Summer taco salad
To us, taco salad epitomizes Fourth of July. We grew up eating our grandma’s signature taco salad during our annual family gathering on the Mexican border. It was a quintessentially '90s experience: Fritos, iceberg lettuce, Catalina bottled dressing, shredded cheese, pinto beans, and chopped tomatoes. Delicious and hearty enough to fuel all of the tireless, pruney kids who'd just spent hours in the pool.
Fast forward 3 decades and we still crave that tortilla crunch combined with crisp lettuce, creamy beans, and cheesy goodness, but were looking for a dramatic departure from the overdressed, vegetable-sparse taco salad of that bygone era. Meet our new taco salad: This recipe is fresh, tangy, flavorful, and hearty enough to be a meal. The dressing gets its creamy consistency from Greek yogurt, jazzed up with lime juice and chipotles in adobo. It's grandma approved, and we’ll be making it on repeat all summer long.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone. –Lesley & Renee
- Serves: 6-8
- Time: 40 minutes (plus bean cooking)
- Cookware: rimmed baking sheet, grill, small bowl, large bowl
What you’ll need
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Juice of 1 large lime
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ to 1 chipotle with a little adobo sauce, finely chopped (if you don’t want that much heat, skip the chipotle and use 1-2 tsp sauce)
- ¾ tsp honey
- ½ tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 8 corn tortillas, cut into thirds and then ½ inch strips
- Olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 ears of corn, shucked and silk removed
- 1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and roughly chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1-½ cups of strained beans from a batch of beans (cooked according to our guide)
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup grated cotija cheese, plus more for serving
- Toasted pepitas, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine garlic and lime juice; set aside for 5 minutes to let the garlic flavor mellow. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt to taste.
Make the tortilla strips: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place tortilla strips on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with a little olive oil and season with salt. Spread in a single layer and bake until golden and crisp, stirring halfway through, 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
Grill the corn: Heat the grill over medium-high. Brush ears of corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until kernels are tender and charred in spots, 10-12 minutes. (Alternatively, you can broil the ears of corn, turning occasionally until tender and charred.) Once cooled enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss lettuce and kale with half the dressing. Add corn kernels, beans, avocado, radishes, and cotija cheese. Toss gently to combine. Add more dressing to taste and season with salt. To serve, garnish with tortilla strips, roasted pepitas, and lime wedges, and top with more cotija cheese.