Recipe: $4.86 | Per Serving: $1.22 | Yield: 4
There are two types of people in the world: those who love cilantro, and those who think it tastes like soap. I fall into the former category, and I really hope you do too because THIS DRESSING. THIS SALAD. One of the highlights of my summer, I tell ya. This is everything summer fare is supposed to be. Crunchy and bright and crispy and healthy and filling and light and happy. It's a perfect combination of all those adjectives, and it can be on your table in, like, 10 minutes.
It's been quite a while since I've had quinoa on this here blog. It was super cheap and accessible where I lived when I started my blog (Peru), and relatively affordable where we lived the following year (San Diego - thanks Sprouts). But last year's home on the other hand, big fat NOPE (Japan). If you found quinoa there, and that's a big IF, it was always way overpriced and therefore not worth it. And with all the other delicious options, I almost forgot about the trendy little seed-grain that could. And then being back in the US (Baltimore) with all the basil and all the tomatoes, I remembered one of my favorite summer dishes: Pesto Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes. HEY! Let's get some quinoa!
My local Safeway sells it for $3.99 for 17 ounces, which is just under $4 per pound. Not really something you'd consider particularly cheap, but for a filling seed/grain/protein that's super versatile, it was worth it for me this week. If you're not interested in the splurge, you could probably omit the quinoa (the dressing is the true star of the show), or replace it with couscous or brown rice. I could even let you skip the yogurt in the dressing in favor of avocado, because I'm sure that would work magically as well.
But I'm going to boss you around for a second. Things you cannot skip:
- lime juice
- black beans
- crispy tortilla strips
Funny story about this: we were having it for dinner on Monday night, but I still hadn't taken any photos. I asked Zac to cook the beans and prep the lettuce while I was at work so I could throw it together for some Photos for the Blog. And then I got stuck at work for another half an hour, and then we had this crazy thunderstorm and it was as dark as night by 6:45, like it was winter or something. I was so frustrated. But true story: when we were eating this salad, I was not mad at all, because I knew the dark skies just meant I would get to have it again the next day. AND I DID. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. That's some cilantro-jalapeño magic juju right there.
THIS SALAD IS SO GOOD.
Paleo: Er. You can swap the yogurt for avocado, and then skip the black beans and quinoa and tortilla strips...replace with some sort of pulled pork? That should be delicious, but also a completely different meal.
Vegetarian: YES! For vegan: swap out the yogurt for avocado, and make sure your tortilla strips are vegan.
Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Dressing
For the Salad:
- 2 cups quinoa cooked
- 2 cups black beans cooked
- 8 cups lettuce shredded, I used romaine
For the Dressing:
- 1 jalapeño half the ribs and seeds removed
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 ounces cilantro about 1 cup packed
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon water
For the Tortilla Strips:
- 4 corn tortillas
- 2 teaspoons oil
- Prep the salad ingredients and arrange in 4 bowls. Set aside.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients (EXCEPT the water) in a blender or food processor and process until very smooth. Add water to thin it out as necessary at the end.
- Warm the oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Cut the tortillas into small strips and add to the pan. Coat with the oil and fry/sauté until crispy, about 4ish minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt. Once cooled, store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with the crispy tortilla strips. Eat so much of it!
I used Greek yogurt, but I'd guess that using plain yogurt would work great too - you probably wouldn't need to thin it out with any water though.
For a dairy-free dressing: swap out the yogurt for avocado instead.