I love Mexican food. Not just the first night, but I love it for lunch the next day. So when Michael Tilus sent me this recipe to check out. I immediately knew we could do something both easy and versatile with it. This 7 layered salad is easy to make ahead and it is so cute in the jar!
Now I have added a few changes to make this vegetarian. But it is already gluten-free if you are following this diet too.
I really like the “Green Rice” because unlike plain white rice, it has a lot of flavor IN the rice. So when my friends at Slimming World sent me this recipe to check out, I immediately knew we could do something both easy and versatile with it.
I also love how easy this is to bring a healthy meal along with you. Often I am asked to come over for dinner with friends and it is hard to explain that I am watching my weight, I am a vegetarian AND I don't eat a lot of gluten. So I like to offer to bring a couple of dishes to share with others in a potluck style. This is easy to bring a few short jars and share with a few or larger jars and bring for lunch.
This could even be super fun for a romantic picnic for two.
I've been following a few of Slimming World's recipes and I have actually found that they are so easy and very tasty. AND.. since I've started watching my weight and ONLY cutting calories and fat through healthier recipes from the beginning of the year I have seen some of my weight coming off without changing anything in my work out routine. Very cool!
So please try the recipe. You can go vegetarian or not, it is up to you. But I'd love to hear how it works out for you. So leave me a comment below!
Mexican 7-layer salad
Ready in 1 hr 20 min
For the green rice:
• 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth – For Vegetarians- Use a “No Chicken” broth or a vegetable broth.
• ²/₃ cup packed fresh spinach leaves
• 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
• 1 fresh jalapeño pepper (seeds removed), diced
• 1 cup long grain white rice
For the no-cook refried beans:
• 1 can (15-16oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
• ¼ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth- For Vegetarians- Use a “No Chicken” broth or a vegetable broth.
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ½ tsp chili powder
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• Spray oil*
• 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts – For Vegetarians: sub out cooked sweet potatoes or pre-cooked tofu cubes.
• 3 tsp chili powder
• 1 medium green bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), cut into bite-size strips
• 1 medium red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), cut into bite-size strips
• 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
• 1 ½ cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
• 1 carton (5.3oz) plain fat-free Greek yogurt
• 1 tsp finely grated lime zest and 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 2 cups shredded lettuce
• 1 large tomato, chopped
• 2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
*Please note, to protect your weight loss, use up to 10 short sprays of any spray oil per day.
Place broth, spinach, cilantro and jalapeño pepper in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add rice and ½ tsp salt. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Chill rice.
** I really love my Instant Pot. So, you could save some time here and throw all of the ingredients into the Instant pot, turn it onto the rice setting and let it go. **
2.Place beans, broth, garlic, chili powder and cumin in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until almost smooth. Season with salt to taste.
3.Lightly spray a large non-stick skillet with spray oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken, tofu or sweet potatoes with 2 tsp of the chili powder and ½ tsp salt. Place in skillet and reduce heat to medium. If you are cooking chicken 15-18 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, turning occasionally. Tofu or veggies really only take a few minutes to heat up. Remove from skillet and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Slice across the grain into bite-size strips, then let cool. ** Remember, never EVER cut up uncooked chicken on a wooden cutting board. Also, vegetarian tip: if you are cooking for a vegetarian, don’t use the same pan you have used recently for meat. **
4.Place bell peppers and onion in skillet. Cook over medium heat 5-8 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet and let cool. Place corn in skillet and cook, without stirring, 3-5 minutes, or until starting to brown. Remove from skillet.
5.Make dressing: In a small bowl, combine yogurt, lime zest and juice and remaining 1 tsp chili powder, and stir. Assemble salads in four 1-qt clear glass jars or bowls, layered in this order: rice, protien, pepper mixture, beans, corn, lettuce, dressing, tomatoes and cilantro. Chill until ready to serve, up to 24 hours.
That's it! Just enjoy it and know that you made a great meal that's easy to take along. And not to mention it is fun Mexican food dish that isn't too heavy because it's a cool 7 layer SALAD!