Tex-Mex Chipotle Summer Salad

It's zucchini season so get your spiralizer ready!

Spiralizing veggies is an easy way to add pasta-like noodles to any dish.  Zucchini noodles keep the dish light and very low in calories allowing you to eat more without feeling too full.

This salad is loaded with summer favorites plus black beans and avocado making it a hearty salad that eats like a meal. The flavors blend so well together from the sweet corn to the the creamy avocado plus a little spicy kick from the chipotle vinaigrette keeps you coming back for more. I couldn't stop eating it! This will definitely be one of my go to salads this summer. It's the perfect way to use up the left over corn from your cookout. Grilling the corn will give it a nice smokey flavor but steamed or boiled is just as tasty. 

The chipotle honey vinaigrette adds a sweet and spicy kick to the veggie medley. This dressing is similar to the vinaigrette served at a famous Mexican grill. I reduced the oil by half and added chia seeds to help thicken the vinaigrette. Raw honey is technically not Vegan but when the bees are raised locally and sustainably I feel it can be a part of a healthy Vegan diet. I personally know the farmers that I purchase my honey from and know that they only harvest the amount of honey that is sustainable to the colony. So, by supporting local honey bee farmers we are supporting sustainable honey bee farming and increasing the honey bee population. The decline of honey bees in the wild is at and all time high. These local farmers are doing us a favor because we all need the honey bees to pollinate so we can enjoy our favorite fruits and veggies. 

This is a great salad to take to a cookout or for a potluck dinner.  For best results keep the dressing separate and drizzle over just before serving. Makes about 10 cups. 

Salad Recipe:

*2 small or 1 medium zucchini, spiralized on the smallest blade, about 6-8 cups

*2 ears cooked corn, cut off the cob

*1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

*1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks

*1 red pepper, diced small

*2 green onions, sliced thin

*10 banana pepper rings, chopped

*1 ripe avocado, diced

*1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)

Spiralize zucchini, chop into bite size pieces, and place in large glass bowl. Add remaining ingredients except avocado. Avocado are best cut and added just before serving since they brown quickly once cut. 

Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette:

* 6 Tablespoons  red wine vinegar

* 1/4 cup Raw honey

* 6 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil 

* 6 Tablespoons water

* 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

* 1/2 tsp. sea salt

* 1/2 tsp. ground pepper

* 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (these are spicy so only add one to start)

* 2 small cloves garlic, crushed

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.