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[Photograph: Lisa Fain]

While I'd never eaten a Frito salad before this week, I am very familiar with bean-heavy taco salads. These I'd eat as a teenager, convinced that they were healthier than tacos themselves, even when decorated with several handfuls of tortilla chips. Lisa Fain's Frito salad in her new cookbook, The Homesick Texan's Family Table, is much better than those salads I ate as a kid. First off, she builds the salad with bold, flavorful ingredients like fresh jalapenos, cilantro, and cotija. Next, she dresses the vegetables with a garlic-y, chili powder-laced vinaigrette. Finally, (and this is the best part, seriously) she mixes the Fritos right into the mix, making the whole thing kind of like a Texan fattoush.

Why I picked this recipe: How could I not try a dish called Frito salad?

What worked: Fritos are my new favorite salad toppers.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: If you'd like to bulk up the salad even more, you could add leftover grilled chicken or steak to the mix. Bacon is also a delicious addition. For a heaftier vegetarian version, try adding avocado. Off-brand Fritos will work in place of the real thing if, like me, you usually shop in a grocery store that doesn't sell the chips.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Homesick Texan's Family Table to give away this week.

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