Taco salads have evolved from the days when every single one was served in a bowl-shaped crunchy corn tortilla and smothered in Catalina dressing.
Maybe your taco salads were light and refreshing, but if you associate them with heavy dressings and soggy lettuce, check out this version from "The Vegan 8" author Brandi Doming, who roasts bell peppers and serves them with black beans, corn, avocado, crushed tortilla chips and a lime-cumin dressing. The sweetness of the maple syrup balances the tang of the lime juice, and the chili powder and cumin bring a little heat and smokiness to the entire dish.
Doming suggests serving this as a taco filling, too, but you also could add chopped romaine, pepitas and cotija to turn it into a more filling salad. The wavy tortilla bowl is optional. If you're making this ahead of time, leave out the avocado and chips until you're ready to serve.
Southwest Lime Salad
This oil-free, nut-free salad — a reader favorite — may use basic ingredients, but it packs a punch of flavor. It can be served either warm or chilled. The crushed tortilla chips add a nice crunch. You can also use the mix as a filling for crispy or soft tacos.
— Brandi Doming
2 cups diced red bell pepper
1 1/4 cups frozen sweet corn
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1 medium avocado, chopped
Crushed tortilla chips
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the chopped bell pepper on the prepared pan, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
While the peppers are roasting, place the corn and beans in separate bowls, and warm up in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Combine the lime juice, syrup, chili powder, cumin and salt in a small bowl, and whisk well. Add the lime mixture to a small pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to heat through.
Place the roasted peppers, corn, beans and lime mixture in a large bowl, and toss to coat everything evenly. Add tortilla chips and avocado. Taste and add more salt and seasonings, if desired. Serves 4.
— From "The Vegan 8: 100 Simple, Delicious Recipes Made with 8 Ingredients or Less" by Brandi Doming (Oxmoor House, $25.99)