I was hesitant to call this a “copycat” recipe for two reasons. First of all, it’s a marriage between two of my most favorite fast casual salads – the Mexicali Vegan from Chop’t and the Gaucho from Fresh&Co – so it’s not an exact copy of either. Secondly, the words “copycat recipe” summon up the saddest of Pinterest posts. The number of people who have invested time and energy into recreating a pumpkin spice Frappucino is concerning. Just type in “copycat recipe” on Pinterest and you’ll be bombarded with recipes for Cracker Barrel hashbrowns, Texas Roadhouse butter and a slew of items whose ingredients you may prefer remain a mystery.
When it comes to recreating a favorite dish at home, salads are a safe bet in my book. No secret additions of butter and heavy cream – just the vegetables you see in front of you.
But, let me top of all of this judge-y-ness by saying that if someone would like to spend their time recreating the french fries from my NYC go-to or the custard at Ted Drewes, I will be a willing participant in the eating portion of that adventure.
*This recipe makes four large meal-size servings.
Ingredients for salad:
2 heads of romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
3-4 cups of arugula or spinach leaves
1 14 oz can of hearts of palm, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 ripe avocados
10-12 oz of cherry tomatoes, rinsed
1 cup of crushed white corn tortilla chips
Ingredients for dressing:
1 small jalapeno, rinsed and stem removed (if you’re not a fan of spice, leave this ingredient out – it will give your dressing a real kick!)
1 shallot, skin removed
1 handful of parsley, rinsed
1 ear of corn, shucked and cleaned
1/3 cup of olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
In a large salad bowl, combine both lettuces – the chopped romaine and the arugula or spinach leaves. Mix thoroughly. Chop the hearts of palm into 1 inch cubes/rounds, as desired for your salad bites. Quarter the cherry tomatoes.
Slice both avocados so that the meat is in small 1 inch squares. In a salad bowl or on platter, arrange the beans, tomatoes, hearts of palm, and avocado chunks, then top with crushed tortilla chips. Set aside.
Next, make your dressing. Slice the kernels of corn from the cob and place into a food processor or blender. Add the jalapeno, parsley and shallot. Then add in olive oil and lime juice, then top with salt and pepper.
Blend thoroughly until as smooth as possible.
Drizzle over your salad, toss and serve fresh!