Fresh Taco Salad

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MAKES 4 LARGE SALADS

Ingredients

Taco Filling

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

  • 1.5 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Creamy Avocado-Lime Dressing

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1/2 medium-large avocado, pitted

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro

  • 1 small-medium jalapeno, seeded, deribbed, and roughly chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Salad

  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped

  • 3 cups packed baby arugula

  • 1 cup thinly sliced grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced and roughly chopped red onion

  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/2 medium-large avocado

  • Optional: extra-firm tofu

*A small handful of crumbled tortilla chips. Sprinkle them over the salads just before serving.

Cooking Instructions

  1. To make the taco filling: In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and saute for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the rinsed quinoa and water, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes (the quinoa might not be fluffy yet, but don’t worry.)

  2. Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Then, uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Gently stir in the black beans and salt. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt, if necessary. Cover and set aside for a couple of minutes to warm up the beans.

  3. To make the dressing: In a small food processor or blender, combine the lime juice, olive oil, and water. Using a spoon, scoop in the half avocado and add the cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and salt. Process until the dressing is nice and smooth. The dressing should be zippy, but if it’s unpleasantly tart or difficult to blend, dilute it with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and blend again.

  4. To assemble the salads: combine the romaine and arugula in a large bowl. Wait to dress the salad until you are ready to serve, as the greens will wilt fairly quickly once dressed. (If you won’t be consuming all 4 servings of this salad right away, portion off the greens you’d like to save for later, and dress only the greens you intend to eat now.)

  5. When you’re ready, drizzle the mixture with just enough dressing to lightly coat the greens (you might have extra.) Toss until the dressing is evenly distributed.

  6. Arrange the dressed greens in 4 individual salad bowls. Top each salad with taco filling, tomatoes, onion, and crispy tortilla strips. Slice the remaining avocado half into long strips and place a couple of strips on each salad. Serve immediately.