Tortilla Salad

Tortilla Salad Recipe

Hi all - I'm having this recipe jump the line because I'm that eager to share it with you. I made it just before leaving for this place, which means I'm now scrambling to get it onto the server when I really should be packing. What's all the fuss? This was one of those times when a simple lunch idea blossomed into something unexpected and wonderful - electric colors, punchy dressing, everything super fresh and filling. The idea here was to build a salad around some beautiful dried cranberry beans I found at the market. They ranged in color - some were a deep pink, others rosy brown, many took after their namesake with deep cranberry red skins. Some were bean-shaped, others more like Ni├žoise olives - full and round, yet small. I knew I wanted to play off the pink. But beyond that, I just kept reaching for things I needed to use up. Blue corn chips, some leftover dressing, a ripe avocado on the counter - the loose notion of a tortilla salad starts to take shape. The details...

Tortilla Salad Recipe

Let's start with the dressing. For those of you who missed this post, I should note that the dressing du jour around here is that paprika-spiked stunner. Assertive, rustic, herb-kissed - it is perfect with beans. Done. I had a watermelon radish on hand - fuchsia fleshed and spicy, it was another welcome addition. Thin slices of the avocado brought a bit of luxe creaminess, and sunflower seeds and tortilla chips delivered crunch and structure. I actually hesitated before adding the chips. The salad was certainly fine without them, but there was something about the chips that really worked. I mean, they're tortilla chips. Why not? I threw in a bit of barely cooked cauliflower (chopped leaves, stems, all of it), and feta. I think it goes without saying - you can experiment and swap in other seasonal vegetables, types of cheese (goat might be nice), etc.

I made a little treat for my flight & hope to share that recipe and some pics when I get back. -h


Tortilla Salad Recipe

HS: While I used heirloom cranberry beans here, you can substitute another sort of bean if you like. It's better if you've cooked them from scratch. And do your best to avoid overcooking them.

3 cups / ~1 lb / 16 oz cooked beans, room temperature or warm
1/3 cup / 1.5 ounces / 45 g toasted sunflower seeds (or pepitas)
1/4 cup / 60ml this dressing (or other favorite vinaigrette), or to taste

2 cups / big handfuls of chopped cauliflower (stems, leaves, florets), boiled in a bit of salted water for just 20 seconds, then drained under cold water

2-3 big handfuls of tortilla chips
1/4 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g crumbled feta
1 small (watermelon) radish, sliced paper thin
1/2 avocado, sliced

Combine the beans, sunflower seeds, most of the dressing, and cauliflower in a large bowl. Toss well. Add the chips, feta, and radish. Toss gently. Taste, add more dressing if needed, and the avocado. Toss once or twice and enjoy.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 5 min

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Your Comments

September 13, 2011

Oh wow, your dishes always have the most stunning color palates. So inspiring. It looks so soft and almost fading-- probably fitting for the transition into fall now. :) Enjoy your trip!


September 13, 2011

That watermelon radish is so pretty--I've never seen such a thing!


la domestique
September 13, 2011

This salad looks fantastic! Purple cauliflower caught my eye at the farmers market last week, and I'll have to pick some up tomorrow and make your recipe. I love the colors and textures you've got going on here. Thanks for sharing, and have a safe trip!


The Healthy Hipster
September 13, 2011

My goodness that looks delicious! Cranberry beans and watermelon radish? Even the ingredient list is divine!


Donna @ Cooking + Praying
September 13, 2011

Sounds fabulous. And perfect timing--I am just about to place an order for some heirloom beans at Rancho Gordo and now I'll add cranberry beans. Beautiful too!


Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
September 13, 2011

Beautiful lunch! Many of my favorite ingredients except I have never seen or had a watermelon radish. This salad actually makes me feel good just looking at it!


Hari Chandana
September 13, 2011

Beautiful clicks !!
Indian Cuisine


September 13, 2011

Oh wow this sounds delicious! I love the colours :)


September 13, 2011

Those colours are AMAZING Heidi! What an array of gorgeous produce you must have in SF. Yum, looks like my kinda lunch.


September 13, 2011

The salad looks delicious and has a lovely color!


September 13, 2011

The colours in this are spectacular!! I'm starting to experiment more with salads, mainly ingredients, but never thought about colour matching. Something new to think about...


Ashlae // oh, ladycakes
September 13, 2011

This looks delicious; so light and flavorful. And the color medley is absolutely gorgeous.


lynn @ the actor's diet
September 13, 2011

i often love crumbling chips into my salads - esp. the ones that got mangled in a bag


September 13, 2011

I'm such a blue tortilla chip fan. I always feel a little guilty indulging, but in a salad, it's guilt-free!
Have you ever baked with blue cornmeal? I brought a bag back from Texas last time I was home, and it's sitting in my freezer, waiting for inspiration. Thought I'd check with you ;)


September 13, 2011

Heidi I have this image of you in my head. You're standing in the kitchen with a giant artist's palette on your thumb - but instead of daubs of paint, it's groaning under the weight of a kaleidoscope of fresh produce. You literally paint food onto the plate! It's so inspiring to read your blog and flick through your recipe books. All this image lacked was smellavision! Thanks. Lisa x


Crude Dame
September 13, 2011

Your recipe has totally inspired me to head out to the Ferry Building and pick up some seasonal good at the Farmers Market! Never used watermelon radish in any of my recipes, so this one seems like a good one as any! Cheers!


September 13, 2011

It's beautiful !!!!!!! big kiss


Thanks for relinking Magic Sauce...forgot about that one and it should not be forgotten.

The watermelon probably the most beautiful radish I have ever seen.

And a recipe jumping the line...oh, that's big :)


September 14, 2011

Hey ,
What a great great looking salad, it looks like a proper gentleman in salads all well dressed and proper...
Are the cauliflowers red? never seen such before they look gorgeous and the colour combination of the whole salad is so balanced I just cannot find words
keep up the good work , I have you on my side bar

HS: Hi Mahek - it's a purple cauliflower :)


September 14, 2011

you make veggies look delicious! am still new to this vegetarian lifestyle and am slowly adapting to it...your recipes certainly help!


September 14, 2011

wow ive got farmers market envy, all those veggies look spectacular!

a really beautiful post heidi


September 14, 2011

What a wonderful salad full of such delicious ingredients!


JL goes Vegan
September 14, 2011

I have Eye of the Goat Beans that I haven't cooked up in awhile. They will be perfect for this!

I've been anxious to attempt creating a vegan "feta" cheese -- this salad is just the inspiration I needed!


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
September 14, 2011

This sounds lovely!


September 14, 2011

I love how you added a watermelon radish to this. It's unexpected but adds great visual appeal. I tried a watermelon radish for the first time at a farmers market over the winter. This dish looks beautiful. Sometimes using up what we have turns out better than expected.


blue moon
September 14, 2011

What a wonderful salad full of such delicious ingredients! so nice..


September 14, 2011

SUCH a gorgeous salad. i love the idea of putting cauliflower in a tortilla salad. and your purple cauliflower looks perfect in here with the radish.


adam and theresa
September 14, 2011

Yes, I can always do a lunch of simply dressed beans with a vinegarette, especially now as I've got a pressure cooker and can get them meltingly soft. I totally recommend a pressure cooker if anyone is cooking beans regularly by the way. Makes all the difference.


Heather (Heather's Dish)
September 14, 2011

now this is my kind of salad...i love the mixture of ingredients, textures, and flavors!


Bev Weidner
September 14, 2011

It's just amazing how you can take this ingredient, that ingredient a little bit of this what-have-you ingredient, and turn it into something so sexy it should be looked at through a peep hole.

And charged for.


September 14, 2011

Beautiful! I love all of the colors and textures in this salad. Have fun on your trip!


September 14, 2011

this may be one of the prettiest salads i have ever seen. although...i can't find watermelon radishes anywhere. bummer.


Nancy (guinnah)
September 14, 2011

Heidi I think you are the only person who could make a fridge cleanout look so glamorous. This looks amazing!


Sarah R
September 14, 2011

How interesting - I never heard of using the leaves from a cauliflower before! It seems when I see them at the greenmarket and even at the farmers market the leaves are all lopped off, but I will keep an eye out as this has peaked my curiousity


Michelle @ Find Your Balance
September 14, 2011

I think the watermelon radish is the winner here - turning that whole picture into something really, really extraordinary!


September 14, 2011

Made the dressing last night with pork, peppers, noodles, etc. Oh my word! What an amazing dressing. You are right, this is going into regular rotation in my fridge. It is scrumptious!


Niki of Spilled Ingredients
September 14, 2011

My 3 year old asked "What are those things?" when she saw the salad photo... guess I need to introduce watermelon radish! A quick blanch of the cauliflower sounds delish, with the colorful radish... what a fun way to get some protein with tortilla chips. The Symposium looks fabulous, enjoy!


Ali @ Gimme Some Oven
September 14, 2011

SO beautiful! Love the colors.


September 14, 2011

Such pretty watermelon radish.


September 14, 2011

Simply gorgeous! I love new salad ideas, thanks!


Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen
September 14, 2011

Tortilla chips in a salad?! That's an amazing idea. And the blue chips are truly beautiful. They totally match the watermelon radishes.


September 14, 2011

Gorgeous! So gorgeous that I'd be afraid to eat it ;) but then I'd get over it ...


September 14, 2011

I've never even heard of watermelon radish! That whole bowl looks amazing. I love when stuff thrown together come out awesome like that!

Have a nice trip!


I have a favorite go-to tortilla salad recipe that I concocted many moons ago, but it is nowhere NEAR as gorgeous as this one! Though all of your food photos are stunning, this one almost made me fall out of my chair, it's just THAT beautiful!


September 14, 2011

I always take something away from your recipes that I know will be stored in my cooking memory bank forever...this time it's sunflower seeds in my tortillas salads (in which i add copious amounts of quinoa) and THAT dressing. Perfection in dressing. Thx!


Pamela Cohen
September 14, 2011

Wonderful and nutritious. Lots of color and texture, and I can't wait to try 'that' dressing....
I just made some crockpot beans and substituted dried tomatoes for the ketchup called for in the traditional dry mustard, brown sugar, molasses mix, with some chicken and apple organic sausage slices sauteed with onion. I didn' t drain the beans to 1 c. liquid, either. Oooh. I was a piglet.
Your recipes inspire me, Heidi. Thank you.


September 14, 2011

Gorgeous!! Love the colors. And any salad that has sunflower seeds and cauliflower in it is a-ok in my book :) Delicious!


September 14, 2011

Love it Heidi! I bet this would be delicious with a punchy cilantro vinaigrette too. Thanks.


September 14, 2011

Good one, I love it. The mix is very original and looks excellent. We'll give it a try for sure. thx


September 14, 2011

I am so happy to have found your site. I really enjoy your fearless approach to cooking


Jo-De Davis
September 14, 2011

I agree that your food presentations are always so beautiful, Heidi, but I love your serving dishes and flatware as well. Are these old family pieces or do you just collect them from sales and shops?


El Pasticcio
September 14, 2011

I've never seen the watermelon radish looks amazing on your salad!! And your pictures are beautiful as always!


Primordial Soup
September 14, 2011

One of your best pictures . . . I think you've found the cover for your third cookbook! The colors leap off the page and into one's mouth.

Gotta' go find me some watermelon radishes!


My Little Kitchen
September 14, 2011

I like it!

check my new blog:


Jen @ keepitsimplefoods
September 14, 2011

Love the use of watermelon radishes! I need to find some to try!


September 14, 2011

Had a bit of your leftover pizza dough sitting on cupboard next to a jar of your magic sauce and thought "why not?" The dough got rolled out pretty thin but it is magic sauce. Next thing you know - presto chango - awesome magic crackers.


Brendon @ Corporate Caterers
September 14, 2011

The Colours in this are spectacular. Going to have to find some watermelon radish. Enjoy your trip!


September 14, 2011

I made this tonight and thought it was good, but a little on the oily side. Next time I would reduce the amount of dressing, and add a little lemon juice and cayanne for extra kick.


Toni - Not Yet A Mommy Blog
September 14, 2011

I've never seen watermelon radish before! How interesting! It's so beautiful and really adds something special visually. Does it taste different to regular radish?


September 14, 2011

Heidi that looks gorgeous. I'm vacationing in SF early next month can't wait to find some great produce like this!


September 14, 2011

The salad looks delicious. I especially like the combination of fresh vegetable such as radish and avocado. Sounds like a nice idea including tortilla, I never had this, though it reminds me of fatoush salad, there, bread is included.


Kate Abbott
September 15, 2011

I have to say I fine the watermelon radish quite intriguing, never seen one before and it is such a beautiful colour too.


September 15, 2011

I already planned to go to Rancho Gordo today, so I'll add these beans to my list and this salad to our menu this week. This is my kind of food. I thought of you the other day when I made a frittata and wished I had some of your pepper sauce. I have to find the recipe--first book right?-- and make it this weekend!


September 15, 2011

It is lovely! I still have a batch of the magic sauce I made two days ago, now I have to play with the veggies I got on hand and my home made chips!


September 15, 2011

Great recipe! I always have a bag of somewhat stale tortilla chip pieces around because my husband refuses to throw them away. He likes them as a topping so I know he'd love this salad!


What beautiful colors in this salad Heidi. Makes it all the more appetizing in my book. ;)


September 15, 2011

I swapped out the watermelon radish and cauliflower with purple peppers, barely cooked broccoli and very little red radish. Was fantastic .

Heidi the thing I enjoy the most about your recipes is how the vegetables make the show. Thanks!


miss nutmeg
September 15, 2011

i love that photo!


September 15, 2011

I love this -- it's like a de-constructed taco! Or like the very best taco salad, in all-veggie form.

Also, I appreciate the spirit of the thing, from-the-pantry/seat-of-the-pants into something grand.

Have a wonderful trip, Heidi.


September 15, 2011

I opened this page and fell in love. What a stunning photo. Very inspired, thank you!


September 15, 2011

My jaw literally dropped when I saw the first photo - such beautiful colors! I want to make it just so I can stare at it all day :)


art and lemons
September 16, 2011

I'm sold on the pictures alone. But the salad, oh that salad, with the bruised color palate and blushing watermelon radishes. It's just stunning.


Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake
September 16, 2011

Probably THE prettiest salad I have ever seen. I want to try this!


September 16, 2011

Gorgeous colours, mmm! Just right for the transition from summer into autumn.


September 16, 2011

Hi There,
So, this is my first post here. But, I had to tell you about the new Harvard Healthy Eating Plate. Did you see it? It basically supports the recipes you so generously share with us. I recently purchased your two cookbooks. I love them! I've been cooking all kinds of healthy (mostly ethnic) food for years. I own over a hundred cookbooks too. But your cookbooks and this blog are special to me. Thanks for the inspiration to keep on eating healthy, delicious food! Oh and I LOVED the puddle cookie recipe from this blog! Can't wait to make some soda bread from your cookbook! Loved the egg salad recipe from your cookbook too, especially made with fresh eggs from the Farmers' Market here in Boston.


Alex Zorach
September 16, 2011

This is my type of salad; I love the rich colors and the fact that it is made of substantial ingredients, producing something that can actually be filling and have substantial nutritional value.


This American Bite
September 16, 2011

I am always wondering what to do with the rest of my tortilla chips - this is inspired, and the colors make this dish an elegant fall meal! Thanks for sharing.


September 16, 2011

Well, I didn't think you could come up with a salad that would trump your warm cabbage one but man, this is might be the contender! Because I am pregnant and need to feed my cravings asap, I made this salad as soon as I saw the recipe. Going off what we already had, I used white cauliflower and black beans, no radishes of any kind. It's still blowing my mind! That magic sauce is indeed magic and I found myself scraping the pan with some tortilla chips. Thank you!


Chili peppers
September 16, 2011

I should make this tomorrow. I'm going to a potluck and I wasn't too sure what to bring. Thanks for sharing & inspiration!!!


September 16, 2011

I didn't know where to post this so you would read it! I made your Special Zucchini Bread recipe since we'd overlooked 3 rather large zucchinis in our garden and it's already quite Fall-ish here. I was attracted to it since I love curry powder in anything. Just took the loaves out of the oven, cooled and ate a slice. Divine!


September 16, 2011

hi heidi,

my question pertains to an old post: Buttermilk Farro Salad Recipe. you mentioned changing this up a bit and using roasted tomatoes. i'd like to give it a try, but would like to know what you would change about the recipe if you substituted with roasted tomatoes. thanks!

HS: Just use your best judgement Stephanie - I like the idea of the combination of roasted tomato, buttermilk, basil/herbs, and farro. You could just leave it at that...I'm sure it'd be tasty.


little contessa
September 17, 2011

Hi Heidi!
What a beautiful salad. I've never seen purple cauliflower before. I'm a (total) novice at cooking and bought your new cookbook recently. I've tried a few recipes so far and they're phenomenal! The accompanying explanations are so helpful and it's written in such an easy-to-understand way. My fiancee and I are thoroughly enjoying experimenting with the new flavors.


September 17, 2011

Inspiration just oozes from you :)


September 18, 2011

absolutely stunning!!


September 18, 2011

This salad sounds and looks amazing. All these ingredients I absolutely love, but would not have thought to put them together like this. It almost looks too good to eat!


September 18, 2011

This looks too yummy for words.


September 19, 2011

So beautiful. Truly. The most artsy salad ever. Kudos.


September 19, 2011

I love bean salads - especially the colors and the textures. This looks fantastic. Magnific!


September 19, 2011

The watermelon radishes are gorgeous and I love all bean salads. This looks excellent!


ALEXIA @ NamasteYoga
September 19, 2011

I have been craving to find a new inspirational salad- and here it is! Will recreate it asap- thanks for making my day :)


September 19, 2011

I wanted to surprise my family last nigh and cooked your recipe. It turned out absolutely delicious. Everybody was soooo happy with the salad. Thanks a bunch.


September 21, 2011

I wish more people would wait to comment until they had actually prepared the dish that Heidi is isn't really helpful to read 90 reviews that say, "Looks so good..."


Sailu @ Indian Recipes
September 22, 2011

My favorite colors, ingredients and flavors.Gorgeous images and recipe.

I'd incorporate Indian flavors using paneer instead of feta, tortilla chips with roti (baked till crisp and lightly crushed), In the magic sauce recipe, I'd substitute rosemary and thyme with dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) and fresh coriander leaves. Love your innovative food ideas. :)


Nancy (guinnah)
September 26, 2011

We had this last night and loved it. I wasn't able to find a purple cauliflower and I had yellow corn tortilla chips so the visual wasn't as nice as Heidi's but the flavors were spot on.

@Beverly - I think comments on a blog are different than reviews on a site such as epicurious or something. It's nice to get feedback on what you've written even if a reader hasn't actually tried the dish. People feel more of a relationship (for lack of a better word) with blogs they read regularly so they are more inclined to leave an encouraging word. I try to come back and comment again after actually making the dish but see nothing wrong with giving a shout out to something that just *looks* amazing :-)

HS: Thanks Nancy :)


ivona poyntz
September 26, 2011

Irresistible: but I did add a few figs as well


September 26, 2011

Thanks to Nancy(guinnah) for your thoughts on blog comments.. I can see your point! I hope Heidi will keep making beautiful food that is so comment-worthy...


September 28, 2011

The dish itself is such a piece of art! Combined with the name of the salad, it's not too surprising that passersby would drop a curious peek . Thanks for sharing the simply yet convenient recipe!


September 28, 2011

loved this. used regular radishes and broccoli. and substituted sunflower seeds for pepitas. made dressing with olive oil, lemon, chilli powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt. thanks for this recipe. will definitely add to my repertoire.


I'm intrigued by the watermelon radishes. I've never had one or seen one before. Should I find them could I use them as a substitution for conventional radishes used in cooking or is the flavor profile too dramatically different?


How many calories are in
September 28, 2011

Wow, looks delicious!


September 29, 2011

This looks like a delicious dish. I am going to try and make this one tonight! I really believe Eating Healthy should be a way of life. Thank you.


flying vegan
October 1, 2011

This post has inspired me to make a Caribbean version using seasonal ingredients I picked up from the farmers market here in St.Lucia.
I'll be using black beans, green & red peppers, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado & plantain chips for some added crunch. It'll be a great way to beat the heat & spend less time in the kitchen.


October 5, 2011

I didn't even know there was such a thing as purple cauliflower, it makes it look more appetizing, and your dish looks delicious. I'll have to keep my eye out for some.


This salad is a work of art!


October 12, 2011

This is definitely getting put into my recipe box for a future potluck. It's sure to impress. Thanks!