chopped romaine hearts. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss to moisten.

  • Add the sweet potatoes, beans, jalapeno, radish, and cilantro, then drizzle on another 1/4 cup of dressing. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with tortilla strips. Enjoy, with extra dressing as desired.

  • *JALAPENO NOTE: For a more mild salad, you can remove the seeds and membrane from the pepper if desired. You may also omit the jalapeno entirely if you’re particularly sensitive to spicy foods.
  • **DRESSING NOTE: This recipe yields about 3/4 cup of dressing. Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight storage container.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN/DAIRY FREE: Swap a non-dairy yogurt for the Greek yogurt or use the dressing from this Grilled Corn Salad instead; omit the cheese.
  • TO STORE: Mexican salad may be kept in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. If possible, store your dressing in a separate container, and keep your tortilla chips outside of the refrigerator to keep crisp.
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: You can prep all the ingredients for the salad (except the tortilla chips) and keep them separate or mix them together. Prepare the dressing, but store it separately from the Mexican salad ingredients. I recommend waiting to add the creamy cilantro lime dressing until a few hours before you serve it and waiting to add the tortilla chips until immediately before serving, so they stay crunchy.
  • See the full blog post above for more tips on making this Mexican salad for meal prep!

Serving: 1(of 6); about 2.75 cups without optional toppingsCalories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 10gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 1mgPotassium: 760mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 11718IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 3mg

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Related Recipes

For more fun variations on traditional Mexican salads, try one of these other south-of-the-border salad recipes:

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