Mexican Chopped Salad with Queso de Freir, Chayote Squash & Citrus Vinaigrette

Mexican Chopped Salad

with Queso de Freir, Chayote Squash & Citrus Vinaigrette

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Chayote squash, though often associated with Central American, Caribbean and Filipino cuisines, is actually native to Mexico. It’s a gourd, closely related to cucumbers and melons. Known for its mild flavor and crisp texture, raw chayote makes a great addition to salads. In this hearty dish, we’re pairing its fresh crunch with queso de freir, a unique cheese that holds its shape even at high temperatures (making it ideal for searing). These, along with toasted tortilla strips, red quinoa, radishes and two kinds of greens, create a unique, hearty salad with incredible flavor.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    570 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Mexican Chopped Salad with Queso de Freir, Chayote Squash & Citrus Vinaigrette
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the quinoa:
1 Cook the quinoa:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the quinoa; cook 18 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the quinoa cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Stack the tortillas; cut in half, then into strips. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Quarter the lime. Pit, peel and slice the avocado; toss with the juice of 1 lemon wedge and season with salt and pepper. Halve the squash; remove and discard the seed. Cut the squash into ¼-inch-thick sticks; toss with the juice of 1 lemon wedge and season with salt and pepper. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; separate the leaves. Thinly slice the radishes. Cut the cheese into 4 equal-sized slices.

Toast the tortilla strips:
3 Toast the tortilla strips:

While the quinoa continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the tortilla strips. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper to taste. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the cheese:
4 Cook the cheese:

While the quinoa continues to cook, season the cheese slices on both sides with half the spice blend. In the same pan used to toast the tortilla strips, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned cheese slices and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place.

Make the dressing:
5 Make the dressing:

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining spice blend, the juice of all 4 lime wedges and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined.

Finish & plate your dish:
6 Finish & plate your dish:

In a large bowl, combine the radishes, arugula, avocado, squash, lettuce (tearing the leaves just before adding), toasted tortilla strips and cooked quinoa; season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the dressing to coat the salad (you may have extra dressing); gently toss to coat. Halve the cooked cheese slices on an angle. Divide the cooked cheese and finished salad between 2 dishes. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the quinoa:
1 Cook the quinoa:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the quinoa; cook 18 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the quinoa cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Stack the tortillas; cut in half, then into strips. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Quarter the lime. Pit, peel and slice the avocado; toss with the juice of 1 lemon wedge and season with salt and pepper. Halve the squash; remove and discard the seed. Cut the squash into ¼-inch-thick sticks; toss with the juice of 1 lemon wedge and season with salt and pepper. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; separate the leaves. Thinly slice the radishes. Cut the cheese into 4 equal-sized slices.

Toast the tortilla strips:
3 Toast the tortilla strips:

While the quinoa continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the tortilla strips. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper to taste. Wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the cheese:

While the quinoa continues to cook, season the cheese slices on both sides with half the spice blend. In the same pan used to toast the tortilla strips, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned cheese slices and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook the cheese:
Make the dressing:
5 Make the dressing:

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining spice blend, the juice of all 4 lime wedges and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined.

6 Finish & plate your dish:

In a large bowl, combine the radishes, arugula, avocado, squash, lettuce (tearing the leaves just before adding), toasted tortilla strips and cooked quinoa; season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the dressing to coat the salad (you may have extra dressing); gently toss to coat. Halve the cooked cheese slices on an angle. Divide the cooked cheese and finished salad between 2 dishes. Enjoy!

Finish & plate your dish:
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