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.
Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours by Lisa Fain. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3/4 cup extra‐virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cups cooked or canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 cups Fritos or other thick corn tortilla chips
To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and chili powder until well combined. Add salt to taste.
To assemble the salad, toss together the greens, tomatoes, jalapeños, bell pepper, cilantro, beans, and Cotija cheese. If serving immediately, add the chips and dressing. If serving later, toss with the chips and dressing when ready to serve.