Southwest Power Salad

The holidays are filled with bountiful sweets and decadent meals. Sadly, this time can also be filled with guilt from overindulgence. But no one wants to be deprived during the most “wonderful time of the year.” My best friend had to remind me of one simple thing during this feeding frenzy of a holiday and it’s simple: Only eat the things that truly bring you enjoyment. Just because there’s an elaborate buffet of treats at the office or holiday-themed cocktails flowing at a party doesn’t mean you have to eat and drink everything that’s there. If something doesn’t make your mouth truly sing, then leave it off your plate. For example, do I really like eggnog? Nope. Would I rather have a Brandy Alexander? Absolutely. Pick and choose right and you won’t ever have to feel guilty.

So in an effort to abandon those devilish voices in my head and give myself permission to indulge guilt-free, I’m going to ensure that I eat healthy during the work week (in between parties, family gatherings, and drinks with the gals) to ward off unnecessary temptations. Sometimes salads can be really drab but I promise that this Southwestern power bowl is bursting with delicious and fresh flavors. It’s packed with wholesome nutrients to give you energy and brain power to conquer the day, and still enjoy those sugar cookies later on.

Ingredients

Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
2 tbsp lime juice, about 2 limes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 chipotle pepper, optional
1/2 tsp salt

For the dressing, blend all the ingredients together in a food processor. (A small hand-held processor like the Magic Bullet works great). The dressing is delicious with or without a chipotle pepper, it’s up to you.

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2 bell peppers, diced (1 red, 1 orange)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup edamame beans
1 red apple, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 avocado, diced (I always dice avocados last to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown)

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Toss everything together and add as little or as much of the dressing as you want.

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The lime juice in the dressing will keep the ingredients (especially the avocado) bright, crisp, and fresh.

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