Sunday, March 4, 2012

Salad Towers

Think vegetables.
Stacked high.
Held together only by pressure.
And salad dressing.

Okay, so the veggies didn't stay up like they were supposed to...
The lettuce was squished to smithereens. 
And the salad dressing was soup by the end.

It was supposed to look like this...

But it ended up looking like this...

The exact replica, right?
Yeah, I thought so too...

I got the idea of making a "Salad Tower" after going to a really expensive awesome restaurant called Ruth's Chris Steak House
The food is delicious. The decor is classy. The service is great.
What's not to love?

I ordered the Sweet and Spicy Thai Salmon. Devin and his dad both ordered steak (of course, they're guys). Devin's mom ordered a salad.

The sides there are big enough to share with 3-4 people. Yeah, talk about awesome.
We ordered the Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, and Broccoli Au Gratin.

And guess what we got for dessert?
Do it.
Okay, you probably won't get it...but we ordered another side! Ha.
It was Steve's idea (Devin's dad). Apparently one time he ordered the Sweet Potato Casserole and got vanilla ice cream on top of it.
So we did too.
And it was ama.zing.

That was fun...but you don't want to hear about me eating delicious food, you want to get delicious food yourself.

Back to the good stuff.
Salad Towers.
Ruth's Chris' salad tower was called Ruth's Jumbo Chop Salad, and was comprised of: lettuce, spinach, radicchio, red onions, mushrooms, green olives, bacon, eggs, hearts of palm, croutons, bleu cheese, lemon basil dressing, and crispy onions.

Dev and I loved it so much that we wanted to make our own.
But we wanted to make it Southwestern-style, 'cause that's just the way we roll.
Here's all the fixins'... 

Lettuce, red onions, green peppers, red peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, bacon, eggs, sweet chipotle black beans, pepper-jack cheese, Southwestern-style ranch dressing, and crispy tortilla strips.

Sweet Chipotle Black Beans

  • 1 (16 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the black beans, chipotle sauce, and honey. Mix well. Stir in cumin, garlic salt, and basil. Place bowl in the refrigerator until chilled. 

Southwest Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. could make some from scratch, that would be cool.

Southwest Ranch Dressing (from scratch)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, depending on how thick you want it
  • 2 tablespoons minced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced pickled jalapeƱo slices
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. For best results, cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

So here's how it works...

Salad Towers
Makes 2 servings
  • 2-3 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped banana peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers / red peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/8 cup chopped bacon
  • 2 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet chipotle black beans (see above)
  • 1/4 cup pepper-jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Southwest Ranch dressing (see above)
  • crispy tortilla strips, for garnish (you can either make these yourself or buy them)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, all veggies, bacon, eggs, black beans, and cheese. Stir in the 1/2 cup ranch dressing (or 1/4 cup if you are splitting the recipe in half, for one serving).
  2. In a Measure-All Cup, shove in half of the salad mixins' (this cup will only hold one serving at a time). Place the cup upside down on a plate and press on the cup plunger to compress the salad. You will need to press REALLY HARD in order to make the salad stand as a tower. Don't be afraid to show that cup who's boss.
  3. Slowly press down the plunger, while keeping the opposite end (clear plastic cylinder) on the plate. Then slide the plunger down as you slide the cylinder up. Be gentle, because the salad tower can collapse pretty easily.
  4. Place a few tortilla strips on top, and voila! You have your salad tower.
  5. Continue to make one more salad tower with the remaining salad stuff in your bowl.


so we tried it again.

Slowly releasing the beast...


Time to break it apart and eat!
Poor little guy...

We both agreed that this was one of the most delicious salads we have ever eaten. And I have eaten quite the variety of salads, my friend.

I don't know how Ruth's Chris made it so easily, because this was hard.
Note for next time: chop the lettuce into smaller pieces.


  1. I know it doesn't look like much, but this really was the best salad I have ever tasted...we are DEFinitely doing it again. ;)


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