Of all the things I eat, salad is the one that I find myself getting the most bored of. I mean it's just lettuce. But in all honestly, I've been trying to up my salad IQ by mixing it up (pun completely intended) with all sorts of ingredients and new flavors. Take for instance my taco salad, which combines all my favorite Tex-Mex flavors with the most basic of leaves- romaine. Keep reading after the jump for the complete recipe and try switching up your salad for something a little more festive! Your taste buds will thank you. File as delish.
- 1 bag of washed and chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1/2 can of pinto beans (I suggest just heating up the whole can and saving the other half for another use!)
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 2 small avocados or one large one
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup Colby jack cheese, roughly chunked into small pieces
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup or less of your favorite jarred salsa (I prefer roasted to non-roasted for a deeper flavor)
- 2 Chicken breasts (If you're not a chicken fan you can always add ground beef or shrimp. Use the same spices and it'll turn out just as delicious!)
- Little bit of extra virgin olive oil
- Can of Chipotle peppers in adobo (few regular grocery stores carry these little bombs so plan ahead. Check your Hispanic foods section or specialty stores. They usually look like this from most major grocery chains or this if you're buying them from Whole Foods.)
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- While your chopping all the salad ingredients, prepare both the chicken and the pinto beans. This is all the cooking you'll have to actually do!
- For the chicken, create a quick, light marinade by combining the a splash of olive oil, half the juice from the can of Chipotle peppers, the paprika, cumin, salt and freshly ground pepper. It should look like a dark red slurry that just covers the exterior of the chicken breasts. Don't let it sit for too long because it will get spicier! Either saute in a medium sized pan, a handy-dandy grill pan or a real grill until cooked through as you're chopping all the other ingredients.
- For the beans, drain the liquid that comes in the can, place them in a small pot, covered in fresh water and heat up just until simmering. Turn heat off, drain, rinse with cold water to cool off and reserve them for later.
- While the beans are simmering, chop all your ingredients into a rough dice- the red onion, red bell pepper, avocados, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and Colby jack cheese. Throw these into an extra large bowl on top of the lettuce.
- In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and salsa. I use about equal parts of both to create a creamy dressing that is pinkish in color.
- Add the cooked, rinsed and drained beans to the salad along with a small portion of the dressing and the cooked, chopped chicken or whatever protein you like. Toss to coat and add more dressing as needed. Add it just a little at a time...it's always better to have an underdressed salad than an overdressed one!
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips on top and a little extra dressing (make the chips homemade by frying chopped corn tortillas in about an inch of corn or vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Drain on either paper towels or a dish towel. Salt immediately after frying in small batches.) Enjoy!