What do you get when you mix sweet and spicy, fresh and healthy, and crunchy and soft? The answer could be many amazing culinary creations, of course, but in this case, it’s an oh-so-delicious Mango-Avocado Salad with Panela Croutons and Chipotle Crema Mexicana. Exciting, right?
I served this salad at dinner party last week, and it was a huge hit. (Honestly, it received such loud acclaim that I felt myself blushing.) My favorite remark was from a friend who said that the dish was “an explosion of addictive deliciousness.” (I don’t know if I love my food being described as an explosion exactly, but I appreciate the positive sentiment.) Another friend couldn’t believe what scrumptious croutons the Panela cheese made – and she called the Panela the “super secret ingredient.” Everyone wanted to bottle the dressing, which was made so silky with Cacique® Crema Mexicana.
(I hope the paragraph above doesn’t sound “braggy.” I was thrilled about the reception this salad received . . . and I want you to duplicate the success for yourself!)
While this salad would be lovely as a side dish or first course, it’s a perfect entrée since it’s truly a meal unto itself. I did add a warm loaf of rustic bread to the table (I had guests to impress, after all.) One of my friends brought a bottle of wine, and another a few pints of ice cream. Throwing a dinner party has never been so simple — and delicious!
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- olive oil for the pan
- 1 (12-ounce) package Cacique® Panela cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 heads butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium-sized mangos, cut into bite-sized cubes (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium-sized avocados, cut into bite-sized cubes (about 2 cups)
- 2 small to medium-sized tomatoes, washed, dried and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup roasted pepitas
HOW TO MAKE IT
- For the dressing: Add the Cacique® Crema Mexicana, orange juice, chipotles, cumin and salt to a small bowl, and whisk until blended. Set aside.
- For the croutons: Coat the bottom of a large, non-stick pan with olive oil and place it over high heat. Once it's hot, add the Cacique® Panela cubes and brown the top and bottom, about 30 seconds per side. Add them into a bowl, with any remaining oil in the pan, and gently toss them with the garlic. Set aside.
- For the salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce with the mango, avocado, tomato, and onion. Add the Panela croutons and the dressing and gently toss. Sprinkle the pepitas on top and serve.