Mexican Salad with a Creamy Avocado Dressing is the perfect accompaniment to a heavy Mexican style meal. You can’t beat the fresh flavors and colorful ingredients of this popular Mexican side dish.
Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
It’s taco night, or maybe you’re serving enchiladas or burritos. So often the big question remains, what do I serve alongside a Mexican-inspired meal? Outside of chips and salsa or guacamole, it can be difficult to pinpoint the right side dish to compliment your meal.
So what is the best side to serve with tacos? For me, this Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing is packed with colorful veggies, a velvety avocado dressing and plant-based protein; all helping to make taco night a dinner success. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal.
With all the Mexican staples included in this salad, beans, tomatoes and avocado, served on a bed of crunchy romaine, every bite is not only refreshing, but a visual and tasty textural experience!
Ingredients For Mexican Salad
Ingredients for the salad itself are different than the ingredients used to make the dressing, which will be covered later in this post.
- corn chips – these can absolutely be any brand or flavored corn chip you choose. Crush, but do not pulverize them into tiny bits. They add great texture to this salad.
- pinto or black beans – either one works great. Make sure to drain and rinse them before using.
- romaine lettuce – the size of a head of romaine lettuce can vary greatly. Bagged romaine tends to be smaller than individually sold heads. So if your romaine heads are really small or really large, use an appropriate amount for the amount of people you want to serve. Most importantly make sure it’s crisp!
- tomatoes – grape or cherry tomatoes are going to provide the most flavor
- shredded cheddar cheese- sharp will have the most flavor, but regular and mild is okay too
- green onions – you can use both the green and white parts of the onion if you like
How To Make Mexican Salad At Home
Step 1. Chop romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2. Drain and rinse beans.
Step 3. Slice grape or cherry tomatoes in half.
Step 4. Crush corn chips into bite-sized pieces.
Step 5. Slice green onions.
Combine all ingredients if you are serving right away and you’re avocado dressing is ready to go.
Use a large enough bowl to fit all your romaine lettuce and additions. You should have enough room to toss the greens with the avocado dressing when it’s time to do that.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to use super-fresh and crisp lettuce for this salad. The dressing is heavy so limp lettuce is just not a good combination.
Look at how perfect these grape tomatoes are? Their color is off the charts.
Grape and cherry tomatoes can be more costly, but there is nothing worse than a flavorless tomato in a salad. I tend to shy away from the larger tomatoes these days unless they are homegrown.
Do you grow your own tomatoes? What type or what varieties do you grow?
Favorite Tomatoes Include:
- grape tomatoes
- pear tomatoes
- cherry tomatoes
- late-summer beefsteak tomatoes
- heirloom tomatoes
- vine-ripened roma tomatoes
In Oregon, late ripening tomatoes do best when grown at home.
If you purchase lettuce and are not using it right away, it is possible to keep it crisp in the refrigerator for longer.
How To Keep Lettuce Crisp In The Refrigerator
- Remove any damaged leaves from your lettuce and wash it thoroughly.
- Completely dry your lettuce.
- Wrap your dry lettuce in a paper towel and place it in a paper towel lined storage container or a plastic storage bag.
- Make sure your lettuce is stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
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If you have access to a salad spinner, it does a great job drying any lettuce you have washed.
You can also use a salad spinner to dry freshly washed lettuce, spinach, cabbage, vegetables, fruits and other salad ingredients.
If you have a salad spinner with a clear base, it can also double as a serving container. Making using a salad spinner even more efficient.
If you decide to prepare this salad early in the day, make sure the lettuce is completely dry and cover the bowl with a dry paper towel to keep the lettuce from becoming limp.
Because the shredded cheese in this recipe is not baked, you can absolutely use pre-shredded cheese in this salad to make it easier on yourself.
As an aside, pre-shredded cheese has added preservatives that keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag. When cooked, pre-shredded cheese does not meld together well. Again, it doesn’t matter for this recipe, but something to think about in the future.
Crush your corn chips into various sizes, but do not pulverize them. You want to be able to see them when the salad is tossed and they add great texture to this salad.
This recipe calls for two cups of corn chips, crushed. This means, measure out two cups of whole chips and then crush them.
Use any corn chip you love, even if it’s flavored. I love corn chips with added lime flavor, which are also great in this Mexican salad recipe.
How gorgeous is this salad? It is an absolutely beautiful presentation.
Toss the salad together, before adding the dressing. It makes it easier to mix up this way.
This creamy avocado dressing is absolutely one of my favorites. I use it on so many things, not just this salad. It even tastes drizzled over tacos.
I have also added this dressing to chunky guacamole. It’s absolutely fabulous.
Ingredients For Creamy Avocado Dressing
- mayonnaise – use any kind you have. An avocado based or olive oil based mayonnaise works well here, but does slightly change the flavor.
- hot sauce – use your favorite. The thicker the consistency of the sauce will help keep your dressing more thick…obviously.
- extra virgin olive oil – use your best as it will add to the flavor
- table salt – you are going to add salt to taste. It’s hard to give an exact amount since the size of your avocado will vary and may require more or less salt
- avocado – use a large (6-7 oz), ripe (not mushy) avocado
- fresh lemon juice – not from a bottle
- fresh garlic cloves – you can add them whole to your food processor
The fresher ingredients you use, the better your dressing is going to taste.
Have you ever used a hand-held lemon juice squeezer? This is the best way to extract juice from a lemon. It removes every bit of liquid from the lemon, leaving it completely dry.
If you have a high-powered blender, you can also make this dressing using that. If you have both, I recommend using the food processor.
Hass avocados are preferred in this recipe since they have a higher fat content than Florida avocados.
What variety of avocado do you normally buy?
When it come to hot sauce, I definitely have one. Read about my favorite hot sauce here.
I want to hear about your experience making this dressing. Let me know in the comments how it turned out.
Do you have any other Mexican salad dressings you love?
How To Make Creamy Avocado Dressing For Mexican Salad
Step 1. Combine all ingredients, except the salt, into the food processor.
Step 2. Process until smooth and creamy.
Step 3. Taste and add appropriate amount of salt according to your tastes.
Step 4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Step 5. Toss dressing with salad right before serving.
Keeping the dressing in the refrigerator for a few hours helps it thicken up.
Keep this avocado dressing in a tightly closed container or a mason jar while being stored in the refrigerator.
You can add an extra clove of garlic if you love a real garlic punch.
Will My Creamy Avocado Dressing Turn Brown?
Luckily, the mayonnaise, oil and fresh lemon juice will keep your dressing looking green and beautiful!
This is what your dressing will look like after it has been whirled up in the food processor.
It has a velvety texture and is super thick.
Place a large bowl of this salad on the dinner table and let everyone dig in as they please. It will soon be a favorite in your household.
Possible Salad Add-Ons:
- extra hot sauce
- black olives
- Cotija or Feta cheese
Serve As A Main Dish:
Add shrimp, sweet potatoes, chicken or flank steak.
While this a very simple recipe, the flavors are unbeatable. The creamy avocado dressing really hits the spot and is the perfect accompaniment to the enchiladas or burritos you will be making; not to mention the margaritas!
Whether you celebrate Cinco de Mayo or not you will enjoy the fresh Mexican flavors this salad has to offer.
Also the perfect potluck salad!
Mexican salad has a way of refreshing the taste buds while eating a lot of other heavy food.
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Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
For the Mexican Salad:
- 2 decently sized heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups corn chips, crushed
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can (15 oz) pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
- 5 green onions, chopped
For the Avocado Dressing:
- 1 large (6-7 oz) avocado
- 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- salt to taste*
- For the dressing, combine all ingredients (except the salt) in a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt according to your taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made ahead several hours.
- For the salad, combine all ingredients in a big serving bowl.
- Toss salad with dressing right before serving.
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