The Kitchn

Sour cream dressing enhances taco salad

TheKitchn.comJuly 30, 2013 

This taco salad has quinoa for extra protein and a creamy cilantro dressing that’s spiked with fresh lime juice.


Cooking alone or as a couple can be a challenge. When a recipe serves six but there’s only two of you, it can be a bore to eat the same thing several days in a row. This is why I devised this recipe that is the perfect size – a hearty dinner salad just for two.

Taco salad reminds me of two things: my mom and my college days in Boulder, Colo. My mom made a mean taco salad with spicy ground beef, lots of tortilla chips, cheese and an interesting dressing that I think might’ve just been a mixture of sour cream and salsa. When I left for college, I continued the tradition, but made mine healthier and vegetarian, reflecting my interests and inclinations at the time. I think at some point there might have even been tempeh (tempeh was in high rotation in my apartment in those days).

This recipe is almost a grown-up version of my college taco salad. It has many of the same components, but I’ve added quinoa for extra protein and whipped up a super creamy cilantro dressing that’s spiked with fresh lime juice and a little salt. It’d be dreamy as a dip for fresh vegetables, and I can vouch for it as a dip with leftover tortilla chips, too. It’s good stuff.

If you like leftovers or have a family of four, simply double this recipe. If you’re planning for leftovers, wait to dress the remaining salad with dressing until you’re ready to eat.

This is the perfect salad for this time of year – substantial enough to be lunch or dinner but simple enough that you’re not spending more than 30 minutes in the kitchen.

Megan Gordon is a writer for The, a website on food and home cooking.

Taco Salad With Creamy Cilantro Dressing Dressing: 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped (about 3/4 bunch) 1/2 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime) 1 clove garlic 1/2 cup olive oil 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper Water, to thin Salad: 2 1/4 cups shredded romaine lettuce 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 1/2 cup cooked, cooled quinoa (optional) 1/2 cup black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese 1/2 large avocado, diced 3 tablespoons sliced black olives 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions (from about 2 onions), light green and white parts only 1/2 cup crumbled tortilla chips

PUREE all of the dressing ingredients except the water in a blender or food processor until well-combined and smooth. If it seems thick, drizzle in water a tablespoon or two at a time with the blender running. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

COMBINE all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve immediately.

NOTE: The dressing will yield about 3/4 cup, more than you’ll need to dress the salad. Refrigerate the remainder in an airtight container to use for future salads, or use it as a dip. It’s also great slathered on burgers or spooned onto omelets.

Yield: 2 servings.

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