Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a salad for 50 people as part of a Mexican buffet supper. It should have crunch, be good with tacos and enchiladas, not wilt if it sits for several hours, be flavorful, colorful, and healthy, plus vegetarian with no avocados. The mission was not impossible. I accepted the challenge since after all I did offer; and it was for my good friend’s daughter’s engagement party.
First step, do some research on the internet. Unfortunately it yielded too many salads with avocado (the groom-to-be is allergic), black beans (too heavy with the rest of the menu), lettuce (sure to wilt), or mayonnaise (I don’t want food poisoning to ruin the celebration). No recipe was exactly how I envisioned the salad. What to do?
Shredded cabbage and jicama for crispness and sweetness.
Carrots for color and crunch.
Radishes and red onion for heat.
Sweet peppers for color and flavor.
And fresh farmer’s market corn for creaminess and starch, to pull things together.
I don’t have an exact recipe. Cut the proportions by 1/4 for a smaller group. You won’t mind having leftovers!
Mexican Vegetable Salad (50 cups)
- 2 heads of green cabbage, shredded
- 10 carrots, shredded
- 4 red onions, sliced
- 3 bunches of radishes, sliced
- 10 sweet peppers, sliced thinly
- 1 very large jicama, sliced thinly
- 8 ears of corn, cooked slightly (4 minutes each in the microwave)
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish and flavor at the end, 1-2 bunches
Now on to the dressing, I wanted something tart but with a touch of sweetness and some heat as well. I think the combination of lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño will do the job.
Mexican Honey-Lime Dressing (makes 4 1/2 cups)
- 10 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 jalapeños, minced
- 6 tablespoons of honey
- 1 rounded tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1-2 tablespoons of kosher salt (taste)
- 2 cups of lime juice (about 12 limes)
- 2 cups of olive oil
- Chop the garlic and jalapenos finely (I used my food processor)
- Mix with the honey, add the cumin and salt.
- Whisk in the lime juice.
- Whisk in the olive oil.
- Prepare this several hours ahead and refrigerate to give flavors time to
I did all of the above in the large food processor. Be careful that your own doesn’t overflow (mine did). If you make a large quantity I recommend two batches.
And I’m saving the best part till last…this is fantastic as a left over. It keeps well, is wonderfully crunchy for lunches, and makes a wonderful Mexican fried rice.
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- When hot add a slurry of olive oil, about 3 tablespoons.
- Cover the bottom of the skillet with leftover rice (brown or white), I made about a 1 inch layer. Add some leftover meat if available on top (I had some sausages from Sunday super).
- Let the rice brown for several minutes until it turns crusty on the bottom, then stir it up.
- Add the Mexican vegetable salad, a few good sized handfuls. Saute for a couple of minutes, you want the vegetables to still be crisp.
- Add some dressing for flavor.
- You could add a poached or fried egg on top, or grated cheese, or cubes of feta, or avocado, or cilantro. Use what you have in your kitchen and your taste favors that day.
I am going to take this dish to Fiesta Friday sponsored by Angie of the Novice Gardener. This week’s co-hosts are
Please come visit all the yummy food that has been prepared by the talented cooks who are part of the party. Angie from the blog The Novice Gardener is our host. The fiesta is co-hosted by Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and from Quinn @ Dad Whats 4 Dinner.
Wow Liz what a portion size you made! Looks very tasty and fresh…..
Thank goodness my husband helped by running the Spiralizer and the food processor. We had quite a production going. Yes, it made a lot but is simple to cut down in size. You won’t need more than 1/2 a cabbage, maybe even less if it is large.
This looks delicious and so pretty and colorful!
It was wonderful as a topping for tacos, enchiladas, and other heavy food. A great crunchy and healthy counterpoint to the richness of the rest of the food.
Sounds yummy! I have a question: You mention using a word processor. Do you use a small one for garlic etc? I have a huge Cuisinart and I find it unwieldy for smaller bits and chopping jobs. (Hmm, sounds like I’m looking for an excuse to buy a new appliance!)
I do have a smaller food processor but, because of the amount needed, I used my larger one for everything. Also one less appliance to wash. However, I do have a small one which is perfect for a small batch or dressing or pesto. Don’t give up your big one, the smaller ones (about 3/4 cup capacity) are good for small chopping jobs.
Make a Mexican Salad for a large crowd is not easy, especially when black beans and avocado are out. Looks like you succeeded. Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday #86. Happy FF!
It was certainly a lot of chopping! My husband helped by manning the food processor and spiralizer. Black beans would have been a good addition, and a dressing with avocado would be yummy. Definitely what I would do next time.
Beautiful and colorful salad – perfect way to use so many fresh veggies. Your dressing sounds interesting – obviously I would have to downsize it. Thanks for bringing this to the party!
Downsized, absolutely. But, I used it for the next week on other salads. It was particularly good with any salad which included fruit.
Wow Liz, this salad looks gorgeous and sounds delicious! We love the mexican flavors, and love that it doesn’t include mayo!
Wow! I’ve never cooked for more than 10 people so well done on completing this challenge. It’s a great salad and I love how versatile the leftovers are too.
Hi Corina, it was a lot easier since it was not at my house! That was a challenge for my friend who spent weeks whipping her home and garden into shape.
You are a clever cook! I love how you turned your leftover salad into fried rice. Who would have thunk? 😀 Wonderful, Liz!
Hello Angie, thank you. I just wish I had my own produce to add. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your garden. Mine has gone to weeds with the drought.