Fiesta Taco Salad, anyone?

Fiesta Taco Salad, anyone?


Happy Cinco de Mayo! And Happy Graduation week to all of our USC family celebrating the occasion. Congratulations graduates!

It has been a very busy week here at Columbia’s Cooking. In case you missed it, Columbia’s Cooking was on Making it Grow this past Tuesday, and it was so much fun! I got to prepare my recipe for an easy Fiesta Taco Salad (perfect for Cinco de Mayo) and homemade Lime Cashew Cream.

This is one of my favorite on-the-go recipes because it is SO simple to throw together, and most of the ingredients you likely already have on hand. AND it’s perfect for a party or cookout because the colors from the fresh ingredients make for a beautiful presentation. Combined with the quick assembly time, you can’t go wrong.


Scroll down to find the recipe, then…

Give the recipe a try and let us know how you liked it!

Any fiesta recipes you’d like to share, please do!


Here’s a picture of Casey on the set of Making it Grow with the finished product.



For more pictures and comments from the show, visit the Columbia’s Cooking Facebook page here.


Fiesta Taco Salad

By: Casey McCurry, www.

Yield: 3 servings

This salad comes together in minutes and is perfect for serving at a cookout or party (all the colors make for a beautiful dish!), and can be easily assembled for a quick packed lunch. The best part of the recipe is that you can use whatever you have on hand and adjust quantities to your preference. Win-win!



  • 9 cups dark leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, cabbage or a mixture)
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (about ½ cup dried)
  • 1 ½ cups salsa
  • 1 ripe avocado (you’ll use half)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons cashew cream (recipe below)


  1. Place your greens in a large serving bowl.
  2. Add black beans, corn and quinoa.
  3. Using a butter knife, cut your avocado in half, cutting around the pit in the center. Set aside one half to be used later. Using the butter knife, make a grid pattern in the flesh of the avocado, then scoop out with a spoon.
  4. Add the salsa and avocado to the salad.
  5. Top with cashew cream and parsley. Enjoy!


Note: I like serving the salad as a layered dish (as directed above) for a nice presentation, but you can toss the salad after step 2, then serve with salsa, cream and avocado on top.

Serving size: 3 cups greens, ½ cup black beans, ½ cup corn, ½ cup quinoa, ½ cup salsa, 2 tablespoons avocado, 2 tablespoons cashew cream


Lime Cashew Cream

Adapted from

Yield: 2 cups

This Lime Cashew Cream is perfect for a topping on any Mexican or Southwestern style dish. The apple cider vinegar and fresh lime juice (you could even add more!) provide just the right amount of “tang.” Add in chives or cilantro for a bit of color. Enjoy!



  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked in water
  • ¾ cup water (use the water from soaked cashews)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or for a few hours if you have the time. For a quick soak method, pour hot water over the cashews and let soak for one hour. Drain cashews, reserving ¾ cup water.
  2. Place drained cashews in a blender.
  3. Add reserved water, lime juice, vinegar and salt. Blend until super smooth, about one minute, scraping the sides of the blender to make sure your mixture is well-blended.
  4. Transfer the cream to an airtight container and chill. The cream will keep in the refrigerator for one week.



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