Warm days make me crave summer salads. Maybe I just want to get out to the patio, but heavy complicated foods lose their appeal.
While I have many favorite salad recipes, I wanted something new. I decided my inspiration would be a homemade salad dressing made with Spark Syrup’s Hibiscus Lime Ginger Syrup.
The refreshing sweet and sour flavors of hibiscus, lime and ginger made me think of Mexican aqua frescas, so I paired it with a chopped southwestern salad. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a healthy simple summer dinner.
Spark Syrup is a locally made product that is a delicious addition to sparkling wine or cocktails. For ideas just follow the recipes on the bottle. In the Chicago area it can be found at Pagoda Red, Stumble and Relish, Vinic Wine and D&D Finer Foods. Throughout the month of June it will be available at the Evanston_made pop-up at the Evanston Art Center. It can also be purchased online at https://www.facebook.com/sparksyrup. This is their salad dressing recipe.
3 Tablespoons Spark Syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
Mix together the syrup, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil until it emulsifies.
Chopped Southwestern Salad
2 chicken breasts
Sprinkling of cumin
6 handfuls combined romaine lettuce and baby spinach
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup peeled and chopped jicama
2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed from the cob
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and dried
Wash, dry and season the chicken breasts. Grill or broil the chicken breasts on high 7 minutes then turn and cook another 5. Turn the broiler to low or put on indirect heat another 5-10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Let rest 5 minutes then chop.
Layer the greens in a large bowl. Layer the salad ingredients in sections on top. Drizzle with dressing and toss.
For a refreshing cocktail to accompany my salad, I add a jigger of Spark Syrup to a glass of Prosecco. Enjoy!