Southwest Avocado Cilantro Chop Chop Salad

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Happy Spring! I have been absent for a month and I know that is not a good thing for a blogger to do. I recently got promoted at work (yay!) but I am still doing my old job for a while too (insert descriptive and colorful adjective here) so I have been twice as busy at work.  I have still been thinking about food – trying new foods, new recipes and testing my favorites. This is an awesome spring salad recipe – crunchy, filling and packed with B vitamins and protein. It is so easy to make it will be your go to spring salad!

First – Chop Chop:

4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large orange bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup corn, thawed frozen or fresh
1 cup jicama, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 avocado, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast (optional)

Next – Dressing:

1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 avocado
3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped plus

1/4 cup loosely packed italian parsley, coarsley chopped
1 8 ounce container plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic (I also like Christopher Ranch chopped garlic, sold in jars in the produce section of the store)
1 1/2 teaspoons wine vinegar (either red or white)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Place all salad ingredients in large bowl. Place all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Toss salad with dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately on chilled salad plates.

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Grilled Tri Tip Steak Salad

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We are doing some serious grilling around here in the month of June – nothing tastes like summer like delicious veggies and/or meat with a little char on it, right? This is a really awesome summer recipe that features two things native to California – Tri Tip steak and Sriracha Red Chili Sauce – the latter which has been in serious danger of disappearing from the grocery store after a year long drama. I never believed LA could be swept up in a pepper factory drama – but if you haven’t heard about it you can read the back story at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/05/14/theres-still-a-lot-of-drama-surrounding-the-sriracha-factory-in-california/

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This is the stuff – yum!

 

Tri Tip is a cut from the bottom sirloin originally sold as ‘Santa Maria Steak” after a guy in Santa Maria, California started marketing it there in the 1950’s.  It is also popular with cooks who use it in Chili Con carne. If you haven’t tried it – you are in for a treat.

This recipe is super easy and has a really unique flavor. We never get tired of  making it – and there is enough steak left for sandwiches the next day!

Ingredients:

1 large (6 ounce or bigger) bag organic spinach (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 Tri Tip Steak, approximately 1.5 pounds

juice of 1 lime

juice of 1 orange, plus 1/2 teaspoon zest

1 tablespoon Sriracha Red Chili Sauce

4 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar

3 teaspoons canola oil

2 teaspoons honey, divided

5 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1 teaspoon finely shredded fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered

1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1 inch strips

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Heat grill  to medium heat (around 400 degrees)

In a medium bowl, mix 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Place in Ziploc bag with steak, toss to coat. (If you have time to prep in the morning or are prepping overnight, even better – the longer the steak marinates, the better it is)

Grill pineapple and peppers with lid down for about 3-6 minutes, or until lightly charred. Cut into 1 inch chunks and set aside.

Whisk together lime juice, orange zest and juice, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, garlic, chili sauce, rice vinegar, oil and remaining honey in a small bowl, then set this aside and turn your attention back to the grill – its time to cook the steak! If you have a 1.5 – 2 pound tri tip, you should cook it 10-12 minutes per side, turning only once. The steak will continue to cook once you take it off the grill, so don’t over cook it! It should be light pink inside and not browned all the way through. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces, then slice into strips.

Toss together the spinach, pineapple, pepper, steak and dressing in a large bowl. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!