Tostada Tower Salad

There’s a restaurant in St. Louis that is known for their Tostada Tower Salad. Every time we go to this restaurant, each person at the table orders the exact same thing. Menus aren’t even necessary because the diners are going to the restaurant with this salad, and only this salad, in mind. At $16 bucks a pop, several of my dining companions have commented that someone needs to learn how to make this infamous salad at home. After wanting to recreate the Tostada Tower Salad for months, I decided that with Cinco de Mayo only two days away, this was the right time. No, this salad is not authentic Mexican cuisine by any means, but the Southwestern inspirations make it appropriate for the upcoming holiday.

The Tostada Tower Salad layers lime white rice, black beans, crunchy tostada shells, tender diced chicken tossed in Chipotle BBQ sauce (I used this homemade Chipotle BBQ sauce), melted cheese, and a mound of cabbage tossed in a delicious Creamy Avocado dressing, which absolutely ties the whole dish together. With so many different elements and tasty components, it’s no wonder this salad is loved by so many. Although there are several steps to the recipe, it is not difficult to pull together. It just takes a little time to layer each salad and prepare each piece. I can guarantee you that once you taste the salad, you’ll want to make it again and again.

Have a great Cinco de Mayo!
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Tostada Tower Salad

Yield: 4 salads

Salad dressing source: Closet Cooking

What You Need

  • 1½ cup uncooked white rice
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1½ pounds chicken
  • ½ cup Chipotle BBQ sauce, or other favorite BBQ sauce flavor (can add more if you want it more saucy)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 store bought tostada shells
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can black beans
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • For the Creamy Avocado Dressing
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, plus 2 additional tablespoons for thinning
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

What To Do

  1. To make the dressing, place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. The dressing should be thick but spreadable. I added the 2 extra tablespoons of buttermilk to achieve my desired consistency. Once the dressing is made, store in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven 375 degrees. Place chicken in a baking dish and coat chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, or until no longer pink.
  3. While chicken is cooking, prepare rice according to package directions. When the rice is cooked, mix in juice from 1 lime and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.
  4. Chop cabbage and combine green and purple cabbage in a bowl. Toss with desired amount of prepared salad dressing and set aside.
  5. Drain black beans and place in a small sauce pan to heat.
  6. Once chicken is cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (don’t turn off the oven). Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Place chicken in a bowl and toss with BBQ sauce.
  7. Place the 8 tostada shells on a baking sheet. Distribute diced chicken evenly on top of each tostada shell. Top the chicken with 1/8 cup of shredded cheese. Place tostadas in the oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  8. While tostadas are in the oven, distribute lime rice and black beans evenly, spread on the bottom of a dinner plate.
  9. When tostadas are done and cheese has melted, remove from the oven and place 2 tostadas on top of one another on each plate.
  10. Using a tongs, top the tostadas with 1¼ cups of the cabbage mixture. The tostadas should be covered. Garnish the plate with sliced cherry tomatoes and cilantro, if desired.
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