Modern Taco Salad

My favorite food is salad.  Seriously.  Right in front of air-popped popcorn with butter and salt… and pizza, of course 🙂

I eat salad every day for lunch.  It’s never the same twice, because I like change.  I will never be one of those people who eats a turkey sandwich and a green apple for lunch every day for years on end.  I know people like that, and they are so lucky that they don’t have to think about their meals.  I guess being a “creative type” gets me into trouble even in the kitchen!

Sometimes I find a really good combo of ingredients and will repeat it on an inconsistent basis 🙂  One of those combos is this MODERN TACO SALAD.  Modern because I don’t think ingredients like pepitas or roasted sweet potatoes have really been considered go-to taco fixin’s until recently.

modern taco saladThis isn’t so much of a black and white recipe as it is a catalyst to get your taco salad juices flowing!

So the basic idea it to add these toppings to your mixed greens:

  • Roasted diced sweet potatoes (*recipe to follow) or grated carrot
  • Toasted pepita seeds
  • Beans of choice (I like Black, Pinto or Adzuki)
  • Cooked Brown rice or quinoa
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced green or red onion
  • Roasted, diced green chiles
  • Diced bell peppers, jicima and/or radishes
  • Pickled (recipe here) or fresh jalapeño
  • Diced Avocado

Of course, the possibilities are endless.  Just think “taco” and throw it on your salad.  Perhaps grilled corn or some chicken?  I don’t eat a lot of dairy, but cheese is an obvious choice too.  Maybe try a traditional Mexican cheese like cotija or feta instead of the obvious cheddar.

For the dressing, I usually do one of two things:

  1. Mix sour cream or plain yogurt with hot sauce or salsa OR
  2. Make a vinaigrette with olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, a dash of agave, garlic, cumin and chipotle powder. I find the ratio of 1:1 for the vinegar and oil as my preference.  But mix it according to your liking!

You could add crushed up blue corn chips too, but I find that the seeds give the crunch I want.

Modern taco salad recipe 2*Roasting veggies is a fantastic way to bring their full flavor to the forefront.  Simply pre-heat your oven to 400°.  Wash and cut potatoes into ¼ inch rounds.  Toss with olive oil, garlic and sea salt to coat in a bowl.  Spread onto cookie sheet and bake for approx. 40 minutes, or until soft and browned.  Dice into bite-size pieces for sprinkling atop a salad!

I will be posting more of my favorite salad topping combos in weeks to come.  Do you have a favorite combo of ingredients to top your greens?  If so, I would LOVE to hear about it!

Here are some other salad ideas from previous posts:

Asian Salads

Katrina’s Asian Shrimp Salad


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