In the past week, San Francisco's seen some of the hottest days of the year. Which is why when a friend came over for lunch, I suggested we make a big, chilled salad with a cooling dressing to top it off. I chose taco salad: not the traditional kind with a fried tostada bowl and ground beef, but a lighter, meatless version with a creamy cilantro, cucumber, and avocado dressing.
The salad turned out beautifully. It has vibrantly hued ingredients, each neatly chopped, in contrasting layers. I especially enjoyed the flavors and textures — like buttery avocado, smoky cumin, and crispy chips — without any of the grease. Leftover chopped ingredients make for a wonderful next meal, and you can vary the dish. Remove the cheese to turn it vegan, or add grilled skirt steak if you're a meat lover. Savor a different taco salad when you read more.
1 1/4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 to 1 1/2 ears)
1/2 avocado, diced
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes, orange and red if available
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup diced jicama
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled (optional)
20 tortilla chip strips, broken
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, stems and leaves
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
- Make the salad: Arrange the ingredients on a platter or in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Toss the salad at the table with about 1/2 cup dressing, adding more to taste. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving: 435 calories, 9 g protein, 39 g carbohydrate, 29 g fat (3 g saturated), 0 g cholesterol, 612 mg sodium, 11 g fiber.
- Vegetables, Salads