I have two favorite games in the kitchen. The first one: Dishwasher Tetris. He doesn’t realize we’re competing, but I always beat him. I can rearrange that appliance to fit every last dirty dish, even dishes Kev swears will never fit. And the second game: Fridge Foraging. (It’s important to note, these might be the only two games in life that I have the upper hand on Kev.)
This post was created in an ongoing partnership with Alexia. A chef once told me to source the things that others do better. That’s how I feel about Alexia’s fries and sides. To see how they are shaking things up with chef-inspired flavors, real ingredients, healthy alternatives, and surprising recipes, follow Alexia on Facebook and Instagram, or check out their website.
I first heard the phrase Fridge Foraging from Amanda Frederickson. You know those dinners birthed from an empty fridge and pantry? That’s how this game works. It’s true what they say—necessity is the mother of invention. And that’s where my best dinner recipes are born—at 5:30 pm from the random bits around the kitchen.
This BBQ Ranch Southwest Salad is composed from all the random bits. From the box of lettuce greens, the ripened avocado, the half eaten hearty head of red cabbage, the leftover red and green onions, the bucket of yogurt, and the condiment shelf in the fridge. From the always stocked organic sweet corn and the Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs in the freezer. From the can of black beans and the jar of pepita seeds in the pantry.
That’s how dinner was won the other night. Not that Kev was playing. What is it they also say? Celebrate the little things, like these little sweet potato croutons. I think I’ll start that all-salad diet before January after all.
The ingredient list for this recipe looks forever long, however, most of the ingredients are in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. It’s 1 part nutrient dense, 1 part indulgent, and 5 parts delicious.
Sweet Potato Croutons:
28 Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs
1/4 tsp. chili powder
heaping 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
dash of cayenne pepper
4 tbsp. (1/4 cup) Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
2 tbsp. high-quality mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp. BBQ sauce
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 green onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, packed
1 small clove garlic, smashed
a couple cracks of fresh pepper
1 1/2 c. frozen sweet corn
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 (15 oz.) can of beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. chopped bibb lettuce (or similar)
1 c. thinly sliced red cabbage
1 avocado, diced
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
sprinkle of pepita seeds
sprinkle of cotija
Make the Sweet Potato Croutons. Preheat the oven to 450°F. On an unlined baking sheet, evenly place the Sweet Potato Puffs. Bake for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Remove from oven and toss with spice mixture to evenly coat. Flip each puff over and bake for 12 minutes more.
While the croutons bake, make the BBQ Ranch. In a high-powered blender, add all the BBQ ranch ingredients and blend until smooth. (Tip: For easy clean-up, use a tablespoon and a teaspoon for all measurements. Measure the salt before the vinegar to avoid having to clean the utensil mid-measuring.) This can be made 1 week in advance.
Make the charred corn. In a preheated skillet over medium-high heat, add all the charred corn ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes until charred, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt as needed. Set aside.
Prepare the salad ingredients. Evenly divide greens, beans, charred corn, and sweet potato croutons between plates. Top with the cabbage, avocado, and onions. Sprinkle with pepita seeds, cotija, and BBQ Ranch. Serve.
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