Southwestern Turkey BLTA Salad packed with butter lettuce, deli turkey, crispy bacon, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and a semi-homemade chipotle ranch dressing.
Southwestern Turkey BLTA Salad is a quick and easy lunch or dinner salad that is seriously delicious. It has all the best parts of a turkey BLTA sandwich but in salad form and with a southwestern twist. It ranks up there as one of my favorite salads along with this Mexican Chopped Salad and Healthy Kale Caesar Salad.
Although I normally reach for sandwiches at lunchtime, sometimes when I am looking to add more greens and/or choose a more diet-friendly option, I turn my favorite sandwich combinations into hearty and delicious salads. Cutting out the bread on average will save 200-300 calories, which over the course of a week can make a significant impact on the total calories consumed. Over time this translates to real weight loss.
For this salad inspiration, I looked to my one of my all-time sandwiches from a specialty sandwich shop near me - the Southwestern Turkey BTLA! It’s a delicious combination of turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, a corn and black bean relish, and a spicy chipotle ranch spread. Seriously yummy and amazing.
Since this salad is relatively simple, it's important to focus on high quality, great tasting ingredients. The first step here is the turkey. I like to look for one that is really flavorful and free of nitrates and preservatives. Normally I buy the in-house deli meats made at Whole Foods, Applegate brand, or Boar's Head Naturals line. You can use any flavor deli meat, I am partial to black pepper or southwestern turkey for this salad. Same goes for the bacon. I like to buy center cut bacon since it is the leanest option and look for one free of nitrates and additives.
From there I needed to look for some really great produce. I went to my local farmer’s market for this and chose beautiful summer tomatoes, lettuce, fresh corn, and a nice and ripe avocado. For the dressing, I decided to just mix some chipotle into my favorite natural ranch dressing, but you could also make your own homemade ranch. After that, it’s simple. Just layer everything together and you have a salad that any sandwich lover will crave.
This lightened up version of chipotle ranch is one of my favorite salad dressings and dipping sauces. It's really easy to make and can be kept in the fridge for 5-7 days. The combination of buttermilk, yogurt, and sour cream create the silky smooth texture of real ranch dressing without all the calories. And the use of fresh herbs takes it to another level, better than store bought ranch in my opinion.
To make a vegetarian version of this salad, you can start by replacing the turkey with canned chickpeas. You could also use vegetarian chicken or sliced tempeh. Then just choose your favorite vegetarian bacon and build the salad using the same instructions. You can also double the black beans and corn if you don't want to add another type of bean or vegetarian meat.
Any time you are prepping a salad for meal prep, there are a few important things to keep in mind. For this salad, I would recommend prepping the salad minus the dressing and avocado. Add those fresh when you are ready to serve. If you want to turn this into a mason jar salad, start by adding the black beans, corn, and dressing to the bottom of the mason jar. Then add the tomatoes. Finish with the turkey, bacon, and top with the lettuce. Having the lettuce on top helps to make sure it stays fresh and crunchy. Finally, pack the avocado on the side since it browns more quickly and is best served fresh.
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