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 its 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.
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off the cob (about ½ cup)
- ¼ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- ½ lime, juiced (1-2 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup sliced scallions, white and green parts, (about 2-3)
- Sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- 1 cup cooked red quinoa
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup cubed tofu (or meat or cheese of your choice)
- ½ cup cilantro
- ½ sliced avocado
- Tortilla strips from 1 tortilla, sliced, baked, and salted
- ½ lime, for squeezing
- Roast the poblano pepper and char the corn: Place the poblano under the broiler for 20 or so minutes, until blistered on all sides. The time will vary depending on the heat of your broiler. When it’s fully blistered, remove and place in a bowl and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, making sure the covering does not touch the pepper. 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 ¼-inch pieces and place in a small bowl.
- Toss the 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 the oven, toss with the chopped poblano, and set aside.
- Make the cherry tomato pico: 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 taste too tangy/spicy/sweet on it’s own… but remember that it will get diluted when you mix it with everything else). Set aside.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl combine the 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 the sliced avocado, tortilla strips, and a squeeze of lime.