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Monday, August 3, 2015

The South Of the Border Salad

This salad recipe is likely a variant of the venerable Adventist haystack. It was apparently invented by a restauranteur who owned a little cafe in an antique mall in downtown Cleburne, Texas, five miles from Keene, my hometown. Now Keene is an Adventist college town and notable SDA ghetto.  It is little wonder the basic haystack idea drifted into the Tex-Mex cuisine in the nearby Johnson County Seat.  They had a Pappa and Mama version, probably in deference to all the Adventist vegetarians that came into the place.  The Papa version used hamburger and was more expensive. The Mama salad used ranch-style or chili beans, but otherwise, both were basically the same

The South Of the Border Salad was advertised and listed on the menu by it's three primary initials. The South Of the Border Salad was named what it was named I figure, both for its Tex-Mex flavor and because it gave the local heathens a giggle whenever some very proper Adventist customer or little old Baptist lady, when ordering, would nervously point to the menu or describe the salad by its ingredients or call it a Mama Salad, rather than say the name listed on the menu.  It's an easy-to-make potluck dish and can be added to a haystack potluck setup by baking a bag of potatoes or two ahead of time.  It's versatile for a potluck because you just set out the ingredients and let everyone make their own version. Way better than pizza too!  This is pretty much a whole meal by itself, so while it's listed as a salad, it's a lot more than just an appetizer.


  • Baked Potato, Large
    Start off your South Of the Border Salad with a baked potato.
  • Butter/margarine
  • Salt
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped salad veggies like peppers, onions, cucumber carrots or whatever you've got.
  • 1/2 cup Avocado or make up a big bowl of guacamole
  • Jar or two of Picante Sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for potlucks just buy a big bag of it already shredded)
  • Bit carton of sour cream
  • Bottles of Ranch and Catalina Salad Dressing
  • Black olives
  • Pot of Ranch Style Beans or you can use Loma Linda Five-Bean Chili, Chili Man or barbecue beans of some kind.
  • Loma Linda Vegeburger, Worthington Vegeburger or Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles (you can even brown up some Loma Linda Taco Filling)
  • Tortilla chips and Fritos
  • Chopped Jalepenos
  • Monster jar of Picante' Sauce (Pace or San Antonio Riverwalk is great)
Add tortilla chips and beans or chili

  1. Bake up a bag of potatoes in the skins before the event. You can take them already baked and heat them up in the church's warming ovens.  Most Adventist churches have these. By the time potluck is on, they should be nice and fluffy inside. 
  2. Cook up a big pot of Ranch-Style beans or Vege-chile.  
  3. Chop up your veggies, grate your cheese and set out the sour cream, tortilla chips and what not all out in a row in order of how you build your South Of the Border Salad.
Constructing the South Of the Border Salad: 
Next add all the salad stuff and voila!  You're done.
  1. Break open the potato and spread it out over the bottom of the plate. You can leave the skin on or peel it off.  It's up to you, but I like all the vitamins to come with my potato.
  2. Butter and salt is optional.
  3. Add a layer of tortilla chips
  4. Spoon on a layer of chili, barbecue or Ranch Style Beans
  5. Make a a bed of lettuce and start adding all your chopped veggies. Get what you want. Make it with onions or without. There are no rules. 
  6. Sprinkle a bunch of shredded Cheddar over the top.
  7. Decorate the whole beautiful pile of stuff with dollops of avocado or guacamole, salad dressing, Picante sauce, olives, crouton, vege-bacon bits (TVP) and chives or whatever else you like.  Add a little peak of sour cream and you have created a magnificent meal - run for the table
This salad is best consumed quickly which is never a problem for me. That way, the salad stays cool and crisp while the potato and chili give you a nice warm base. It's great!  I've seen teenage boys consume two or three of these in a row. Sadly, this feat of gastronomy is no longer permitted me by either my physician or (more importantly), by my Sweet Baboo who does not wish me to explode and die.
Bon' appetite!*

(c) 2015 by Tom King

*And, yes I spelled it "appetite" on purpose - the American way not "appetit" like the French. This is, after all, an American Tex-Mex dish and we don't pronounce words all French and sissified.  Just sayin'.

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