Fully Loaded Carnitas Kale Taco Salad

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Oh baby. This is the salad that salad dreams are made of. When I think to myself “I want a really good salad for lunch”… this is what I’m talking about. It’s packed with delicious goodies – every single bite is full of so much flavor. No bland lettuce bites with this one. No “why did I order the salad when George ordered that dank looking burger?!” thoughts here. Ya feel me?

The dressing is a riff off of the Avocado Cilantro dressing from my cookbook and it’s so, so good. Creamy and full of healthy fats and so much flavor.

If you want black beans, add em. If you have cotija instead of aged cheddar, that’s cool. Just make sure that you load this baby to the brim with extra toppings.

If you don’t have tortillas, crumble up some tortilla chips and throw those in there like croutons, but I love this massive tortilla-crouton situation that I accidentally created one taco night. I always heat up my tortillas for tacos on the open flame of my gas stovetop, and often I walk away, forget what I’m doing, and come back to a tortilla that’s either fully on fire, or way too toasted to use as a taco because it breaks in half when you try to fold it. Here, I toast a tortilla to the point of crispy on purpose, toasting it over low heat until it’s brittle and shatters when you bend it. It is phenomenally delicious and I love breaking off a piece and scooping up a bite of salad with it.

Fully Loaded Carnitas Kale Taco Salad

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches of kale, deribbed and thinly sliced into ribbons
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked carnitas
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (omit for Whole30)
  • 4 Siete or corn tortillas (omit for Whole30)
  • 1 cp cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 avocados, thinly sliced (use the second half from the dressing)
  • ¼ cup pickled red onions
  • 4 ounces aged cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices (omit for Whole30)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • Optional: jalapeno slices, hot sauce, black beans, sliced radishes

Creamy Avocado Dressing

  • ½ large avocado
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (use coconut yogurt for Whole30)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • To make the dressing: add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until you reach a thick dressing (like a Caesar)-like consistency.
  • Add kale to a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use your hands to massage the kale by squeezing and releasing it over and over until it feels less stiff and slightly wet, but not limp, 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Pour in about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss to combine. Continue tossing in more dressing until you’ve reached your desired level of dressed-ness. Nope, that isn’t a word, but you know what I mean.
  • Divide the kale between 4 bowls, or build this salad in a large serving bowl if you want a pretty presentation!
  • If needed, warm the carnitas in a nonstick skillet over medium head. Add to the salad. Return the skillet to medium heat and cook the corn in the leftover carnitas grease. Season with salt. Add to the salad.
  • Meanwhile, crisp up the tortillas by placing them directly over the flame of a gas burner over the lowest heat possible for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Don’t have a gas flame? Place an oven rack on the highest rung and put your tortillas on a baking sheet. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  • Add the remaining toppings to your salad, and serve with a crispy tortilla.
  • 2 large bunches of kale, deribbed and thinly sliced into ribbons
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked carnitas
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (omit for Whole30)
  • 4 Siete or corn tortillas (omit for Whole30)
  • 1 cp cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 avocados, thinly sliced (use the second half from the dressing)
  • ¼ cup pickled red onions
  • 4 ounces aged cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices (omit for Whole30)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • Optional: jalapeno slices, hot sauce, black beans, sliced radishes

Creamy Avocado Dressing

  • ½ large avocado
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (use coconut yogurt for Whole30)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Author: Caroline Chambers

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