Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tostada Salad... Salad {with Avocado-Cilantro-Lime Dressing}


Salads... in their most basic form... require little in the way of a recipe. They can be as simple as a few amazing leaves of fresh, just-picked lettuce that are left completely undressed and set alongside an entrée, to a more involved medley of veggies, grains, nuts... and more... tossed with a variety of greens and a homemade vinaigrette to create a meal that's satisfying enough to be plated on its very own for dinner. I suppose this thinking of what requires a recipe and what might not is the reason my salad file here is a bit sparse.

We eat a lot of salads, however... and sometimes convert other things into salads so that we can turn to them frequently, with little guilt and lots of satisfaction... like this Tostada Salad Salad.

What began as a pretty decadent tostada salad -- with deep-fried corn tortillas piled high with chicken and beans, lettuce and cheese, salsa, onions, avocado, and sour cream -- became a healthier form of its former self... and a bit more honest in its claim as a salad.

In this Tostada Salad Salad, white corn tortillas are very lightly brushed with some extra virgin olive oil and baked in the oven.


The meat has been replaced with black beans, sautéed with onion and garlic and punched up with one of our favorite salsas.


Then... piled high atop these crispy, bean-spread tortillas is a mix of fresh greens and goodies to mimic all the flavors of a great tostada... though in a much lighter, healthier form. There's jicama, white corn, green onions, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), black olives, cilantro, and grape tomatoes that are then tossed


with the greens and lightly drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice.


And then... rather than a random addition of diced avocado, an entire avocado is mashed with just a bit of lime juice, salt and pepper...


and dolloped atop the salad and tossed until fully incorporated. This mash creams up the "vinaigrette" (which is really just a relaxed drizzle of oil and acid), threading through the colorful kaleidoscope of flavors to properly attire the salad in an avocado-infused dress, confidently unadorned with the heavy accessories of a more decadent offering -- just a simple, good salad...

not really a recipe.
Tostado Salad Salad
makes 2 generous "tostadas" 

The following is a guide of ingredients. Given the amounts noted, we usually devour all the salad fixings and have just a little bit of the beans left over to enjoy another time.

2 white corn tortillas
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus 1/2 teaspoon for baking tortillas)
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup of your favorite, fresh salsa (more or less, as preferred)
4 cups of mixed greens, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sliced romaine lettuce
1 cup diced jicama
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 15-ounce can white corn, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
extra virgin olive oil, to dress
1 large lime
1 avocado
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl and, using a pastry brush, lightly brush both sides of each tortilla. Place tortillas on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn tortillas over and continue baking for another 4 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Place 3 tablespoons olive in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions until just translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add in black beans and salsa and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Toss greens with jicama, cilantro, tomatoes, olives, corn, pepitas and green onions. Dress salad with olive oil and lime juice, to taste. In a small bowl, mash avocado with the back of a fork, drizzle with a little lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste. Add avocado mash to dressed greens and toss to thoroughly combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. 

Spread approximately 1/4 cup of bean mixture on each tortilla. Place tortillas on plates and pile generously with salad. Serve immediately.








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