Here at Eat Healthy, we’re always ready to party. One of the fastest, easiest, and most fun (“funnest,” even) ways to turn an average Wednesday night dinner into a full-on fiesta is with our Southwest Star Salads. They’re golden, gorgeous, and and an absolute festival of fresh, bright Southwestern flavors.
The crisp tortilla bowls are what turn a bunch of awesome, healthy Tex-Mex ingredients into the fiesta-on-a-plate that is Southwest Star Salad. As you can see, the tortillas are baked into a sort of rustic star shape, hence the name. Then you fill the bowls like an edible salad pinata, stuffing them to the brim with dark emerald spinach, ruby red tomato chunks, glossy black beans, savory taco-spice, and a sprinkling of golden corn. Top them off with goodies like fresh, tangy pico de gallo, drifts of cool sour cream, and a twists of breezy lime. We like to jazz ours up with chopped onion, plentiful sprigs of fresh cilantro, and a few boss-hot jalepeno slices when we’re feeling frisky. You can dress them up or down, keep them simple or pack in the flavors – no matter how you make them, they’re bowls of sun-drenched salad joy, every single time.
There are many excellent methods for making baked tortilla bowls, and we’ve found that no matter your approach, they’re likely to turn out quite nicely – don’t let their impressive appearance intimidate you for even a moment! We’ve done quite a bit of experimenting, and have settled on our own favorite method – favorite because it’s super simple, gives the tortillas a nice crispness and golden color, and results in a party-riffic star-shaped bowl. Here’s how we make a pair:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Assemble a cookie sheet, two regular-sized empty tin cans (well cleaned and with the labels thoroughly removed), some nonstick cooking spray, some aluminum foil (optional), and two burrito-size flour tortillas. You could start by wrapping the outside of each tin can in foil for extra hygienic-ness, but we confess that we live dangerously and skip this step. Microwave each tortilla for about 30 seconds to make it pliable, then lightly coat them on each side with cooking spray. Place the cans on the cookie sheet open-end down, then drape the tortillas over. Pop them in the oven for 7-8 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t get too brown. Take them out of the oven, let them stand for a minute, then lift the tortillas carefully off the cans. Voila! It’s hard to believe something so cool looking could be so easy to make.
Now that you have your tortilla bowls ready, it’s time to get the party started!
Southwest Star Salads For Two
2 prepared tortilla bowls
1/2 bag Morningstar Meal Starter Crumbles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 packet of your favorite taco seasoning
1-2 tablespoons water
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, roughly diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
several sprigs fresh cilantro, torn
1/2 cup frozen corn, microwaved for about 2 minutes
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (optional)
salsa or pico de gallo to taste
Brown the Meal Starter Crumbles in the olive oil over medium heat, then stir in the taco seasoning and the water. Continue to brown the crumbles for a few more minutes, then remove from heat.
When you’re assembling the salads, divide the ingredients as equally as possible between the two bowls. Start by placing spinach in each bowl, then topping it with the cooked crumbles – this will give the spinach a nice wilt. Continue to add ingredients to each salad in any order you like. No need to heat the canned beans, as their coolness will contribute an almost cheesy effect to the salads. When you’re out of ingredients, it’s time to eat! And of course, at any point you can put down your fork and just start tearing into the bowl with your bare hands. You’ll find it makes an excellent edible scoop for all the goodies inside.
The serving suggestion to your left is known as Montezuma’s Crown, and should only be attempted by extremely cool people.
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