Nacho Cheese Quinoa Taco Salad

Four words for the rest of the summer: nacho cheese taco salad. It can make an appearance at your dinner table, a cookout or even in a jar taken to the beach. It’s kid friendly! You can make it ahead of time and it gets better as it sits. Weird, right?! But delicious.  So!  I’m […]

The post Nacho Cheese Quinoa Taco Salad appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Four words for the rest of the summer: nacho cheese taco salad.

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

It can make an appearance at your dinner table, a cookout or even in a jar taken to the beach. It’s kid friendly! You can make it ahead of time and it gets better as it sits.

Weird, right?! But delicious. 

segmented nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

So! 

I’m bringing you another retro-ish recipe today with a twist! And by retro, I mean 90s. And by 90s, I mean the early 2000s. 

Because believe it or not, we never had that taco dorito salad growing up! Nope. Never. Which is crazy since my mom definitely did a 90s taco night once a week.

taco beef, scallions, quinoa, tomatoes, cheese, beans, peppers, chips in a bowl

But no, it wasn’t until I was in college that I had the chopped taco salad for the first time. The salad that I’m referencing is basically a bunch of taco ingredients – tomatoes, lettuce, corn, seasoned ground beef and onions, then drenched with bottled catalina dressing and toss with tons of crushed doritos.

homemade catalina dressing

Yes, 2003 me is very shocked that I would even make a version of this because I grew up loathing doritos (I know! I know! But the orange powder and smell turned me off) and didn’t have any interest in catalina dressing.

But this dressing… OMG.

pouring catalina dressing onto taco salad

Yet here we are! I ended up liking that salad with modifications and then went an extra mile to really jazz it up myself and give it a twist.

Like homemade catalina dressing. It’s so good on this!

And quinoa. Adding some bulk to this salad gave it more texture but also made it more… meal like? Even though this is usually served as a side dish at summer cookouts, you can definitely throw a scoop on some lettuce and have it for lunch. 

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

And of course, I threw in beans, avocado, pickled onions and topped it all off with a big scoop of plain greek yogurt.

Oh hi, I’m obsessed with nacho cheese taco salad. 

p.s. you can make it with lots of leftover ingredients too. Leftover taco night? Leftover quinoa from dinner? Go for it.

up close nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

It may seem like an odd salad if you never had that taco salad in the 90s. The gist is that you make a huge serving and it’s easy to make ahead of time and transport, so it’s perfect for serving at a party. This can be like that too! Just add the avocado at the end. 

Oh and let me tell you how my dorito hatred has laughed in my face: last year at summer camp Max had cool ranch doritos and fell in love with them. Ha! Now he requests them often. Wonderful. 

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

When it comes to chips in this salad, I love to use these late july nacho chipotle chips which basically are a version of doritos. Like fancier trying-to-be-healthy doritos. So just ignore me saying I don’t like the doritos since I like these.

And of course, you can use regular doritos in the salad too! They make it fun and crunchy and a great dish to take to someone’s house. When we can go to someone’s house.

You know. 

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

Obviously I love this because:

chopped salads are the best salads. YES.

Getting a bite of everything on one fork is the way to go. In fact, it’s one of the ways I learned to love salad.

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

No need to learn how to love this salad. It’s lovable right from the start! We adore it.

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

Nacho Cheese Taco Salad

Print

Chopped Nacho Cheese Taco Quinoa Salad

This nacho cheese taco salad is my favorite twist on the classic 90s dorito taco salad. Chopped ingredients and homemade catalina dressing!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 to 6
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 12 ounces butter lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 to 2 cups crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips (honestly however much you’d like!)
  • pickled onions for topping
  • for topping: chopped avocado, plain greek yogurt or sour cream

catalina dressing

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Note: the beef and quinoa can be made a day or two ahead of time! This is a great recipe to make with leftover taco meat or quinoa.
    This serves 4 to 6 as a side dish, or more if it's served with a bunch of other things.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring often, until brown. As it’s browning, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and
  • pepper, the cumin, garlic and chili powder. Break it apart into small crumbles and cook until brown. Remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain excess grease.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the chopped lettuce, beef, quinoa, beans, tomatoes, cheese, onions and cilantro. Sprinkle with the crushed chips and toss. Drizzle on some of the dressing and toss well. Serve with avocado, pickled onions and greek yogurt if you’d like!
  • To make ahead of time, I like to layer this in a bowl. Layer the beef first, then the beans and cheese, then remaining ingredients, then lettuce. Cover and store in the fridge. Before serving, add the crushed chips and dressing, tossing well.

catalina dressing

  • Whisk together the vinegar, honey, ketchup, garlic, paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stream in the olive oil while whisking until the dressing is emulsified. This stays great in the fridge for a few days!

nacho cheese taco quinoa salad

Serve this to me everyday!

The post Nacho Cheese Quinoa Taco Salad appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Sheet Pan Nacho Chicken.

I present to you: sheet pan nacho chicken! Otherwise known as, Eddie’s new favorite chicken. It’s true! Remember a few years ago when I was dead set on creating new unboring chicken recipes constantly? I’m still in that mode (thanks to Eddie!) but it’s rare that I find something different and good enough to share.  […]

The post Sheet Pan Nacho Chicken. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

I present to you: sheet pan nacho chicken!

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

Otherwise known as, Eddie’s new favorite chicken. It’s true!

Remember a few years ago when I was dead set on creating new unboring chicken recipes constantly? I’m still in that mode (thanks to Eddie!) but it’s rare that I find something different and good enough to share. 

THIS IS IT.

sheet pan chicken for the oven

It’s not super different, I mean, it’s a different way to make taco-like chicken. I always like to have one of those. Especially one that isn’t made in a slow cooker. And triple-especially one that isn’t made in the instant pot, because I still loathe that thing. Whomp whomp.

But I have the answer.

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

This recipe contains three things that I almost always have on hand: chicken, bell peppers and onions.

The major flavor comes from lots of spices. You can leave one or two out if you don’t have them! 

And… I love to sprinkle corn cut straight from the cob into the sheet pan and roast it with everything else.

This creates the most flavorful, juiciest chicken ever.

After that? Well, it’s all about your toppings. Or your favorite condiments or whatever you deem necessary to serve with this juicy flavorbomb bite! 

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

Because here’s the thing. 

There are so many things you can do with this chicken!

Serve it just like this, straight off the sheet pan smothered in pico, maybe with rice or something on the side.

Shred it and serve it in tacos, of course. Or on nachos, hence the name. (My personal fave, obvs.) 

Shred it or slice it and serve it on slider buns topped with guac and salsa. 

Shred it, slice it or chop it and serve it on top of a salad, on your own burrito bowl, in a wrap of some sort (that isn’t a taco, I guess!) 

I love it.

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

And one more reeeeeally good idea? This might be the ultimate.

When it’s finished? Before you add anything else on top, cover it with a slice of sharp cheddar or monterey jack and stick it back in the oven for a minute or two.

UM YES.

Then do any of the above like we talked about. 

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

Hello new favorite chicken! Right?!

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

Sheet Pan Nacho Chicken

Sheet Pan Nacho Chicken

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, ( (or a mix of breasts and thighs))
  • 2 bell peppers, (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red onion, (thinly sliced)
  • ⅔ cup uncooked sweet corn, (cut from the cob)

quick pico

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, (quartered)
  • ½ sweet onion, (diced)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, (chopped)
  • ½ lime, (juiced)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • cotija cheese, (for sprinkling)

for serving

  • guacamole
  • cilantro
  • sliced jalapeno peppers
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken breasts, reserving a bit for the peppers and onions. Place the chicken on the sheet pan and surround it with the sliced peppers and onions. Sprinkle the remaining spices over top. Sprinkle the corn all over the sheet pan.

    (As a note, you can also use frozen corn, it may release a bit more liquid.)

  4. Roasted for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Use a cooking thermometer to test the internal temperature, which should be 165 degrees If at any time the peppers and onions look like they may burn, you can pull out the sheet pan and toss the veggies with a fork.
  5. Let the chicken cook for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing or shredding. Sprinkle the pico de gallo on top along with the cotija cheese. Serve with extra lime wedges, guacamole, jalapenos and cilantro.

quick pico

  1. Toss the tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime juice together in a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

This sheet pan nacho chicken recipe results in the juiciest, more flavorful chicken that can be served in a multitude of ways!

Just give me some chips to scoop this up!

The post Sheet Pan Nacho Chicken. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.