Cheesecake Factory. My mouth is watering just saying the words. Home of delicious eats and the largest menu I’ve ever encountered (seriously, how many times is it acceptable to ask the waitress for more time?)
I had never been to a Cheesecake Factory until one opened in the giant mall nearby about a year ago… I’m still daydreaming about the concoctions I want to try there. The only downside to all of this cheesecakey deliciousness is the major backwards step it can have on anyone trying to watch their weight. Cheesecake Factory actually ranks as one of the highest calorie menus within popular restaurants. This doesn’t mean it’s off limits, simply proceed with caution. Ditch the bread, order water to drink, and check out that ‘Skinnylicious’ menu.
Yes, skinnylicious is a new word. I’m not convinced until my computer stops trying to autocorrect it. I digress.
I don’t usually order salads for an entrée in restaurants. Yes, they always taste better when someone else makes them. I just have a hard time choosing a salad when there’s so many tasty options that I can’t/won’t. make myself. This salad was the exception. Granted, anyone has me at ‘Mexican’ or ‘Tortilla’, but those words combined with the ‘Skinnylicious’ (low calorie) angle sold me. My mom has always raved about Cheesecake Factory salads, now I can say I’m a believer.
Naturally, I immediately wanted to recreate it at home.
I give you- my best attempt at duplicating Cheesecake Factory’s Mexican Tortilla Salad.
- finely chopped romaine lettuce
- hand-chopped salad/pico de gallo (my easy recipe here)
- black beans
- tomatillo salsa verde
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- sour cream whipped together with guacamole
- grilled chicken
- tortilla chips/strips, lightly broken
- balsamic vinaigrette dressing
I cannot emphasize enough how finely chopping this salad makes all the difference. Start with a nice size salad bowl/plate. Lay down a sprinkling of tortilla chips. Top with a drizzle of salsa verde and handful of black beans. Top with chicken strips and corn. Mix chopped cilantro right in with chopped romaine, and pile it high on that plate. Place pico de gallo generously around the edge of the salad. Drizzle entire salad with a little balsamic vinaigrette (I mixed in some Mexican seasonings) and the avocado/sour cream mixture. To finish, top with another light sprinkle of crushed tortilla chips
The most important part of the salad happens once it is served. Mix it all together. The beauty of this salad is that every bite has a perfect distribution of all the ingredients, yummmm.
*I don’t feel like anyone actually measures ingredients for salads
I promise I will take a break from posting Mexican recipes, now. Thank you for your understanding.
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