Southwestern Tortilla Salad


This Tex-Mex favorite comes together in minutes. You'll be surprised by how quick and easy it is to make your own refried beans—and how much better they taste than the ready-made variety. Slideshow:  Favorite Southwestern and Tex-Mex Recipes 

Southwestern Tortilla Salad
Photo: © Helene Dujardin
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins


  • 8 taco shells

  • 5 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 2 cups drained and rinsed kidney beans (from one 19-ounce can)

  • 1/3 cup tomato salsa

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons wine vinegar

  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 avocado, cut into thin slices

  • 1/4 pound cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

  • 1 roasted chicken, bones and skin removed, meat shredded (about 1 pound meat)

  • 1/3 cup black olives, such as Kalamata, halved and pitted


  1. Heat the oven to 350°. Put the taco shells on a baking sheet and bake them until crisp, about 8 minutes. Break each one in half.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the beans, salsa, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, mashing with a potato masher, for about 5 minutes.

  3. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, pepper, chili powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the remaining 4 1/2 tablespoons oil, whisking. Add the cilantro.

  4. To serve, spread one side of the taco-shell halves with the refried beans and put four on each plate. Top with layers of the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, chicken, and olives. Pour the dressing over the salads.

Suggested Pairing

The forceful flavor of cheddar cheese and the saltiness of the olives will go very nicely with a crisp and lively Sauvignon Blanc from California.

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