This Santa Fe salad recipe is an easy, flavour packed salad full of crisp veggies and a creamy dressing- perfect for your summer BBQ needs!
It is officially JUNE which means it's summer! TECHNICALLY summer doesn't start until June 21st and it's currently June 10th but in my mind summer begins on the first day of June. Which means it's time for all the summer quinoa salads, chicken salads, pasta salads, kale caesar salad wraps and chickpea salads.
So now that we got THAT cleared up and we are all on the same page that it's time for summer recipes I can introduce my new favourite summer salad: The Santa Fe Salad
I am not kidding you when I say that this salad is AMAZING.
My 21 year old younger brother who does not like salads tried this, loved it proceeded to take the leftovers to work the next day and then texted me THREE times telling me how much he loved it. So if that didn't convince you enough to try this healthy summer salad recipe then I don't know what will.
- Black Beans
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Red Onion
- Cotija or Feta Cheese
- Flavour Elevators: Lime, paprika, jalapeno, chili powder, salt and pepper bring it all together
- For a little crunch: crushed tortillas! These are optional but I love the little crunch they add to this salad.
Substitutions and Variations
Don't have an ingredient? Here are some great substiutions for this recipe:
Canned Black beans: I typically use canned beans because it's easiest but if you prefer dried and cooked beans then the choice is yours! You can also sub any canned bean you have on hand (kidney and pinto beans also work great).
Corn: You can use frozen, canned or fresh corn in this Santa Fe salad! I personally love using fresh corn on the cob in the summer since we have great local corn in Ontario however any of those options will work. If you decide to use frozen or canned corn just make sure you drain/ defrost the corn first!
Cilantro: As someone who has been personally victimized by cilantro in the past I promise the cilantro in this recipe actually tastes good!! It really helps elevate the flavour profile. If you REALLY hate cilantro you can choose to leave it out but the taste won't be as good.
Arugula: : A great leafy green base for this summer salad recipe. Arugula adds a little spice to the salad as well which I love. If you prefer a different leafy green you can also sub romaine lettuce or spinach both are great and still contain those vitamins and minerals!
Coijta/ Feta cheese: To keep the traditional mexican- inspired flavours, use cotija cheese if possible, however crumbled feta cheese as a great option if you are unable to find it (you really just want a slightly salty cheese).
Greek yogurt/ Mayonnaise: For this Santa Fe salad recipe I decided to lighten up the dressing slightly by replacing half of the mayonnaise with plain non fat Greek yogurt! However as with all of my dressing recipes you can easily use all mayonnaise or all yogurt. I find mayonnaise makes it creamier and yogurt will ad a slightly more tart (sour cream-like) tast.
For this recipe you will need:
- a good knife or chopper (this is the secret to any good salad)
- an air fryer if you want to make tortilla bowls
- a good salad bowl
As this salad does get soggy fromt he creamy dressing, I recommend eating it right after adding the dressing. However, if you wish to store this Santa Fe salad, you can store it in an airtight contianer in the fridge fo rup to 3 days (without the dressing) and just add the dressing when you are about to eat it!
The secret to a good salad is making sure you cut your vegetables small. I highly recommend using a vegetable chopper like this one to create small, even pieces of vegetables!
Some of my favourite ways to eat this healthy Mexican street corn salad include:
- As a take on a grilled pico de gallo with tortilla chips!
- In a air fryer tortilla bowl (this is my FAVOURITE way to eat this salad).
- As part of your quesadilla or burritos.
- Over quinoa as a great burrito bowl!
- As a side dish to your favourite grilled steak, or barbecued chicken.
- On it's own as a great summer potluck salad.
- With crispy tofu , vegetable protein fritters or pulled chicken for a protein packed lunch!
PS. if you are looking for more easy lunch ideas PERFECT for the summer don't forget to check out this chicken pesto pasta salad, or this smashed chickpea salad!
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this Santa Fe salad don't forget to tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Santa Fe Salad
- 4 ears (3 cups) corn shucked and cleaned
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups arugula or other leafy green of choice
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- 1 can 225g black beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup coijta cheese crumbled, see above for substiutions
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 small jalapeno finely chopped and seeded
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 medium avocado diced
- ½ cup cucumber quartered
- 1 medium lime just the juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon dried paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and corn. Allow corn to brown by stirring often this should take about 10 minutes. Once the corn looks slightly charred it is ready!
- In a large bowl combine corn, arugula, cherry tomatoes, black beans, cheese, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, avocado, and cucumber.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth.
- Drizzle sauce over the salad and toss to combine! See serving suggestions in the post above.
My go-to salad!!!