You’ll love this southwest salad! It’s bursting with flavor and loaded with healthy, satisfying ingredients.
My husband improvised this dish because we love southwest-inspired meals and hadn’t found our perfect southwest salad. As a result of trial and error, he created a salad that packs a punch of flavor. You’ll notice what I’m talking about with the spiciness of radishes and poblano peppers combined with the earthiness of toasted seeds with cumin, as well as the finishing sweetness of raisins pickled in lime juice. The mixture of cumin, lime, and cilantro is the key to bringing forth the classic southwestern flavor.
Yum! Is your mouth watering yet?
We enjoy this southwest salad on regular rotation, especially in the warmer months. If you do too, consider preparing a double batch to have for lunch or as a tasty side- the dressing gets better with time, and the veggies are crunchy enough to hold up against the dressing. Additionally, you could always wait to dress your second batch until the day you’re ready to enjoy another round.
The essential ingredients for the best southwest salad:
Packed with nutrients in each satisfying crunch, green cabbage is also high in vitamin C. Its fiber content helps fill you up and aids in optimizing digestion and keeping the lining of your stomach and digestion strong. Additionally, cabbage-based salads keep well and hold up to being “dressed” longer while still maintaining their crunch.
I love a pleasant warmth in a dish. Poblano peppers, as a mild variety of chili peppers, delivers that depth in spades. They are bursting with vitamins A and C, carotenoids, and capsaicin- which may act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation.
AKA pumpkin seeds! These seeds add to the crunch and are full of nutrients, including magnesium and fiber.
Known for their distinct nutty flavor, these seeds pack in even more nutrition to this powerhouse dish. They are high in protein and rich in healthy fats and antioxidants.
Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant, but these two flavor profiles are significantly different. Do you love cilantro or hate it? It’s a polarizing herb, no doubt! If you’re not on board, it could be due to genetics. Some people taste lemony and bright flavors, whereas others experience a negative, soapy taste. It’s no surprise that the latter would avoid this herb. If you love it, toss it in! Whereas, if you have an aversion, consider substituting a tablespoon of oregano.
Radishes are another ingredient that adds to this dish’s beautiful texture while also contributing a pop of color! They are root vegetables with a flavor profile I’d describe as spicy or peppery. As such, they offer a nice bite while also providing a good source of antioxidants.
Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil lends a smoothness to this southwest salad. Consequently, it helps all the flavors harmonize while aiding good absorption of the nutrients from the vegetables in this dish.
What is a southwest salad without lime?! The classic garnish on a southwestern inspired dish, limes also increase the production of digestive juices, enchancing the digestion of the meal.
Golden raisins are not sun-dried. Instead, at controlled temperature and humidity levels, a large dehydrator brings you this fruiter, lighter flavor. This preparation offers extra plumpness and juiciness compared to the brown variety.
Known as a delicious match for meat, cumin gives this vegetarian dish more depth and complexity. Rich, hearty, and warm, with a hint of citrus, cumin enhances the savory flavor and satisfaction in this southwest salad.
I adore the sweet, mild flavor and versatility of green onions. Be sure to remove the slimy pieces, if any, before chopping. The dark green ends offer a sharp flavor reminiscent of chives and a crisp texture. The white parts bring a more traditional oniony punch.
I hope you love this southwest salad as much as we do!
Let me know what you think. Follow me on Instagram and leave me a DM. I’d love to connect!
To your health,
If you enjoy this recipe and want to try out one of my other all-time favorite comfort foods, check out my Easy Homemade Applesauce- Tasty and Unsweetened
A delicious salad that can easily hold center stage as a meal of its own. Also pairs nicely with any protein of choice, especially grilled chicken, and any type of lager.
- 6 cups of green cabbage sliced thinly, stem removed
- 2 poblano peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
- 8 radishes, spiralized or sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 5 green onions, sliced thinly
- about 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- finish with coarse salt, to taste
- Spread the pepitas and sunflower seeds thinly onto a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree F oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Stir once, halfway through.
- Juice the 3 limes into a small bowl and combine with raisins, green onions, and cumin. Hold on adding the olive oil.
- The seeds should almost be done toasting at this point. Put them into a large salad bowl and add remaining prepared ingredients (cabbage, poblano peppers, cilantro, radishes).
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss.
- Add the lime concoction and toss again.
- Serve cold. Flavor improves with time.
Mixing the lime juice and onions mellows the harshness of the onions. The raisins will plump up with lime juice while you prepare the other ingredients.