This vegetarian Mexican Salad is as delicious as it is filling. The salad is fresh and zesty, and it’s made with wholesome ingredients – mescaline leaves, wild rice (that could easily be substituted or omitted), sweet and juicy corn, fresh garden veggies, crumbled creamy feta, coriander (cilantro) and crunchy roasted pepitas. This salad is elevated by a sweet and sour lime and honey dressing, and while you won’t be hungry after eating this…you’ll definitely want more! This recipe is nut, egg and gluten free and can easily be made dairy free.
I find that the problem with eating salads for lunch is that they generally don’t keep me full or satisfied for long enough. And so by 2pm I’m already dreaming about eating chocolate or chips. Or chocolate and chips. And it’s highly likely that by 3pm, I am already eating them. But not this Mexican Salad. It’s so satisfying…definitely starves off the hunger pangs – and it’s really tasty!
Why you’ll love this Mexican Salad recipe
- This salad is really satisfying – so it’s the perfect salad to pack for a filling work lunch that won’t leave you reaching for chocolate an hour later.
- It’s a flavour-fiesta! It features fresh and wholesome ingredients that will leave you feeling virtuous, and the zesty lime and honey dressing elevates the deliciousness!
- It’s easy to assemble and perfect to prep ahead for a quick and simple lunch or dinner or the perfect salad for summer barbecues.
- And it’s adaptable – you can add in additional ingredients or omit ones that you don’t love – looking at you coriander 👀
While this salad is adaptable to what you ingredients you enjoy, I really love the combination of these flavours. Especially the corn, tomato and avocado together, they’re truly a match made in heaven. But you could also add in black, pinto or kidney beans. Or add some saltiness with black olives or heat with chilli or jalapeño.
The wild rice can easily be substituted for brown or white rice, or quinoa or risoni would also work well. You can also omit this too, but it helps bulk out the salad and I personally really need the carbs to help me stay full and satisfied.
A salad without a dressing is a salad not worth eating…in my humble opinion. So I recommend you don’t skip the dressing – the delicious zesty lime and honey dressing is a must with this salad. It pulls this Mexican Salad together and elevates all the flavours.
But if you don’t want to make your own, you could always buy a good Mexican-style vinaigrette dressing. Or a creamy avocado dressing, sour cream dressing, or ranch dressing would also work really well with this salad too.
Ingredients and substitutions
This recipe boasts tasty fresh ingredients that can be easily found in your local supermarkets.
For the salad
- Mesclun Salad Leaves – I like mixed mesclun leaves as the base for this salad but you could always serve with a crunchy iceberg or cos lettuce or spinach leaves. You could even sprinkle through some coleslaw mix.
- Cooked Wild Rice – wild rice typically is higher in protein and fibre than brown rice but – if I’m honest, I used it as it looks pretty. You could substitute the wild rice with brown or white rice, quinoa or risoni. You could also omit but it does help to bulk out the salad and keep you satisfied. I often use the pre-cooked packaged rice you can purchase at supermarkets in salads – which is really handy option if you are in a rush.
- Cucumber – adds crunch and freshness in this Mexican style salad. Cucumber is technically a fruit and has a high water content and also boasts a good amount of vitamins and minerals. There is no need to peel cucumber.
- Cherry Tomatoes – I love cherry tomatoes in salad. They add pops of flavour and I love a mixed variety with a range of colours to make the salad more visually appealing. You can substitute with a chopped garden variety or Roma tomatoes.
- Coriander – not everyone’s favourite but I really like coriander (cilantro). You could substitute with fresh dill, parsley, chives or just omit.
- Corn – I use corn from the cob which I think tastes the best – so fresh and sweet! You could use canned kernels in a pinch. For this recipe I blanch the corn by adding to boiling water for a minute or so, then draining and running under cold water. I then cut the kernels off the cob. You could also grill the corn on the barbecue to add a nice smoky flavour to the salad, I do this when I am serving with grilled chicken and it’s a great variation.
- Feta – I like to use a creamy dutch feta in this salad which adds a lovely creamy texture and slightly tangy taste. While not authentic to Mexican cuisine (typically cotija cheese would be used), feta is a good substitute. For a daily free salad you can just omit.
- Red onion – I serve this thinly sliced and don’t mind the bite in flavour served raw. You can reduce the strong taste by soaking in cold water for around 15 minutes if you prefer. You could also use spring onions in this recipe.
- Roasted Pepitas – these are shell-less pumpkin seeds and I love adding these to salads and muesli. They add a delicious crunch to the Mexican Salad and are a really great source of nutrition. I like to roast pepitas for salads but this is optional and you could serve just serve them raw. You could substitute for sunflower seeds or just omit.
- Avocado – adds healthy fat, fibre and a delicious creamy flavour to the salad. Avocados are high in essential vitamins and minerals.
For the dressing
- Lime juice – adds a lovely zesty flavour to the salad. You could use lemons if you don’t have fresh limes available.
- Olive Oil – thickens the dressing and adds flavour and healthy fats. You could also use avocado oil in this dressing as an excellent substitute or another low flavoured oil suitable for dressings.
- Honey – balances the dressing and creates the sweet and sour style flavour in the dressing. You could use brown sugar if you don’t have honey.
- Cumin – adds a lovely warm and earthy flavour to the dressing.
- Dried Oregano – adds aroma and warmth to the dressing (you don’t need to include this if you don’t have any).
- Salt and pepper – essential for seasoning the salad.
How to make this Mexican Salad Recipe
This recipe is really easy to prepare. Firstly, arrange the mesclun leaves on a platter or salad bowl and then scoop on the cooked wild rice. While I do mostly cook the rice myself using the absorption method, I also use the pre-packaged cooked rice which are always handy to have in the pantry for even quicker preparation.
If you’re cooking the rice yourself you will need to allow yourself about 30 minutes to cook the rice and then cooling time so be sure to factor this in (instructions for cooking the rice are listed in the recipe notes). If you want to cook the rice yourself, for even speedier assembly you can prepare this step the day before and keep the cooked rice in the fridge.
Once you had added the rice to the salad, scatter over the chopped cucumber. Next, add the halved cherry tomatoes and picked coriander leaves.
Then arrange the corn cob kernels, crumbled feta and sprinkle over the crunchy peppitas. Then add the sliced red onion and lastly, top the salad with sliced avocado. If prepping the salad ahead of time, add the avocado just before serving to avoid browning.
Next, make the Lime and Honey Dressing by adding all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Or add to a small bowl and stir well. This dressing will store well so you can prep this ahead of time and keep in the fridge.
Dress the salad just before serving.
You definitely can just enjoy this Mexican Salad on its own for a delicious lunch or dinner, but this salad is also a fabulous side dish!
- This salad is perfect for hot summer days and barbecues – so why not give this meal a protein boost and serve with grilled chicken or steak.
- Enjoy this salad with tacos or serve with tortilla chips for a crunchy, nourishing weeknight meal…that just maybe the kids might eat!
Do your taste buds a favour with these delicious salad recipes…
- This Rice Noodle Salad is the BUSINESS. Jam-packed with flavour and goodness – this salad is the perfect office lunch.
- Big and little people alike will love this Tuna Pasta Salad! This salad is made for lunch on the go, and perfect for school or work lunches! It’s the perfect blend of tuna, pasta and fresh summer vegetables all pulled together with a creamy lemon mustard dressing.
- If you like substantial salads that keep you satisfied – just like this Mexican Salad – you will love my Walnut, Pea and Chorizo Salad or my Roasted Cauliflower and Chorizo Salad.
- Or if you are looking for something fresh and fast, my simple and easy Greek Salad is a winner and the perfect side dish to accompany any barbecue.
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This vegetarian Mexican Salad is as delicious as it is filling. The salad is fresh and zesty, made with wholesome ingredients and elevated by a sweet and sour lime and honey dressing. While you won’t be hungry after eating this…you’ll definitely want more! This recipe is nut, egg and gluten free and can easily be made dairy free by omitting the feta.
For the salad
- 50g mescaline leaves (around 3 generous handfuls)
- 1 1/2 cooked wild rice (see note)
- 110g chopped cucumber
- 150g cherry tomatoes halved
- 1–2 tbsp picked coriander leaves
- 1 cooked corn cob kernels removed
- 50g crumbled feta
- 50g roasted pepitas
- 1/4 of small red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 avocado thinly sliced
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 2–3 limes
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper
- In a large salad bowl or dish add the bed of mescaline leaves and cooked and cooled wild rice
- Arrange the cucumber, cherry tomatoes and sprinkle over the coriander leaves.
- Layer over the cooked and cooled corn kernels – I like to keep chunks of corn together – and crumble over the feta.
- Sprinkle the pepitas and arrange the red onion. Finally top with the sliced avocado.
- When ready to serve, drizzle over the dressing and enjoy.
- I use the absorption method to cook the wild rice which can be done the day before you make the salad. In a medium saucepan add one cup of uncooked plain rice to one and a half cups of cold water, stir slightly then bring up to the boil over medium heat. Add the lid to the saucepan, turn the heat down to low and cook without lifting the lid for 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand aside for a further 10 minutes without lifting the lid. Fluff the rice and cool. Ensure any cooked rice is refrigerated as soon as it’s cool enough to avoid food poisoning.
- You can use easily pre-cooked rice packets if you’re short on time.
- Feel free to play around with the ingredients and quantities and personalise to your taste
Keywords: Mexican Salad. Mexican Rice Salad. Vegetarian Mexican Salad. Mexican Salad Recipe.