Step up your lunch game with this vegan, gluten-free, Meatless Monday superfood taco salad recipe. Try saying that ten times fast.
If you’re underwhelmed or unsatisfied by your attempts at green salads, don’t throw in the towel on healthier habits. Salads don’t have to be all rabbit food. In fact, adding healthy whole grains, nuts or seeds and legumes to the mix will increase satiety (that feeling of, one, I’ve had enough and, two, it was downright tasty) and decrease the desire to graze after the meal. The fiber, healthy fats and proteins these ingredients bring to the table help improve digestion, stabilize blood sugar and nourish your muscles and mind.
All of the nutrient-dense ingredients (kale, quinoa, chickpeas, etc) in this upgraded taco salad fit into those three categories of superfood add-ons. If you take it a step further and replace your tortilla strips or flour wrap with radicchio leaves, you’re kicking it up to a whole new level of good-for-you. The magenta hue of radicchio comes from a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are members of the same family of phytochemicals found in teas, honey, wines, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and cocoa–all of which have received a lot of well-deserved positive buzz from the health and nutrition field. The cherry on top–as well as the moderation factor–are a few coins of baked plantains. It’s amazing how a little something special can take a salad from boring to a monumental taste-bomb of deliciousness.
Raddichio-wrapped Quinoa Kale Taco Salad w/ Spicy Avocado Dressing
Makes 6 servings
What You’ll Need
For the Quinoa Kale Taco Salad:
- 1 small head of radicchio
- 1 cup dry red quinoa
- 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
- 2 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup corn (canned or frozen works)
- 1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
For the Spicy Avocado Dressing:
- 1 ripe avocado
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1 jalapeno, seeded
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Plantains:
- 1 plantain
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
How to Make It:
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Slice plantains into coins 1/8″ thick and toss in olive oil and sea salt. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and lay out a single layer of plantain coins. Bake for 20 min.Turn oven to broil and cook another 5 min, or until light golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
- While the plantains bake, cook quinoa according to package directions. When it’s done, set it aside to cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the kale leaves in boiling water for 1 min, then remove from heat, drain and let cool.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, mixing until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, kale, chickpeas, corn, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, onion and fresh cilantro. Pour dressing on top, to taste, and toss until everything is well coated.
- Peel a few leaves of radicchio to line your bowl or layer your plate with. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the salad into your bowl or onto your plate. Garnish with a few plantains and enjoy!