Exotic & Spicy Salads

Exotic and Spicy Salads, Part 2

Fiery Foods Manager In the Kitchen with Chile Peppers Leave a Comment

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by Dave DeWitt, Mary Jane Wilan, and Melissa T. Stock

Exotic & Spicy Salads

Part 1       Part 3


Many Vegetables Salad
Southwest Coleslaw

Zucchini Ensalada
Colorful Cauliflower Salad
Cinco de Mayo Bean Salad
Pungent Potato Salad with Lime Chipotle Dressing

East Meets West Mushroom Butter Lettuce Salad
Chilied Cantaloupe, Cranberry and Bean Salad
Hot Habanero Mango Bulgur Salad

Horseradish-Cilantro Tomato Vinaigrette

 In our second installment of chile-infused salads for the summer, we continue our world tour of salad ingredients and styles. Kicking it off is the Many Vegetables Salad, which can be served with any grilled entrees. The many versatile ingredients vary the texture from crunchy to smooth. The addition of the garbanzo beans adds some protein and a slightly nutty taste to this terrific salad. The crunchy salad, Southwest Coleslaw, gets an additional crunch with the addition of jicama. Often called the Mexican potato, jicama has a texture similar to that of the water chestnut. If you’re watching your calories, use a good quality reduced fat mayonnaise.

Zucchini Ensalada is a salad to serve in the summer, when you can pick the zucchinis right from your garden and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing you have found yet one more recipe for those prolific producers. The multitude of ingredients really enhances the flavor of the salad. You can impress your friends with historical information by telling them that avocados were called “midshipman’s butter” by old Spanish sailors.

Another common vegetable, cauliflower, receives gourmet treatment in the Colorful Cauliflower Salad. Even though Mark Twain said that the cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education, cauliflower is one of the crucifers that nutritionists are touting. Ladies, consider this recipe a tasty way to possibly increase your levels of good estrogen; the guys can eat it too–for the Vitamin C and iron. Once again, a great many ingredients are used in the Cinco de Mayo Bean Salad, but you probably have most of them in your cupboard already. Several New World foods are combined in this salad: the lima bean, so named for Lima, Peru, where it is from, has been used since the 1500s. So, tell your friends you’re making a really old salad! The heat is from the habanero, which is from the Yucatan and is another New World ingredient.

We would be remiss if we didn’t include a potato salad in this chapter. However, as you might guess, our Pungent Potato Salad with Lime Chipotle Dressing is nowhere near the mustard/mayonnaise version of your childhood! It’s smoky and tart–a true picnic treat. Our next salad, East Meets West Mushroom Butter Lettuce Salad is also eclectic in taste. We’ve combined the ingredients of pine nuts, butter lettuce, and chile oil to create an unlikely yet loveable combination.

Our next offerings are fruity in flavor, ranging from the involved Chilied Cantaloupe Cranberry and Bean Salad to hearty Hot Habanero Mango Bulgur Salad , which is relatively easy to make; however beware of the habaneros! Even though we only call for a 1/4 pod, it still packs a powerful punch. Another spectacular fruit-based salad is Key West Salad; it is a bit unusual (as is Key West, The Conch Republic), but this salad will rate second helpings. And, of course, the salad is laced with the tequila and lime. The fresh pineapple adds a refreshing note, while the papaya, called “the fruit of the angels” by Columbus, will help aid digestion because of its papain content. (Always helpful after too much tequila!)

All dressed up and no place to go? Not our salads! We have created a dressing that will bite you back a bit no matter what you serve it on. The Horseradish-Cilantro Tomato Vinaigrette is sure to please and tease.

Many Vegetables Salad

This salad has a few basic ingredients, but it is also ripe to receive odds and ends from your refrigerator; if you don’t have alfalfa sprouts, substitute bean sprouts. If you have a garden, the freshness of this salad will be further enhanced.

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces

  • 1 cup broccoli florets

  • 1/2 cup diced jicama or raw turnip

  • 2 scallions, sliced

  • 2 yellow Hungarian wax peppers, seeds and stems removed, cut into rings

  • 5 radishes, sliced

  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans

  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes

  • 2 canned pimiento chiles, diced

  • 2/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chile oil

  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

  • 1 clove garlic, minced and crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Place the lettuce, broccoli, jicama, scallions, wax peppers, radishes, garbanzo beans, alfalfa sprouts, sesame seeds, tomato, and pimientos in a large salad bowl and lightly toss the mixture.

In a small glass jar, place the olive oil, chile oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard powder, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and shake thoroughly.

Pour the dressing over the tossed vegetables and toss again lightly. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Mild

Southwest Coleslaw

The refreshing coleslaw complements any kind of main dish, but especially barbecued brisket. We thank Jeff Campbell of the Stonewall Chili Company for this recipe.

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed jicama

  • 2 cups julienned bell pepper

  • 2 cups diced onion

  • 1/2 cup hot and spicy barbecue sauce

  • 1 cup good quality mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Combine the cabbage, jicama, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, sugar, and oil. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and toss until the mixture is well coated.

Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Heat Scale: Mild

Zucchini Ensalada

Since zucchini is such a prolific producer in home gardens, we felt we had to include at least one recipe to give you a jump on the crop. We suggest serving the zucchini raw, but if you don’t like it raw, steam it for a minute or two.

  • 1 pound zucchini

  • 2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, cut into rings

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1/3 cup virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons corn oil

  • 4 large shallots cut into 1/4 inch slices

  • 1 large ripe avocado

  • 10 large pimiento stuffed green olives, cut in half

  • 3 cups mixed baby salad greens

Clean the zucchini, cut it into 1 inch thick slices, and place it in a ceramic bowl with the serrano chiles.

In a small glass jar with a cover, combine the garlic, paprika, pepper, sugar, salt, vinegar, olive oil, and shake thoroughly. Pour enough of the dressing over the zucchini and chiles to coat it, and then toss the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Just before serving, drain off the dressing.

Heat the corn oil in a small saute pan, add the shallots, and saute them until they are light brown and toasty, tossing them frequently to avoid burning. Drain them on paper towels.

Peel and slice the avocado.

Place the salad greens on a serving dish and arrange the zucchini, avocado, and olives on top of the greens.

Shake the remaining dressing and pour it over the vegetables. Top the salad with the crisp shallots. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Mild

Colorful Cauliflower Salad

Raw cauliflower has great salad appeal, and many people prefer to eat it raw rather than cooked. This colorful salad mix, served on a bed of Boston lettuce, would go well with a grilled portobella mushroom entree or sandwich.

  • 1 1/3 cups salad oil

  • 2/3 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets

  • 2 serranos or jalapeño chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped

  • 3/4 cup pitted ripe olives, sliced

  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

Combine the salad oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic in a glass jar with a lid. Shake the mixture until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.

Place the cauliflower and the serranos in a ceramic bowl. Shake the dressing again, pour it over the vegetables, toss lightly, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Before serving, add the olives, the bell pepper, and toss the mixture.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Mild

Cinco de Mayo Bean Salad

If you want to have a blast on May 5th, literally and figuratively, serve this unique salad. It has texture, color, and flavor. The dressing is deceptive–it starts out mild, and then goes wild on the tongue. Serve lots of margaritas with this salad!

  • 1 cup sliced young green beans, steamed for 3 minutes

  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, if using canned, drain and rinse

  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup cooked lima beans

  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans or black beans

  • 1 medium onion, sliced into rings

  • 3 serrano chiles or jalapeño chiles, seeds and stems removed, cut into rings

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 cup light olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil

  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced habanero chile

Combine the green beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, onion, and serrano chiles in a ceramic bowl, cover and refrigerate.

In a glass jar with a cover, add the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, dry mustard, basil, parsley, and the habanero chile. Shake the mixture until the sigar dissolves, and then allow the dressing to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Shake the dressing again, pour it over the bean mixture, cover, and allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Pungent Potato Salad with Lime Chipotle Dressing

This salad is filling and light all at the same time. We’ve kept the calories low and satisfaction level high by including some of our favorite ingredients, including potatoes, mustard, and chipotle chiles.

  • Water

  • 2 pounds small new potatoes, skins on, washed well

  • 2 sprigs fresh mint

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, stems removed, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

  • Grated zest of 1 lime

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

  • Ground lemon pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

  • 1 small bunch of cilantro

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Place the pot over high heat until the water boils. Add the potatoes, mint and the salt. Reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are tender when poked with a fork.

While the potatoes boil, place the garlic, chipotles, and salt in a mortar crush until blended. When they resemble the consistency of a paste, whisk in the lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, mustard and lemon pepper then set aside.

When the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander and transfer them to a serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the potatoes while they are still hot, making sure that each potato is coated with the dressing. Garnish with the chopped chives and cilantro leaves.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

East Meets West Mushroom Butter Lettuce Salad

The idea of shitake mushrooms and piñons may sound a little strange, but it’s amazing what wonderful things you can come up with when you are willing to work with what’s in the cupboard! However, it does have a bit of a kick, so don’t serve it to friends who are faint of heart!

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons chili oil

  • 2 Thai chiles, seeds and stem removed, minced (or substitute serranos)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned

  • 12 large shitake mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed

  • 1/2 cup chopped piñon nuts

In a small non-reactive bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, chili oil, Thai chili, olive oil, and sugar, then set aside. Preheat the broiler, then divide the butter lettuce leave equally among 4 chilled salad plates.

Place the mushroom stem-side down on a broiling rack. Brush the sauce on to the mushrooms. Place the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat and broil until the mushrooms are brown and crusty, about 2 minutes.

When the mushrooms are done, quickly place the mushrooms on top of the butter lettuce, and pour any remaining liquid on lop of the mushrooms. Sprinkle each plate with the piñons, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Chilied Cantaloupe, Cranberry and Bean Salad

So your thinking, “Hmmmm, what an interesting combination of stuff.” Actually, this is a gorgeous salad that is both sweet and tart all at the same time. Note that this is also a time saver as we happily suggest you use one of the best inventions of the 90’s–prewashed and chopped salad in a bag!

  • 1 medium cantaloupe, cut in half, seeds removed

  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

  • 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and diced

  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1 bag mixed baby lettuces

  • 1 can cranberry sauce

Cut each half of the cantaloupe into 4 lengthwise slices. Cut the peel off of each slice. Dice 1/2 of the cantaloupe and place the pieces in a medium bowl. Cut the remaining slices in half again lengthwise, then cover them with plastic wrap and chill.

In a bowl, add the beans, bell pepper, jalapeño, and green onions to the diced cantaloupe. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, honey, safflower oil, allspice and salt.

Distribute the baby lettuce equally among 4 salad plates. Place a dollop of cranberry sauce in the middle of the lettuce on each plate. Place one slice of cantaloupe on each plate. Add a scoop of the bean mixture to each salad and sprinkle with the dressing.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Hot Habanero Mango Bulgur Salad

Mango and habanero offer a tantalizing salad combination. As always, be judicious with your use of the world’s hottest chile — remember you can always add more, but it’s hard to take away the heat if you add too much.

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat

  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced

  • 1/2 cup carrot shredded

  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips

  • 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced

  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup diced papaya

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup sweet rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons chile oil

  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

  • 1/8 teaspoon pressed garlic

  • 1/4 habanero chile, seeds and stem removed, minced (or more to taste)

Place the bulgur and boiling water in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Cover the dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes to hydrate. Remove the bulgur from the microwave and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, place the mangoes, carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber, celery, and onion.

Put all of the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add the cooled-down bulgur to the vegetable bowl, then pour the dressing over the entire mixture. Stir gently to coat and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Hot

Key West Salad

The flavors of Margaritaville and Key West are all combined in this interesting salad, replete with tequila and lime! If you’re a Jimmy Buffet fan, you’ll know what we mean. If you’ve never heard of him, buy one of his CDs! The salad is hot, spicy, and refreshing; serve it with a grilled fish dish.

  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple

  • 1 small ripe papaya, peeled and diced (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 cup shredded cabbage

  • 1 habanero chile, seeds and stem removed, minced

  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, preferably chile flavored (see note) or substitute pecans

  • 1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup low fat sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons tequila

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Mix together the pineapple, papaya, cabbage, habanero chile, and pistachios in a medium size bowl. Chill for one hour.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, tequila, lime juice, white pepper, and sugar until the mixture is well blended. Pour it over the chilled mixture and toss lightly. Serve immediately.

Yield: 5 servings

Heat Scale: Medium to Hot, depending on the size and intensity of the habanero chile

Horseradish-Cilantro Tomato Vinaigrette

Horseradish is often overlooked as a viable hot and spicy ingredient. However, any one who has ever eaten something prepared with a healthy helping of horseradish will attest to its hot and potent powers! This recipe is an adaptation of a classic from the Horseradish Information Council. Serve over any prepared salad.

  • 1/2 cup fresh roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon habanero powder

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender jar. Blend until smooth. While the blender is still running, slowly add the olive oil until the dressing is well combined and thick. Cover and leave at room temperature.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Heat Scale: Medium

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