quinoa taco salad

I eat a lot of tacos. Here in Austin, you can’t walk 10 feet without tripping over another taco truck or mexican restaurant. But my favorite thing is actually the taco in it’s deconstructed form: the taco salad.

You can take this in as many different directions as there are taco fillings, but I especially like this with red quinoa (although if you had non-red quinoa it would taste pretty much the same). The chewy little red kernels sort of take on the essence of taco meat.

The rest of the ingredients came together from what I happened to have on hand: half a pint of cherry tomatoes, scallions, a poblano, leftover tortillas, etc. This is a great way to use up leftover veggies, meats and cheeses that you might already have in your kitchen.

This recipe is featured in the summer issue of Foodiecrush

INGREDIENTS:
serves 2-3 as a full meal, 4-5 as a side

charred corn & poblano:
1 poblano pepper
1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off the cob (about 1/2 cup)

cherry tomato pico:
1/4 c. sliced tomatoes (cherry)
1/2 lime (1-2 tablespoons)
1/4 c. sliced scallions, white and green, 2-3
a few pinches of salt

chipotle lime dressing:
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon agave syrup
salt, pepper, to taste

other salad components: 
red quinoa – 1 cup, cooked
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup cubed tofu (or meat or cheese of your choice)
1/2 c. cilantro
1/2 sliced avocado
tortilla strips from 1 tortilla, sliced, baked, salted

METHOD:
Roast the poblano pepper and char the corn. Place poblano under the broiler for 20 or so minutes, until blistered on all sides. (time will vary depending on the heat of your broiler). When it’s fully blistered, remove and place in a bowl and cover (not touching) with plastic wrap or at towel. Set aside for 15 minutes or so, until it’s cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, slide off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Chop into roughly 1/4 inch pieces and place in a small bowl.

Toss corn kernels with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast corn kernels under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until they just begin to blacken. Remove from oven, toss with chopped poblano and set aside.

In another small bowl, toss together cherry tomatoes, lime juice, scallions, and a few pinches of salt. Set aside.

In another small bowl, whisk together the dressing: olive oil, lime juice, ancho chile powder, chipotle powder, agave, salt and pepper. (It might tasted too tangy/spicy/sweet on it’s own… but remember that it will get diluted when you mix it with everything else). Set aside.

In a large bowl combine red quinoa, arugula, tofu and cilantro with the dressing. (you might not need all of the dressing, start with half and add more to your liking). Toss in the charred corn, chopped poblano and pico. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with sliced avocado and tortilla strips and a squeeze of lime.

 

35 comments

  1. Love the photos and lighting in this piece.

  2. Amy from cozywalls.com on said:

    Brilliant and delicious! A lunch break to look forward to or a perfect picnic salad – thank you!

  3. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com on said:

    Hooray for tacos! I too eat them all the time–as a denizen of California, I think I’d be arrested otherwise. :) Love the quinoa–and that excellent-sounding dressing!

  4. Loooooordy LOU do I love me some taco salad. I’m kinda falling apart over here.

  5. This looks SO good, and the dressing reminds me a little bit of a recipe I made last night to go with fish tacos. It was a slaw made from red cabbage, onion, and cilantro – dressed with lime juice, adobo chile, and mayo. I like the looks of your dressing, though, and bet it would be great with a slaw for fish tacos.

  6. Loved your recipe for FoodieCrush, Jeanine! I love soft tacos and taco salads, can’t get enough of them. This one looks so perfect.

  7. margo from saucycooks.com on said:

    That is one of the prettiest taco salads I’ve ever seen. Nicely done!!!!

  8. Lexi from zubrowka24.blogspot.com on said:

    This sounds amazing!

  9. B on said:

    Pardon my language, but…Hell Yes.

    As a fellow Austinite, you got me with this one….

  10. Courtney Jones from thefigtree.blogspot.com on said:

    Oh wow, this looks delicious! It’s a salad complete will all of my favourite things! I could eat this every day, all day! *hah*

    Love the photo with all of the ingredients! Fantastic composition and lighting.

  11. Heather from sundaymorningbananapancakes.blogspots.com on said:

    Such a beautiful and simple meal – the colors are just gorgeous and I love the use of quinoa – red quinoa is so much fun to use, a nice little change from the standard variety :)

  12. Kathryn from londonbakes.com on said:

    I loved seeing this (and you!) in Foodiecrush. Such a lovely vibrant salad.

  13. ileana from alittlesaffron.com on said:

    Love this! And you make it look so pretty.

  14. Heidi @foodiecrush on said:

    Thank you sooo much for being a part of the mag. I’ve been a huge fan of yours from the start of your blog and am always in awe of your images and health driven recipes, you got it all! And I can’t help but feel a kindred love since we both have a affection for Carrera marble countertops ;)

  15. Tess Danesi on said:

    Eating this now and both hubby and I are in heaven. Totally delicious and simple even though there are several components. I only had a habanero, which I charred, so the heat is pretty intense in places but we both love spicy so…

    Thanks for such an amazing recipe.

  16. Kate from picassohairfeathers.com on said:

    Going to make this tonight for dinner!! :)

  17. Wendy from cookingquinoa.net on said:

    Oh my! Not only is this beautiful it is just the kind of dish that I love! (I could live on Mexican food.) I’ve never tried red quinoa with a taco salad and can’t wait to give this one a try.

  18. Roz from bellavita-bellasblog.blogspot.com on said:

    This looks and sounds incredible and healthy to boot! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. Michele Berger from Www.stelladot.com on said:

    This recipe was amazing! I couldn’t get enough!

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  23. keianna on said:

    Found this on Pinterest when searching for a lime dressing for a Mexican dish. The flavors were perfect and my DH really loved it. Thanks

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      oh so glad! thanks for sharing…

  24. Cate from fromwholecloth.com on said:

    Oh my, made this last night and it was incredible. So flexible too for various additions/substitutions. It’s definitely going on the “make frequently” list! Thank you for sharing!

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  28. Sue from CandlesOffMain.com on said:

    I love this idea! Can’t wait to try it.

  29. Crista from peacelovequinoa.com on said:

    this looks so good right now….

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  31. Alexis from theartofsacredbody.com on said:

    What amazing and delicious recipes. I love your web and photo design! So modern, yet classic. I wouldn’t hesitate to share you with my growing audience…in fact, I’ll do that right now!

    Thanks for having awesome content.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thanks Alexix!

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