Gav Martell: He’s in the Kitchen


Southwestern Chopped Salad

Hidden Valley Ranch Takes This Salad Up A Notch

Hidden Valley Ranch recently introduced some new flavours into their already popular lineup of Ranch dressings. I had a chance to test out their Classic Cheese Ranch and Spicy Ranch dressings at home this week. Hidden Valley has always had a delicious and creamy ranch dressing and I was interested to see if they could carry that over into some new flavour profiles.

I thought a great way to try out these new dressings would be in one of my all-time favourite recipes: Southwestern Chopped Salad. I simply split all of the ingredients into two and made a tame version of the salad for the kids with the Classic Ranch Cheese dressing while opting for the more adventurous Spicy Ranch dressing for the adults. Dressings carry quite serious consideration in our household. If my kids like them it means they're eating more vegetables and choosing healthier snack options. If they don't like a dressing, there's no talking them into eating it...which in turn means there's no talking them into eating vegetables.

Well, the great thing is my kids loved the cheesy and creamy salad I made with the Classic Ranch Cheese dressing. My oldest, Emily, asked if she could have it with some vegetables for lunch the following day—definitely a two-thumbs up review. The Spicy Ranch that the adults ate has a great balance of both spicy and red peppers, making for a really zesty addition to our salad. A bit more of a grown-up version on a classic.

Southwestern Chopped Salad


1 1/2 cups can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned corn, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 scallion, chopped (green only)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 romaine hearts or 1 iceberg lettuce shredded
1/4 cup corn chip strips
Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
2 roasted chicken breasts, cubed (optional)
1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
 Combine beans, corn, 1/2 of tomato, onion, scallion, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper in a container. Mix with 1/4 cup Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
 In a large bowl toss marinated vegetables, avocado and lettuce. Add additional dressing, to taste. Top with bbq chicken, corn chip strips and remaining chopped tomato.