the taste space

Mexican Salad with Black Beans, Tomato, Avocado in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by Janet M on June 17, 2011

Salads can be costly.

I’m not talking about the lettuce, or the vegetable toppings, or even the dressings…

I needed to buy a bigger pannier for my bike when I started to eat huge salads at work. One container for the lettuce, another for the toppings and another for the dressing. It takes up a lot of room, but the fresh salad is definitely worth it.

Last year, I lamented that my Mexican salad with the creamy avocado dressing needed to be eaten soon after assembly. Once dressed, lettuce doesn’t last that long (more the power to wilted kale salads!). This year, when I spotted a tomato-based Mexican salad at Namaste Gurl, I was smitten. Her salads were gorgeous and while her tomato-based dressing seemed quite unorthodox, it sounded delicious. If I kept all the components separate, I knew I could enjoy this salad all week long. :)


Sauces and dressings are what clinch a meal. Fresh, tasty produce helps, too, but oftentimes the dressing pulls it all together. And in this salad, the dressing is what really shines. It is a light, silky smooth tomato and red pepper sauce with a hint of cheese from nutritional yeast, smokiness from smoked paprika and zip from the chili flakes. Cumin and oregano keep this Mexican. You could add your favourite vegetables to the mix, to replace the cabbage, but I highly recommend the red pepper which conferred a sweet silkiness to the dish, almost as if it were roasted.  I have never pureed my tomato sauces, but this dressing was so creamy because I used my immersion blender to make it smooth. The sauce was so good, I had to stop myself from gobbling it up straight from the stovetop.

Instead, I held out to use it as the dressing for this Mexican salad with black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocado overtop mixed greens. Be creative with your toppings – add in some whole grain crackers, fresh bell pepper, cucumber, etc.  Romaine worked well with this combination as well. I bet there are countless things this sauce could be used for, and I am sure I will whip it up again when I make my first batch of zucchini noodles!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Wellness Weekend, and to AWED featuring Mexican food.

Mexican Salad with Black Beans, Tomato, Avocado in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

2 cups mixed baby greens (or Romaine, chopped)
1/4 cup Mexican Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced

1. When ready to serve, plate lettuce, dress with the the tomato sauce and top with black beans, tomatoes and avocado.

Serves 1.

Mexican Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, thinly sliced (or your favourite vegetable)
14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Start by heating a medium saucepan with oil, then add onion, red pepper and cabbage and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until soft and translucent.

2. Add in tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, chili flakes and nutritional yeast, and bring to a boil. Simmer 5-10 minutes until you reach your desired consistency. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.

Makes 2 cups.

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19 Responses

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  1. Caitlin said, on June 17, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    oooh- i love mexican inspired salads! and the dressing looks really interesting- cabbage is an ingredient i’ve never seen in salad dressing! so cool!

    • Saveur said, on June 17, 2011 at 8:45 AM

      Since you blend it, you can hide any veggie in the sauce. I just happened to have cabbage on hand so it was an obvious choice. :)

  2. Priya Yallapantula said, on June 17, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    wow, that is one healthy looking salad :)

  3. namastegurl said, on June 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Wow, your mexican salad looks DELICIOUS, plus the dressing :) You might be beating mine in both presentation and taste- who knows :)
    So glad you enjoyed the combo!

  4. Joanne said, on June 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Now that I’ve gotten five tons of lettuce in my CSA, I’ve been devouring a salad a day! This is next on my list of recipes to try….that dressing seals the deal!

    • Saveur said, on June 17, 2011 at 1:10 PM

      Yay for your CSA, Joanne! I can’t wait to see what wonderful veggie-laden dishes you cook up this summer. :)

  5. Priya said, on June 17, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Colourful,refreshing and beautiful salad..

  6. Krithi said, on June 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Such a colorful plate with different textures of ingredients… loving it..

    http://krithiskitchen.blogspot.com
    Event: Healing Foods – Banana

  7. Smita said, on June 18, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Thanks for your Entry to my event A.W.E.D. Mexican… salad looks really yumm with the combination of such varied textures and lovely presentation :)

  8. Lynne said, on June 18, 2011 at 7:17 AM

    This is my kind of salad! I love Mexican-inspired anything! I always have black beans, cherry tomatoes and avocados on hand. Thanks!

  9. Sissi said, on June 18, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Avocado is one of the rare food products which I can have without any meat or fish on the plate and feel my meal is complete. I also sometimes put it in salads, but yours looks very original. I would splash it with some Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. I adore them with avocado (yes, I know Tabasco is not Mexican, but made in the US ;-) ).

  10. Carol said, on June 19, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    This is such a great looking salad, I love everything about it, especially the dressing, sounds excellent, can’t wait to try this one!

  11. DebinHawaii said, on June 20, 2011 at 3:46 AM

    Fabulous salad–love that dressing and the avocado. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)

  12. Ashley said, on July 20, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    Lol that’s hilarious as to why salads are costly for you. I love that you ride home on your bike with a pannier full of salad stuff! I love Mexican inspired salads, and I’ve never tried a dressing like that before – sounds delicious!

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