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Cowgirl Salad - a Santa Fe inspired salad topped with either cajun tofu or chicken and filled with healthy ingredients topped with a perfect peanut lime salad dressing
5 from 6 votes

Cowgirl Salad

This Santa-Fe style salad is brimming with flavour, fibre and colour and is such a showy dish to impress guests!  You can double the chicken or tofu if you're making it for a bigger (or hungrier) crowd.  

Course Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Author Fraîche Nutrition


Salad Dressing

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Cajun Chicken or Tofu

  • 1 350 g. package extra firm tofu OR
  • 2 free range chicken breast halves
  • avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cajun spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 heads (10 cups) torn romaine lettuce (bite size pieces)
  • 1 540 ml can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, cooked and cooled (use frozen or from 2 fresh cooked cobs)
  • 2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta or vegan feta (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 avocados, sliced or diced
  • tortilla chips for serving (optional)
  • 1 lime, cut in wedges for serving



  1. Combine all of the salad dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Set aside.


  1. To prepare the chicken, preheat a grill to medium.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil or avocado oil over each chicken breast, rub it in, sprinkle each with the cajun spice mix to coat and season with salt.  Grill on a barbecue or in a grill pan on medium heat on the stove on both sides until the internal temperature reaches 165F.  Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest.

  2. To prepare the tofu, cut the tofu into 1/2" cubes and pat dry.  Drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil or avocado oil, toss to coat, sprinkle the tofu cubes with the cajun spice mix to coat and season with salt.  Heat 1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the tofu cubes, and fry on all sides until just golden brown, about 2-3 minutes a side.  Remove from the heat and set aside.


  1. Place the torn romaine lettuce in a large bowl or in a large platter with sides.  Top with the black beans, corn, peppers, dates, feta and onion.  Slice the avocado on the salad just before serving, top with the grilled chicken or tofu, garnish with the lime wedges, and serve with the tortilla chips and salad dressing on the side.  Alternately, you can toss the salad with the salad dressing before adding the avocado, chicken or tofu and lime wedges. 

Recipe Notes

Make it vegan: use tofu and replace the feta with vegan feta or leave out the cheese

Make it gluten free: use certified gluten-free ingredients (ie: soy sauce)