Chicken Tostada Salad

One little perk of blogging about food is the many cookbooks that arrive on my doorstep. I heard Todd and Diane had photographed a new cookbook, so I couldn’t wait to flip through and take a look. Big Bowl of Love by Chrisina Farrare is full of great down-home classics like Chicken Piccata, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Classic Roast Beef, and Blackberry Cobbler. The easy-to-find ingredients complement her easy-to-follow methods. Todd and Diane Cu worked their usual magic and nearly every other page inspires with a gorgeous full-page photograph.

Pete and I had the rare opportunity of dinner at home without the kids a few weeks ago. A quiet house, a good salad and a few beers made for an enjoyable evening. I decided to cook one of the recipes from Big Bowl of Love and we were both amazed at the flavors. A spicy black bean salad with tender greens, guacamole, and salsa sat on top of a crunchy tortilla. The black bean salad is great alone as a dip with chips, put into quesadillas, or eaten by itself. It was the perfect springtime meal to enjoy as the sun set – just the two of us.

Chicken Tostada Salad

Serving Size: Serves 6

Chicken Tostada Salad

Reprinted from Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love © 2011 by Cristina Ferrare. Permission granted from Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.



  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Bean Salsa:
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced small

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced small

  • 2 celery ribs, diced small

  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Assembly:

  • 6 (8-inch) gluten-free or grain-free tortillas

  • 2 cups salsa

  • 2 cups guacamole

  • 6 cups baby arugula or baby greens

  • 3 cups chopped chicken breast

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

  • 6 lime wedges

  • 8 fresh cilantro sprigs

  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush tortillas on both sides with olive oil. Place them in the oven on the rack and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To make the lemon dressing, in a glass bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt, and mix well. Set aside.

Make the tomato salsa and guacamole. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

To make bean salsa, in a bowl, combine the beans, red and yellow peppers, celery, scallions, jalapeno, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt an dpepper to taste and cilantro. Mix well. If you have the time, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour; it will bring out the many layers of flavors. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.

When you are ready to serve, drizzle 3 tablespoons of lemon dressing over the arugula or baby greens and mix well. Place on tortilla on each plate. Spread 2 tablespoons of guacamole over each tortilla. Add 1/2 cup of bean salsa toward the middle of the tortilla. Add 1 cup of arugula or greens over the bean salsa. Top with 1/2 cup chopped chicken, as much of the tomato salsa as you like and 2 tablespoons of Monterey jack (more if desired). Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and diced jalapeno. Serve with lime wedges.

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  1. Ann

    Carrie! Glad to see a -what I call- Summertime recipe. We made pasta the other day and served it hot. I discovered that eating hot food in hot weather is NOT fun. So this cool recipe on a hot day will be perfect. I’m so glad for your Facebook feed. It’s the best way to keep up your blogging :)

  2. I have been a fan of Christina Ferrare’s since she was on the morning show with Steve Edwards in the 80’s! This salad looks amazing and I am sure the photographs make you want to eat the pages! Lucky for you and Pete – life gets in the way sometimes and these stolen few hours with one another makes all the difference in the world for our relationships!

  3. Shelly

    I love Chrisinas show “Big bowl of Love” on the OWN network. Has she been renewed for another season? Excited about her cookbook! Thrilled to see you made one of her delicious recipes! Thanks!

  4. Budoh

    I am so thrilled I found your site via Helene at Tartlette. I became a facebook friend immediately :) Congratulations on all the wonderful things coming your way. Thank you for the giveaway!


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