Romaine Salad with Queso Fresco

Romaine Salad with Queso Fresco
Katie Workman /
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4

This is a great salad to make when you need an accompaniment to a Mexican dinner, whether it be enchiladas, tacos, or burritos. This salad really is a lovely green salad with onions and peppers, and a simple clean vinaigrette, that goes with a variety of dishes. 

Vidalias are sweet onions, available April through early September, are sweeter than regular white, yellow or red onions, and while they still have an onion-y flavor it’s not nearly as sharp. This makes it a nice onion to use in salads when you are introducing onions to kids or to people who think they don’t like onions (many people just get nervous that onions will be too strong, but they add so much flavor to dishes, both raw and cooked, that they are a shame to miss out on).

What You'll Need

  • For The Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • For The Salad:
  • 6 cups slivered romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled queso cotija (see Note)

How to Make It

  1. In a small bowl combine the vinegar, olive oil, shallots, mustard, and salt and pepper. Or place the ingredients in a small container or shake well to combine.
  2. In a large bowl combine the lettuce, celery, onion, bell pepper, then add the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, and sprinkle over the queso cotija.

Note: Queso Cotija is a hard, crumbly dry cow’s milk cheese with a pronounced salty flavor.

It is named after the town of Cotija, Michoacán. A little bit goes a long way. Cotija can be purchased in small rounds or large blocks, and it is often used crumbled or grated as a topping for burritos, soups, salads, tostadas, beans and tacos. You can often buy it crumbled or grated.

Queso cotija is not to be confused with queso fresco, which is also a Mexican cheese. Queso fresco is a creamy, soft, and mild unaged white cheese.

Other great Mexican dishes for your family include quesadillas, since you can't go wrong with tortillas and melted cheese. Also try this chorizo avocado rice bowl for a quick and easy meal that is filling. Spicy guacamole makes a great dip with chips or vegetables, or use it to top other dishes like enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas and burritos (like this breakfast burrito recipe to start your day!)