This chopped salad is fresh, festive and excessive in a celebratory way. While most salads opt for the lightest layer of dressing to optimize the produce’s flavors, this one calls for the dressing to generously coat the crisp ingredients. Inspired by Caesar salad, ranch dressing and the dinner-worthy salads popularized at chain restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, this salad is punchy and satisfying, thanks to rich ingredients, like avocado, cotija and a mayonnaise-thickened dressing, plus those with bite, like radishes, corn kernels and tortilla chips. Pair the salad with grilled tofu, chicken, shrimp or burgers — or nothing at all. This salad eschews subtlety, and hits all the right notes.
Chopped salad with jalapeño-ranch dressing
Ingredients for the dressing:
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 3 large scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons jalapeño with its seeds (or to taste), finely chopped
• 1 lime, zested
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• Kosher salt and black pepper
Ingredients for the salad:
• 3 romaine lettuce hearts, trimmed and chopped into bite-size pieces
• 3 fresh ears of corn, shucked, kernels removed from cobs
• 8 radishes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
• 2 large, ripe avocados, pitted and diced
• 5 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced at an angle
• 1/2 cup crumbled cotija (or grated Parmesan)
• 1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped
• 2 cups tortilla chips (optional)
Prepare the dressing: In a large measuring cup, whisk all the dressing ingredients together to combine. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
In a large, shallow bowl or platter, toss the romaine with half of the following ingredients: corn, radishes, avocado, sliced scallions, cotija and cilantro.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup dressing and toss to coat. Season again with salt and pepper.
Top with the remaining corn, radishes, avocado, scallions, cotija and cilantro, scattering the garnishes on top or arranging them in stripes or piles.
Sprinkle some crumbled tortilla chips on top, if using.
Drizzle the salad with an additional 1/4 cup dressing, and serve immediately, serving any remaining dressing and additional tortilla chips alongside.
Total time: 20 minutes, serves 4-6.