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Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto

This Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto is healthy and you won’t believe the amazing flavor of the pesto!

This Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto is healthy and you won't believe the amazing flavor of the pesto! Freeze the pesto, pick up a rotisserie chicken and thaw your pesto while you're chopping a few veggies. Voilà! Dinner is done in no time!

Here we are, at my final post for the #ReclaimTheKitchen campaign, something that was much more fun to work on that I could have imagined. It really got me thinking about not only what I’m cooking, but why I take the time to cook it.

It was a treat for me to reflect on the memories and events that brought me to my cooking life today.

I told you about my dad and how he was raised very poor in a small town in Northern Minnesota. I shared the special memories I have when my mom and I would share Oyster Stew, just the two of us.

I still find it fascinating that in 1900 we ate 98% of our meals in our homes and today it’s less than 50%! Of course, we change with the times and cooking must change right along with it.

Still, just as we lament over the loss of “real” human interaction due to iPhones and social media, I can’t help but think that we’ve also lost those precious few minutes we could be sharing at the family dinner table.

I heard from quite a few of you who shared your own thoughts and memories on the topic.

Amy from Very Culinary said, “I have super fond memories of helping my mom make egg rolls and potstickers from scratch. It was like an assembly line and I would help her all day. Only me, not my sister.”

Des from Life’s Ambrosia shared this tip: “I love the idea of reclaiming the kitchen and I love this post. We always have dinner around the kitchen table. I think it is super important. And I too like to cook things that will work for multiple meals. My favorite thing is pulled pork. I take an inexpensive cut of meat and make 3 – 4 meals out of it. It makes it so we can enjoy home-cooked meals at home and it’s a lot easier on me with two little ones running around.”

This Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto is healthy and you won't believe the amazing flavor of the pesto! Freeze the pesto, pick up a rotisserie chicken and thaw your pesto while you're chopping a few veggies. Voilà! Dinner is done in no time!

As you know, I’m a big fan of roasting two chickens or a big cut of meat and using it for several meals. I don’t personally use a slow cooker, but I’m a believer in them nonetheless. Throw a roast in on your way out the door with some potatoes and carrots – dinner is done! Then use what’s left for tacos, put it on pizza or mix it in with scrambled eggs and have Breakfast For Dinner! And we do eat out; we like to choose one night that’s our time to get out of the house and enjoy it. It’s usually on a weekend, but occasionally I’ll just surprise everyone for the fun of it. Making it a special thing works for us; that way we all look forward to it and we tend to talk and enjoy it more. Eating out is fun, I just know that for me personally, cooking brings a joy and togetherness that I can’t find in a restaurant. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is better than my girls wandering into the kitchen and asking “What is that?” and showing them a vegetable or ingredient they’ve never seen before. Or explaining to them why I cut an onion a certain way for soups and another way for enchiladas. Cooking is not only fun but it’s interesting and there’s a science behind it that is really fun to share!

I’m so glad I was able to share a few of these special memories with you and I was thrilled to hear some of your favorite memories and traditions, too! Let’s teach our kids the “how” of cooking and, more importantly, let’s show them the “why”. If it’s important to us now, it will be important to them later. Happy Cooking!

This Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto is healthy and you won't believe the amazing flavor of the pesto! Freeze the pesto, pick up a rotisserie chicken and thaw your pesto while you're chopping a few veggies. Voilà! Dinner is done in no time!

Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto

Mexican Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto

Yield: 0

Ingredients

For Pesto:

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, about 4-5 cups, more or less to taste; use the stems, too!
  • 5 jalapeños, roasted (just pop under the broiler until they're blackened in spots; no need to peel after, just slice off the stem once roasted and you're good to go)
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Salad:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
  • 1 - 2 cucumbers, sliced or chopped
  • 2-3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed (no need to cook)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced if preferred
  • optional: black beans and avocado

Instructions

Make the pesto:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I adore my Vitamix) and blend until very smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve (the flavors will develop if you allow it time to sit awhile). NOTE: Pesto can be frozen! Double the recipe so you'll have some for another dinner - it goes really well with EVERYTHING - even on baked potatoes!)

Assemble the salad:

  1. Place salad ingredients in a large bowl. If no leftovers are anticipated, toss the pesto with the salad and serve. Alternatively, divide salad between bowls and add pesto as needed.

Do you love peppers? Mild, scorching hot and everything in between? Check out Jalapeño Mania for tons of great recipes (and submit your own and link to your own site, too)!
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Mexican Chopped Salad with Spicy Sweet Chipotle Balsamic Dressing

Monday 12th of September 2016

[…] Veggie Salad, this Chopped Thai Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing or even this similar salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto as the […]

Jess

Thursday 17th of September 2015

Just made the dressing last night, and everyone at work was "green" with envy of my lunch today...THANKS KRISTY!

Kristy Bernardo

Monday 28th of September 2015

That is so awesome, Jess!! Thanks for letting me know!!

Nerlyn

Tuesday 30th of June 2015

Love your site! Like your combinations to create your dishes. That is the idea, you can make a great dish with just adding a few ingredients.

Kristy Bernardo

Wednesday 1st of July 2015

Thank you so much!

Calie

Sunday 31st of May 2015

It is so fantastic. I love it. It is so healthy and delicious. I love your ingredient. Thanks.

Kristy Bernardo

Wednesday 17th of June 2015

Thanks, Calie!

Ali from Home & Plate

Tuesday 12th of May 2015

Kristy...This salad looks divine and delicious with the right punch of flavor. Your photos are beautiful .

Kristy Bernardo

Wednesday 13th of May 2015

Thank you so much, Ali!

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