Sometimes the best kind of salad is one that doesn’t have any lettuce at all, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be chock full of flavorful, vibrant veggies. Case in point, this Peruvian Chopped Salad. Now, I love a chopped salad because they mean you get allll the flavors in just one bite, but this one is particularly delicious. Filled with tons of bold stuff like sweet corn, sharp radish and red onion, salty black olives and queso fresco, and plenty of tender lima beans, when it all comes together it’s an incredibly well-balanced side dish. (And versatile and easy-to-make too!)
Traditionally, Peruvian Chopped Salad (also known as Solterito) is largely made up of fava beans and Andean corn but it’s a dish with countless variations since cooks tend to change it up depending on what region they’re in or what they have on hand. Some versions are based on just three or four main ingredients and while ours has more, it’s totally versatile. Can’t find favas or limas? Edamame works just fine in a pinch. Don’t like the bite of red onion? Go ahead and skip it.
You can add an ingredient or leave one out where you need to, but what you don’t want to mess with too much is the dressing. It’s a tangy, simple vinaigrette that features both mint and cilantro which is a combination I haven’t come across often enough in my life. The mint adds a zing of cool freshness while the cilantro lends its unique lemony flavor and while you might have never encountered them together before, you’ll quickly find that they’re a great pair.
This is a great meal prep salad – since it doesn’t have any lettuce to get sad and wilty, it can hang out in the fridge for a while and come through just fine. It’s best served chilled and it’s filling and protein-packed enough that it works as a main dish – and a vegetarian one at that!
Peruvian Chopped Salad
10m prep time
- 2 cups corn kernels
- 2 cups frozen or fresh lima or fava beans (can substitute edamame if needed)
- 3/4 cup radishes, diced
- 3/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups queso fresco, crumbled
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook lima beans according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously for 1 minute.
- Add cooled beans and corn, radishes, red onion, all but 2 tablespoons of the queso fresco, jalapeno, black olives, mint, and cilantro. Toss until well mixed.
- If serving right away, add tomatoes and toss once more. If not, chill covered until ready to serve and add tomatoes just before serving.
- When ready to serve, garnish with remaining queso fresco. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Anita's Table Talk.