DIY Takeout: Stay Cool With Modern Market's Merida Salad

DIY Takeout's homemade Merida Salad.
DIY Takeout's homemade Merida Salad. Nick Evans

Well, team. It's officially summer — and it's a hot one. When it's this sweltering out, I look for delicious but lighter recipes to keep me full. At least a few times a week, I'll have a salad for lunch or dinner. (It's beach season, right?)

If I'm going to have a salad, though, I want it to be a filling one. I don't do weak salads with a few paltry add-ins. I want a heaping salad piled high with protein, veggies and a really good dressing. One place you can always count on for a salad like this is Modern Market. I touched base with the Modern Market team to try to re-create their popular Merida Salad with chile-lime vinaigrette, and they were kind enough to send along the recipe so that I can share it with all of you.

Once you have this vinaigrette in your fridge, I think you'll find that it's delicious on almost any salad, but particularly good on Tex-Mex style salads. The Merida salad, as built by Modern Market, is topped with chicken, avocado, roasted corn, pickled onions, avocado and crunchy tortilla strips. It's a winner, for sure, and the dressing alone is worth trying, even if you just use it as a dip for chips (which is also delicious).

Stay cool, people — and keep reading for the full recipe.

click to enlarge DIY Takeout's homemade Merida Salad. - NICK EVANS
DIY Takeout's homemade Merida Salad.
Nick Evans

Guajillo Lime Vinaigrette (courtesy of Modern Market)
Makes about 1 pint (8 servings)
1 small yellow onion, cut in quarters and peeled
4 cloves garlic
1/2 fresh jalapeño or 5-6 slices pickled jalapenos
5 dried guajillo chiles (or mild New Mexico chiles)
1 cup hot water (you might need a little more)
1 lime, juice only
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt and pepper (or to taste)


1. Preheat your oven broiler and place the onion, garlic and fresh jalapeño onto a roasting pan (If you substitute pickled jalapeno, don't roast it). Broil, turning occasionally, until the veggies are charred and softened. Remove from the oven and allow about 30 minutes to cool to room temperature.

2. While the veggies are roasting, quickly toast the dried chiles in the hot oven, about 20 seconds. This step makes the chiles more pliable and intensifies the flavor. Trim away any stems, then remove as many seeds as possible.

3. Place the toasted chiles in a heat-safe container, then cover them with as much hot water as needed. Cover and let the chiles steep while your roasted vegetable are cooling.

4. Measure all remaining ingredients into a blender. Then, add the cooled roasted vegetables. Measure 1/2 cup of the chili water, then add to the blender along with soaked chiles, discarding any remaining water. Blend on high speed until smooth and combined. Once he salad dressing is blended, give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add a little vinegar for more acidity, more salt for less acidity, or more water if it’s too thick. Store the vinaigrette in the fridge for up to one week.

Merida Salad
Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Rotisserie chicken
Roasted corn
Adzuki beans (or your favorite)
Crumbled Cotija cheese
Pickled red onion
Corn chips
Chile Lime Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette recipe courtesy of Chef Nate Weir, director of culinary operations, Modern Market.

Have an idea for a dish to re-create for DIY Takeout? Leave a comment or email [email protected]
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.