Gringo Ensalada

I made this salad the other day, and it is super easy and really delicious.  It is inspired by Mexican flavours, but is by no means authentic, hence the name.

Doesn’t that make you want to waste away in Margaritaville?  Look for your lost shaker of salt perhaps?  (Disclaimer:  Margaritaville has nothing to do with Mexico, but I bet until you read that, you thought it did.)


If you are looking at a food blog, I think it is safe to assume you’ve made a salad before, but just to give you an idea of the proportions I used, I’ll give you an approximate list of measurements and ingredients.  The kicker however, is the dressing.  So stay tuned for that.

To make a meal-sized salad for 2 you’ll need:

  • 1 small sweet potato, diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or granulated garlic, if you are a snob)
  • salt and pepper to taste (go a little heavy on the salt – it’ll get absorbed while cooking)
  • 5 (or so) cups of your favourite greens, I used spring mix
  • 1/4 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 green pepper, sliced
  • 4 green onions (or scallions if you call garlic powder “granulated garlic”), sliced
  • 1/2 cup of rinsed black beans
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 tbsp of sliced green olives
  • 1 tbsp of minced pickled banana peppers
  • 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar, or whatever orange-ish cheese you have in the fridge
  • 1 avocado cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 tbsp ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup of your favourite salsa
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss cubed sweet potato in a bowl with the olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, then spread it out on a cookie sheet.  Roast it in the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing once, or until tender.
  3. While that’s cooking, place your greens in a nice big bowl.  Prepare the peppers, green onions, black beans, corn, olives, banana peppers, cheese and avocado, and put it into the bowl.
  4. If you have a Magic Bullet sitting on your counter, and look at it every once in a while thinking “why the hell did I buy that thing?” well, here’s it’s time to shine.  Put the ranch, salsa and cayenne in there, then pulse it until it’s all one, pink mess.  If you don’t have a Magic Bullet, you can use any other blending device, and really, I’m sure it would be just fine if you just stirred it together.
  5. Take the sweet potato out of the oven, put it in the salad, pour your dressing on it, and toss that baby like it’s a cheating boyfriend.
  6. Serve in two portions for a meal, or as a side to about six.  It makes a lot of salad.  And be sure to say “buen apetito” when you do, just to earn a little street cred while you’re at it.



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