Make Tacubaya’s Ensalada Primavera at home

Ensalada Primavera is topped with sliced avocado and roasted pepitas. Photo: Tacubaya

In July, Berkeley’s popular 15-year-old restaurant Tacubaya moved to a new location — a larger space just two doors away. It was a good decision for the taqueria; the new digs are a lot more spacious and inviting inside, with a large bar as a great centerpiece that ties the light-filled, bright pink space together. But the move itself wouldn’t have been successful if Tacubaya hadn’t already been well known and loved by area diners. Its fans and hungry Fourth Street shoppers head to Tacubaya for its flavorful takes on Mexican fare, many which highlight the best and freshest produce available.

Tacubaya, July 2018, Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

One of Tacubaya’s freshest dishes is one of its simplest — its Ensalada Primavera, a salad of mixed greens and cabbbage topped with rich avocado and savory roasted pepitas, or pumpkin seeds and dressed with a bright lemony vinaigrette.

Tacubaya owner Dona Savitsky wanted to share this recipe with Nosh readers to make at home. Although it’s called a spring salad, this recipe can be enjoyed all year long. And as peak avocado season comes to a close and pumpkin season fast approaches, this just might be the best time.

Ensalada Primavera

Serves 4


Salad Base

8 oz organic mixed greens
4 tbsp thinly sliced red onions  (after slicing, put onions in a little lemon juice to macerate)
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (put seeds in a dry saucepan and toast on medium-low until lightly browned)
1-2  sliced ripe avocado

Lemon Vinaigrette

4 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp  kosher salt
1 pinch of ground black pepper
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
3/4 cup of pure olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil) or a mild tasting oil like grapeseed or canola*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put first six vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Whisk in the oils.

Taste and adjust. You might need to add more salt, lemon or oil.


To mix and assemble salad, place greens, onions and cabbage in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, 4-5 tbsp of lemon vinaigrette and toss until leaves are coated.

Divide into 4 bowls. Place sliced avocado on top and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over salad.

There will be extra vinaigrette left over; save and use within a couple days.

* Savitsky explained that the oil needs to be cut or mixed as a full cup of extra virgin olive oil is too bitter.