Santa Fe Salad With Cabbage and Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

Santa Fe Salad With Cabbage and Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

This Santa Fe Salad begins with tender juicy chicken breasts and fresh corn on the cob grilled over charcoal. The base of this salad is raw green cabbage diced like confetti, which gives this salad crunch like no other!

The crunchy diced cabbage, smoky grilled chicken and sweet corn are tossed together with tomatoes, black beans and served with crunchy fried tortilla strips, shredded cheddar cheese, and a fresh and tangy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing that just gets better the longer it sits.

I have to be honest about this Santa Fe Salad you have to like eating raw cabbage. If you don’t like raw cabbage I suppose you could just use all lettuce. However, you are going to miss the sweet crunch of the cabbage.

Santa Fe Salad

Believe it or not, with all the food we cook and share with you, there are still times when I don’t have anything to take to work for lunch. When this happens, I run into the store at the butt-crack-of-dawn and grab something to eat for lunch on my way into the office. It takes us way too long to get to work, heck if I’m going back out at lunchtime. Not to mention delivery would probably cost way too much for anything remotely healthy. 

The inspiration to make this Santa Fe Salad came from a similar packaged salad I purchased a few times from the grocery store to take to work for lunch. The packaged salad was good, but I knew if I could recreate it at home it would be even better!

So, with David’s help on the grill, I recreated a homemade Santa Fe Salad. This salad is extremely satisfying and tastes so much better than the prepared salad from the store.

Let me share the recipe with you…

How To Make Santa Fe Salad With Cabbage and Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

Prepare the Jalapeno Ranch Dressing:

First, make the dressing the day before you plan on serving the salad. NO EXCEPTIONS! Here’s why…

I made this Jalapeño Ranch Dressing the day before I made this salad to save myself some time. However, the salad dressing I created was God Awful! I’m not even kidding.

jalapeno ranch dressing

I was pretty upset that the dressing didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. But I stuck it in the refrigerator anyway and would figure out what to do with it the next day.

The next day, when I pulled the jar of dressing out of the refrigerator. I popped off the top to stir and give it another taste. Right off I noticed it was extremely thick, so I stirred in some fresh lime juice to thin it up a bit. I gave the dressing one more taste.

HOLY MOLY!

I could not believe the transformation this dressing did overnight. It was amazingly delicious! The dressing was the hardest part to recreate, but it sure did turn out nice. Both David and I could not get enough of it.

To Make the Jalapeño Ranch Dressing, blend all of the ingredients, EXCEPT FOR THE LIME JUICE, together (using an immersion blender, in a blender or food processor) until smooth and creamy.

Pour the dressing into a jar or airtight container with a lid. Place it inside the refrigerator overnight.

chicken and corn on grill

Grill the Chicken & Corn:

Fire up the grill for indirect heat and preheat to 350 to 400 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Season the breasts with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place the chicken directly over the hot coals. Move the chicken to the cooler zone after the flesh of the chicken has browned and grill marks form, on both sides, about 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side).

checking temp of chicken with Thermapen
David loves his Thermapen instant-read thermometer by Thermoworks.

Continue to grill the chicken over indirect heat with the lid closed. This will help maintain a constant temperature, about 300 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until done or an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F. Remove chicken from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes, before cutting into slices or bite-sized pieces for the salad.

Shuck the corn, removing the husks and silk using a vegetable brush. Add the ears of corn directly over the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning occasionally until charred on all sides and tender; about 10 minutes. Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool. Then remove the kernels from the cob into a small bowl.

corn shredder shredding corn

I love my corn shredder, like this one. It is a cheap inexpensive way to make cutting the corn off the cob a cinch!

diced cabbage for Santa Fe Salad

Dice The Cabbage:

Meanwhile, remove the outer dark leaves of the cabbage. Locate the stem on the bottom of the cabbage head. Cut the cabbage in half through the stem. Then cut the halves in half again, to yield 4 quarter cuts. Cut out the cores, then slice and dice the cabbage until it resembles confetti, uniform in size.

If you don’t want to use 100% cabbage, you can mix it with chopped lettuce of your choice. I have actually purchased the salad both ways.

Assemble the Santa Fe Salads:

Divide the diced cabbage into four serving bowls or plates. Top each dish of cabbage equally with grilled corn, chopped tomatoes, black beans, and chopped chicken.

a bite of Santa Fe Salad on fork with mountain view

Serve the Santa Fe Salads:

Before serving stir the lime juice into the Jalapeño Ranch Dressing. Serve the salads topped with dressing, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla strips.

It may seem like an odd combination of ingredients, but I highly recommend you give this Santa Fe Salad a try.

Enjoy the crunch!

Santa Fe Salad With Cabbage and Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

This Santa Fe Salad is a cabbage salad made with cabbage and a fresh tangy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing that has a crunch and flavor like no other salad recipe!
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Southwestern
Keyword Jalapeno, ranch dressing, Salad Recipe, Santa Fe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chicken breasts boneless skinless
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 2 ears corn on the cob fresh (1 cup)
  • 4 cups cabbage dark green leaves removed, core and diced (See Recipe Notes)
  • 1 cup black beans rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved or quartered
  • ¾ cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 6 tablespoons tortilla strips

Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

  • 1 ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper ribs and seed removed
  • ¼ cup cilantro fresh
  • 1 tablespoon dill fresh
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more if you dare!
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice added before serving

Instructions

  • Prepare the Jalapeño Ranch Dressing (See recipe notes)
  • Blend all of the dressing ingredients, EXCEPT FOR THE LIME JUICE, together in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour the dressing into a jar or airtight container with a lid. Place it inside the refrigerator overnight.

Grill the Chicken & Corn

  • Fire up the grill for indirect heat and preheat to 350 to 400 degrees F.
  • Rinse the chicken with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Season the breasts with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place the chicken directly over the hot coals. Move the chicken to the cooler zone after the flesh of the chicken has browned and grill marks form, on both sides, about 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side).
  • Continue to grill the chicken over indirect heat with the lid closed. This will help maintain a constant temperature, about 300 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until done or an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F. Remove chicken from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes, before cutting into slices or bite-sized pieces.
  • Shuck the corn, removing the husks and silk. Add the ears of corn directly over the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning occasionally until charred on all sides and tender; about 10 minutes. Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool. Then remove the kernels from the cob into a small bowl.

Dice The Cabbage

  • Meanwhile, remove the outer dark leaves of the cabbage. Locate the stem on the bottom of the cabbage head. Cut the cabbage in half through the stem. Then cut the halves in half again, to yield 4 quarter cuts. Cut out the cores, then slice and dice the cabbage until it resembles confetti, uniform in size.

Assemble the Salads

  • Divide the diced cabbage into four serving bowls or plates. Top each dish of cabbage equally with grilled corn, chopped tomatoes, black beans, and chopped chicken.

Serve the Salads

  • Before serving stir the lime juice into the Jalapeño Ranch Dressing.
    Serve the salads topped with dressing, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla strips.
    Enjoy the crunch!

Notes

For best results, make the Jalapeño Ranch Dressing a day ahead and store in the refrigerator inside an airtight jar or container with lid to allow the flavors to get happy and meld together.
If you don’t want to use 100% cabbage, you can mix it with chopped lettuce of your choice.
Did you try this recipe? Tell us what you think!Give this recipe a star rating, leave a comment below and share pictures of your food with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! We can’t wait to see them! Don’t forget to mention @TheMountainKitchen or tag #TheMountainKitchen!

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The Mountain Kitchen

Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life.
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2 thoughts on “Santa Fe Salad With Cabbage and Jalapeño Ranch Dressing”

  • I love salads like this. And I love flavors like this. Cabbage is a wonderful addition to a salad. Even if I’m having a “fancier” dinner, I add cabbage to the salad and people are always pleasantly surprised because they thought they didn’t like cabbage!

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