Summer is here! It's salad season!! OK, maybe that doesn't sound super exciting, but is there any other time of year that's better suited to enjoying a big plate of fresh, crunchy, cooling vegetables? I think not.
Every Summer, without fail, I make some version of this salad. It happens to be a favorite amongst our friends, and definitely a favorite of mine, too, although I think I make it a little differently every time! The foundation always remains the same - a whole bunch of sliced cabbage with lots of other vegetables (other really great additions/substitutions for this salad are grilled corn, jicama, sliced green onions, grilled peppers, or queso fresco) and a creamy, cilantro flavored dressing. This dressing is extra luscious thanks to the avocado and sour cream, but it has a lot of tang from the fresh lime juice. For a lighter version, I've played around with different fats like peanut oil (use judiciously!), yogurt or coconut milk instead of sour cream, or eliminating the avocado altogether.
This crunchy slaw gains a lot of heft, substance, and meaty flavor from the addition of ground bison, although a vegetarian version is equally tasty (black beans make a great protein substitute!). If you aren't familiar with bison, this is a really easy, user-friendly recipe for first-timers. I'm a real bison lover, myself! It has a rich, beefy taste but with more sweetness than beef and a subtle grassy flavor. Not to mention, bison is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, chicken, and even some fishes.
So, here's to enjoying the hot weather with a cool, crunchy salad!
Shredded Mexican Salad
1 lb ground bison
1 T vegetable oil
2 tsp Southwest seasoning (I used Savory Spice Shop's El Diente Peak Southwest seasoning, which is a blend of chile powder, paprika, coriander, cumin, pepper, crushed red pepper, and mexican oregano)
salt and pepper
6 cups shredded cabbage
1 large red onion
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1/2 an avocado, diced
3 large radishes, sliced
about 1 cup cilantro leaves
a handful of cilantro micro greens (optional)
juice of 2 large limes
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 an avocado
a handful of cilantro (stems and all), roughly chopped
1/2 tsp Southwest seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
First, cook your bison. Add 1 T vegetable oil to a large, shallow pan and heat to medium high. Add ground bison, Southwest seasoning, and a generous amount of salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until meat is just browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside, allowing to cool.
Rinse and dry your cabbage and set aside. Slice red onion into rounds and brush with 2 tsp vegetable oil. Using an outdoor grill or a grill pan, heat your grill to medium-high. Grill onions until each side gets a good char, about 4-5 minutes per side. Allow onions to cool, slightly, then chop well and set aside. Meanwhile, slice the cherry tomatoes in half (start at the tip where the stem was once attached if your knife isn't so sharp) and set aside with remaining vegetables.
Assemble your dressing in a blender or food processor. Add dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl and add as much dressing as you like (I used about half for a lightly-dressed salad). Serve immediately.