quinoa taco salad
Photo Credit: Dinner Illustrated

Quinoa Taco Salad

This healthy taco salad hits a home run with any crowd. 

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quinoa taco salad

Quinoa Taco Salad

Taco salad hits a home run with any crowd. 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: america's test kitchen, quinoa, taco salad, tacos
Servings: 4
Author: Excerpted from Dinner Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen


  • ¾ cup prewashed white quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 head escarole (1 pound), trimmed and sliced thin
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and chopped
  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (½ cup)


  • Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to bowl.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Stir in chipotle, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and toasted quinoa, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 18 to 22 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Spread quinoa onto rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 20 minutes.
  • Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add escarole, scallions, and ¼ cup cilantro and toss to combine. Gently fold in beans, tomatoes, and avocado. Transfer to serving platter and top with quinoa, queso fresco, and remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Serve.
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