A beautiful thing happened a couple weeks ago.
I rummaged through the fridge, took out a bunch of random foods and put together a meal. And not just any meal. It was a entire meal that fed all four mouths at the table. It was a fill-you-up-without-feeling-stuffed, let’s-make-this-again-soon type of meal. And it was SO good!
Truth be told, I took my own advice and made it again for lunch a couple days later!
The delicious food that magically appeared in my fridge? A southwestern chicken salad.
The southwestern chicken salad is my ultimate favorite salad of all time. Back when Mr. Crumbs and I didn’t have kids and spent way too much eating out at restaurants? I always ordered this salad.
And if it was topped with a bit of buffalo ranch dressing?
Oh gosh. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.
I honestly believe that if there’s one food that can fit nearly every type of personality out there, it’s the salad. There are seriously about a million different types of salads out there, so if you find one you don’t like, just try another.
The southwestern chicken salad is my ultimate fav (yes, it bears repeating), but you might like beets & strawberries or steak & blue cheese. Side dishes like potato salad, caprese salad or the slightly similar cucumber & tomato alinado count as salads too, and there’s another million or so of those types of salads to choose from as well.
It’s just a matter of finding the salad that best fits you.
Hmmm… maybe we should try throwing together a salad-fest?
Actually, if we were ever going to do that, now is the time. Spring is officially here and farmers markets are booming with fresh produce. Salads are a perfect opportunity to try a few new foods, mixed in with a few family favorites.
Plus it’s a SUPER easy way to eat more veggies.
And get dinner on the table in just a few minutes.
Why does my heart love this salad so much? Let me count the ways.
- It’s perfect when you have leftover food in the fridge, but not a lot of any one particular thing.
- You can add as much of any ingredient as you want, or as much as you have, and it’ll be healthy and delicious both ways.
- These ingredients aren’t fluff. They are serious food and even is stuffed.
- It’s packed with nutrition.
- And healthy fat.
- And gobs of protein.
- It’s ready in less than 15 minutes – perfect for baseball or swim or _____ practice during the week.
Southwestern Salad – a real food dinner for under $5, made with ingredients likely in your fridge and deliciously satisfying a family of four.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 0 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salads
- Method: Bowl
- Cuisine: American
- 1 head lettuce
- 1 cup garbanzo beans (preferably from scratch, but drained and rinsed if canned)
- 1 cup black beans (preferably from scratch, but drained and rinsed if canned)
- 1 cup corn (preferably fresh, but thawed if frozen)
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup homemade ranch dressing
- Wash lettuce. Tear or chop lettuce into 1″-2″ pieces and place into a large bowl
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Drizzle dressing over salad and mix well.
Prices are based on what I’ve recently paid with my own grocery budget. New to grocery budgeting and thinking about how much food costs? Let me help!
- lettuce – 67¢
- garbanzo beans – 20¢
- black beans – 20¢
- corn – 20¢
- tomato – 30¢
- cheese – 1.50¢
- avocado – 70¢
- cilantro – 17¢
- ranch dressing – 25¢
Total Cost for One Family Salad: $4.17
Serve with a loaf of homemade bread for as little as 25¢ per loaf and you’ve got a delicious frugal meal!
Additional Recipe Tips
Remember that you don’t have to have exact measurements for this recipe – just use whatever you have and omit what you don’t. If you just so happen to have leftover chicken from taco night or from a whole roasted chicken, feel free to toss a cup into the mix!
Changing the dressing is a fun way to give the same salad a completely new taste. A simple lemon vinaigrette, or ranch and buffalo would be way yum.
Blue cheese would be amazing as well, but I’d skip the cheddar if you go that route.
Or you can try my ultimate favorite dressing – blue cheese and buffalo.
Oh. Yes. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!