Southwestern Salad with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing

Southwestern Salad with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing

I hate salads. With a deep, fiery passion.

I buy leafy greens for the sake of trying. It’s a magnificent waste of money, as no less than two-thirds of the bag always goes bad, but at least I appeased my mind by trying to make wise food choices. I wish I loved them. I wish I salivated for a bed of greens dressed with a sweet vinaigrette, sprinkled with fresh fruit, crunchy nuts, seeds, and some pretentious cheese I can’t pronounce.

But I hate it. Just like Leslie Knope And I can’t seem to force myself to enjoy leaves, topped with the ingredients for bird feed.

Southwestern Salad with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing

So I remedy that by loading said leafy greens with all the things I do love, some of which are healthy, some of which are questionable, all of which are delicious.

First, Romaine lettuce. Because the texture weirds me out less than a super leafy spinach mixture. Next, I mixed together one of my all-time favorite combinations: roasted corn sprinkled with cayenne pepper, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and lime juice. Mmmmmmmmmmmsogood. Then I chopped up half of a red bell pepper (because it was on sale) and half of an orange bell pepper (I could afford it after saving a fortune on the red bell pepper), as well as some spicy purple onion for an added kick and guaranteed teeth-brushing later. The piece de resistance? A beautiful, creamy avocado. And bacon. Because it has protein, and nutrients, and…. this is America and I will put bacon on any and every salad that comes through my kitchen.

To top it all off (and make carrots bearable later in the week), I made a basic buttermilk ranch dressing, spiced with a whole jalapeno and a few spices to give it an added kick. Drizzle lightly, but lovingly.

Southwestern Salad with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing

All of the toppings hit the mark of freshness and heartiness. Once all of the flavors tossed themselves together, it made for a crisp, savory, satisfying meal laden with no regrets. Even with just a drizzle of the spicy cream-based dressing, I walked away feeling the fulfillment of a light and refreshing meal

Give it a try for your next lunch and demolish it like I did. Then pat yourself on the back for having eaten salad without vomiting.

Southwestern Salad with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing

Southwestern Salad with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing


For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup top quality mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 jalapeno roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

For the corn salsa

  • 15 oz black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels roasted
  • 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lime

For the Salad

  • 2-3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion diced
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • 2 strips of bacon cooked and chopped


  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the jalapeno buttermilk dressing. Pulse a few times, for about 30 seconds total, until it's creamy and only small chunks of jalapeno remain.
  • Combine all ingredients for the corn salsa in a bowl, tossing well.
  • In a medium to large salad bowl, layer the romaine lettuce on the bottom. Sprinkle the corn salsa, bell peppers, red onion, avocado, and bacon on top. Drizzle with jalapeno buttermilk dressing.

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Kate Nelson

I’m a wife and mother to two daughters. I was a very, very geeky kid and spent my many years of youth reading science fiction and playing Dungeons & Dragons. I live in Austin with my family and love Star Wars. In here you find a whole lot of food recipes.

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