Taco Salad (with a twist)

I am very excited to share this recipe with you! The traditional taco salad from my childhood was a pot-luck staple and contained large amounts of crushed chips (Fritos/Doritos). My memory recalls it also had an uneven meat to vegetable ratio. I remember it as a heavy dish, but delicious all the same. This is my twist on a taco salad that contains fresh ingredients and a lighter profile overall. It can be prepared in a flash (around 20 minutes) and hits all the flavor and texture notes that we love in taco salads.

I took this recipe up a notch by adding an edible tortilla bowl. It is a fun twist that looks impressive…but is really easy to prepare. You can purchase kits to help you make tortilla bowls in the grocery store, but as they bake they give off an oily sheen that, all of a sudden, doesn’t seem so appetizing anymore. Plus, you need to put something special in your grocery cart. I bet you already have tortillas in your refrigerator or pantry….for this recipe that is all you need!

Another goal of mine with this recipe is to reverse the reputation that Mexican food has to be heavy, greasy, and cheese laden. This is just not true; when you make it at home it can contain a variety of fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and satisfying beans. The toppings can be whatever you choose: lettuce, cheese, fresh tomatoes, sliced avocados, green onions, spicy jalapenos, black olives, you name it (be creative)! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do…who wouldn’t love a dinner they can have to the table in 20 minutes?!

Ingredients

  • 1 tortilla per person (I use flour tortillas)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz lean ground beef, turkey, chicken, or meatless crumbles
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c. frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
  • 2 c. salad greens
  • 1 c. chopped tomato
  • 1 c. reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 avocado, diced and sprinkled with juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salsa

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a cereal bowl with tin foil and put upside down on a baking dish. Place tortilla over the bowl so it will droop once you place it in the oven. I also make tortilla bowls by balling up some tin foil on a baking sheet and placing the tortilla over the tin foil so it droops; use whichever method you would like (they both turn out fabulous). Bake 8-10 minutes until the tortilla is golden brown and crispy.

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Remove from oven and let cool slightly before filling.

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Preheat a large skillet and add oil, onion, green pepper, and meat/soy crumbles. Saute until veggies are tender; add corn kernels and black beans. Once meat/veggies are cooked sprinkle in the oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Your filling is done! Place toppings in individual bowls at the table. Place a tortilla bowl on a plate and spoon in the delicious filling. Load on your toppings and enjoy!!

Note: I am proud to say this received a “WOW” from my husband at the dinner the other night, can’t ask for better than that : )

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