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In today’s food world, salads are becoming the main meal. But for me, while growing up, a salad often meant a boring side dish. I was lucky enought to have salads with homegrown lettuce, but we usually focused our attention on putting together a meal that consisted of meat and another side. The salad was nothing special, almost an afterthought.
Today, we have so many options. Meals are transitioning from a meat and two sides to various bowl meals consisting of vegetables, protein, and add-ins. This is where salads can really begin to shine. The options are endless, but need to start with good-quality lettuce.
I serve all my salads on large platters. The lettuce serves as a base with the rest of the ingredients layered on top as a garnish. It’s a great way to present a salad and allows everyone an equal opportunity at the toppings of their choice!
What is chorizo?
Chorizo is an intensely seasoned pork sausage. Traditional Spanish chorizo is often cured or fully cooked. The cured chorizo is perfect for a charcuterie board but not the best texture for a salad.
In this recipe, I used uncooked or raw chorizo and cooked it just as would be done with any other ground meat. The spices can vary depending on the butcher who made the chorizo. Make sure to buy from a quality source and stay away from what can be found in a plastic tube.
Why does this salad work?
For a salad to function as a meal, it needs varying components. Oftentimes, I’ll opt for a meatless salad, substituting the traditional protein for beans or quinoa. But in this recipe, the chorizo felt appropriate and really helps to bring the salad to life.
For some sweetness and starch, I added sautéed sweet corn. In the summer, there’s nothing like fresh sweet corn, cooked just enough to bring out the sweetness and corresponding bright yellow color.
A salad needs to be balanced with good fat. For the dressing, I added Greek yogurt and avocado. The fats in both the yogurt and avocado add richness to the salad, which makes for a filling meal.
Watch how to make this salad
Chorizo & Sweet Corn Salad
- ½ cup diced onion
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 ears sweet corn
- 1 lb chorizo
- 2 medium head lettuce (Buttercrunch, Romaine)
- ½ cup Cotija cheese
For the avocado dressing
- ½ whole avocado
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp pickled jalapeño juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- ¼ cup neutral oil (avocado, grapessed, safflower)
For the salad
- With a sharp knife, cut the sweet corn off of the cob and set it aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and salt. Sauté until the onion is just soft, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sweet corn to the onion and sauté until the corn turns bright yellow and is just cooked, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat. While cooking, break up with a spoon or spatula to make small, bite-sized pieces of chorizo. Continue to cook until browned and cooked through, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set it aside.
- To make the salad, spread chopped or large pieces of lettuce on a platter. Add some dressing (instructions below) and toss. Layer prepared chorizo and corn. Top with more dressing to taste, Cotija cheese, and sliced avocado. Serve immediately.
For the avocado dressing
- In a large measuring cup or blender, combine the avocado, yogurt, pickled jalapeño juice, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, and oil. Blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes. The dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.