Picnics, parties, salads and sides. If you’re looking for a new dish that fits in all of those categories, this Chilled Southwestern Veggie Medley is the answer! This tasty, colorful plate of veggies is loaded with Southwest flavors and lots of crunch. It’s perfect for a make-ahead dish, it transports beautifully and couldn’t be easier to make. What makes the flavor? Fresh ears of corn that are grilled in a skillet or on the BBQ, then sliced into niblets of charred goodness. Charring the red peppers before dicing them also adds a great taste. Also, I’ve always cooked with shallots, but these days I’m realizing how much they bring to a dish. (They may be one of the most misunderstood vegetables out there—do they replace onions? Garlic? Can they be used with onions and garlic?) While some folks replace onions with shallots, a shallot has its own flavor profile, and can add so much to a dish! (Try slicing them very thin and frying them to a deep golden brown, then sprinkle them over a salad or potato dish. Wow!! Over the top goodness!) The flavors of the Southwest permeate this salad with the addition of black beans, jicama, avocados and cilantro. The dressing is lively, with the perfect combination of lime juice and zest, Dijon Mustard and a little sweetness to cut the tang. Over all, it’s a great main meal salad for the vegetarian, a tasty side for your grilled burger lover or just spooned into little tortilla cups for a terrific appetizer! Tortilla cups are simple. Just cut 2-3 inch circles out of flour tortillas, tuck them into a greased cupcake tin and bake for about 15 minutes. Done! I love recipes that give you all the flavor and nutrition you need and are pretty darn effortless to create! Here’s to another hat tip to our wonderful flavors of the Southwest!