I really cannot contain my excitement that grilling season is here. From about May – September I use the grill nearly every day. One reason being is that it doesn’t heat up the house. Another reason being, things on the grill taste freaking spectacular.
This sort of hipster, Tex-Mex style restaurant—Is that seriously a thing? Yes, it is.—in our neighborhood recently added a Fajita Salad to their menu. I brushed it off the first time I saw it, thinking, how good could it really be? I’m always so underwhelmed with restaurant salads.
But I also always leave this restaurant having to be rolled out the door. Seriously the chips! No wait, the margaritas. Okay, both. So I finally decided to give it a go one day and now it’s the only thing I order.
Not only is the salad hu-uge but it is packed with fresh veggie fajitas, corn salsa, black beans, and other goodness I am probably forgetting. The salad is so juicy you don’t even need to add dressing!
So in honor of the official start of grilling season and salad month [woot!] I’m deeming May my new favorite month of the year. Even though it’s already nearing an end.
It makes sense that May is salad month, though. It’s when we’re all pulling out of our winter, carbo-load, hibernation mode and saying, FEED ME THE GREENS. Or at least that’s what happens to me.
Earthbound Farm is obviously going crazy about salad month. It’s kind of their thing. They’ve put together some really fun info-graphics to celebrate, and I just had to share my favorite about salad dressing.
I’ve been a big fan of making my own dressings at home for the past few years and think this chart is a great place to start. I know making salad dressing can sound like an intimidating task, but EBF breaks it down in a simple, easy to understand way. I’m all about visual learning!
I like to go about 1/2 + 1/2 with the oil + dressing. Just give your dressing a taste test with a slice of cucumber or lettuce leaf and then adjust from there.
Image via Earthbound Farm
Today’s post is sponsored by Earthbound Farm. Product opinions are always my own. Thank you for supporting the occasional sponsored post that helps fund all the deliciousness + behind the scenes action you see here.
So with my newly acquired addiction of the fajita salad at the hipster restaurant I decided it just had to be recreated at home. The marinade makes for some flavor-packed and super-juicy fajita veggies. Oh, so good.
If you are without a grill, not to worry! Using your stovetop will also work. And if you’re not into the idea of a making this into a salad feel free to pile the fajita veggies on top of quinoa or rice and eat a simpler salad on the side. Or, wrap up the veggies in tortillas. Whatever suits your fancy.
This salad is best served hot off the grill but you can also let the veggie mixture chill after cooking and throw together some killer lunch salads for work. Just keep the greens and veggies separate until you’re ready to eat!
Feel free to go crazy with the toppings. I threw on some quinoa, avocado, tortilla chips [obviously], green onions, and salsa verde.
Salad month rules.
adapted from my Juicy Veggie Fajitas
Grilled Veggie Fajita Salad gluten-free, vegan // yields 4 servings
For the marinade:
- 6 tablespoons safflower oil, or other high-heat safe oil
- 6 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 chipotle adobo pepper in sauce, seeds removed for less heat
For the fajitas:
- 4-5 med/large portabella mushrooms
- 3 bell peppers, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed + drained
- 1 large head romaine hearts, or 2-3 small hearts
- 1, 5oz package mixed baby greens
instructions: Place all marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add an additional adobo chili pepper for more spice if desired and blend again.
Remove the portabella stems and scrape the black gills with a spoon. Wipe the top of the mushroom with a damp towel to clean. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and spoon marinade over the top of each mushroom. Flip and spoon marinade on the underside of each mushroom to coat. Flip back over, and let sit for 30 minutes.
Place sliced peppers and onions in a large bowl and give a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Pour marinade over the vegetables, reserving about 1/4 – 1/3 cup. Toss to coat and let sit for 30 minutes.
Chop romaine head in half and rinse well. Thoroughly pat the leaves dry. [You want to avoid moisture when grilling romaine.] Drizzle a bit of oil overtop and lightly salt + pepper.
Preheat your grill to about 375-400* Fahrenheit. Place onions and peppers in a 10-12-inch cast iron skillet [or baking sheet] and set on the grill once fully preheated. Let cook for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so. Once softened and starting to char stir in the corn and beans and another few tablespoons of the marinade. Toss to combine and let cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Grease your grill grates and place the portabellas on the grill. Grill on each side for about 3-4 minutes until softened and grill marks appear. Remove from the grill along with the fajita veggies, then place the cut side of your romaine on the grill for about 2 minutes until just starting to brown. Flip once for another 1 minute then bring inside and chop. Avoid over-grilling. [grilling romaine is optional – if not grilling simply chop raw romaine and toss with mixed greens]
Toss romaine with about 1/2 the package of mixed baby greens in individual bowls or 1 large serving bowl right before serving. Slice the portabella mushrooms. Top the lettuce with fajita veggies, portabella, quinoa, and whatever other toppings you choose. Serve immediately.
If cooking quinoa: Start while marinating the veggies - Place a medium pot over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Once hot add the quinoa and stir for about 3 minutes. Pour in 1 1/4 cups water and stir. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a constant simmer for 15 minutes. Keep covered and do not stir while cooking. Check to make sure all water is absorbed then set aside keeping covered. Fluff with a fork after 10 minutes then set aside. No need to keep the quinoa hot as the hot fajita veggies will warm it up on the salad.
Hope you all have a lovely + delicious Memorial Day weekend.