This classic salad begins with a wedge of iceberg lettuce that’s smothered in creamy ranch dressing, with avocado, tomatoes, onions, beans, corn, cheeze, and croutons. The toppings are endless.
Did you know that ranch dressing has double the sales of any dressing, leaving vinaigrettes and blue cheese in the dust? If you take a look at the ingredients of most store bought ranch dressings, you’ll notice not only lots of dairy, but there’s also MSG, high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch, less than 2% of natural flavor, and so much more processed stuff.
Let’s fix that and make our own!
The classic wedge, still popular at steakhouses and many other restaurants, consists of crunchy iceberg lettuce, bacon and blue cheese dressing. We gave our salad a Southwestern spin with ranch dressing, using ingredients we had on hand.
Saturday was 105 degrees here in the valley. We didn’t want to crank up the oven, so this salad was the perfect solution and so much fun!
The dressing is super easy. However, you have to allow time for soaking the sunflower seeds. We soaked the seeds covered in water for about 6 hours. Would the recipe work without soaking the seeds? Yes, but…
Nuts and seeds have high amounts of enzyme inhibitors. This is a reason that unsoaked, they are hard to digest. Soaking neutralizes the enzymes allowing for proper digestion.
When the seeds are done soaking, drain out the soak water and discard the water. Thoroughly rinse the seeds. This step can be done a day in advance. Store soaked seeds in the fridge until you’re ready to make the dressing.
Transfer sunflower seeds to a high-speed blender adding hemp seeds, water, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, coconut aminos and vinegar. Start blending on low and gradually increase speed. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 45-60 seconds.
Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in garlic, dill, parsley, chives, paprika, and a little salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
We know iceberg gets a bad rap, but all lettuce is good for you, even iceberg. Though it’s not as nutrient dense as kale or romaine, it still contains vitamins, it’s hydrating, and it’s definitely not junk food. It’s actually high in vitamin A and potassium.
Start with a full head of iceberg lettuce. Remove any brown or wilted outer leaves. Cut the head in half from top to bottom through the stem, leaving the core intact.
Cut each half in half again. Rinse the wedges with water and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully cut the core from each piece and place on separate salad plates or bowls, cut side up.
If you’d like, cut a little from the top as we did below, to form a flat base which will help the toppings from sliding off.
Spoon the desired amount of dressing over each wedge and sprinkle with tomatoes, corn, black beans, cheddar cheeze, avocado, and red onions. Add more dressing, as desired.
Add croutons that meet your dietary needs, or make a batch of our Bistro Croutons.
Let’s have a wedge party!
For a nice dinner party presentation, slice a head of iceberg in half, and then into 6 wedges instead of 4. On a large platter, arrange the wedges, cut side up in a circle around a jar of dressing. Top the wedges with your favorite toppings. Guests can help themselves to a wedge and load it with dressing.
It’s a fun salad that can be prepared in advance.
Southwestern Wedge Fully Loaded
Yield 4 Servings
Free of: gluten and top 8 allergens.
It's cold, crunchy, delicious and fun to eat!
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds + water to cover
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp salt, divided (1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp raw coconut aminos
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp minced fresh dill
1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp minced fresh chives
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup grated cheddar cheeze
1 cup Bistro Croutons, or store bought
1 medium avocado, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion, soaked in ice water for 10-15 minutes (see recipe notes)
- For the dressing, soak the sunflower seeds in a bowl with water to cover for 6 hours, or up to 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Smash garlic clove with blade of knife. Sprinkle ¼ tsp salt over garlic. Mash into a paste with a fork. Set aside.
- Transfer sunflower seeds to a high-speed blender with hemp seeds, water, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, and vinegar. Start blending on low speed and gradually increase speed. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 45-60 seconds.
- Transfer to medium bowl, and whisk in reserved garlic, ¼ tsp salt, dill, parsley, chives, paprika, and pepper. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve. This makes a scant 1 ½ cups.
- For the salad, remove the brown and wilted outer leaves from the head of lettuce. Cut in half from top to bottom through the stem, leaving the core intact. Each half will be cut in half again. Rinse the wedges with water and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully cut the core from each piece and place on separate salad plates, cut side up.
- Spoon the desired amount of dressing over each wedge. Top each wedge with tomatoes, corn, black beans, cheeze, croutons, avocado, and red onion. Drizzle more dressing as desired.
- Soaking chopped onions in ice water mellows their flavor. The cold water keeps the onions super crunchy, while the sulfur compounds that give onion its pungent, harsh flavor will dissipate in the water.
- Nuts and seeds have high amounts of enzyme inhibitors. This is a reason that unsoaked, they are hard to digest. Soaking neutralizes the enzymes allowing for proper digestion.
Courses Soups & Salads