¡Taco ‘Bout a Great Salad!

I’m always looking for fun new things to try obviously. I’m always looking to experiment in the kitchen with new tricks and techniques. Even if things don’t turn out as planned, for me half (ok most) the fun is in the “trying.” For many women, crafting or sewing or DIYing brings them fulfillment. All of these things are fun for me, but I get the most fulfillment from experimenting in the kitchen. Big shocker there, I know. Martha Stewart, I am not. Betty Crocker on the otherhand…

Spring has officially arrived and everyone I know is ready for some extended days of free vitamin D. Summers in Texas can be beautiful yet brutal, so we all live for Spring weather… however brief we may enjoy it. Part of this is enjoying more greenery on our plates! Greenery is great, but no one wants a salad for 75% of all their meals. That’s why this taco salad was so brilliant!

I was inspired by a recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook to not just add a little extra fresh veg to our plates, but still make dinner interesting. Not only was it jam-packed with flavor and color, it added a great dose of fresh produce and excitement to an otherwise mundane weeknight meal with fresh fried tortilla bowls! On a side note, since I’ve been going gluten free, I found that the delicious Siete almond flour tortillas I found worked just as well as flour tortillas!

Ingredients:
4 tortillas (store-bought taco bowls may be substituted)
Thousand Island dressing
1/2lb lean ground beef
1/3c beef broth
1/2tbsp chili powder
1/4tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (reserve the can)
3c chopped Romaine lettuce
2c chopped red cabbage
1c shredded Mexican-style cheese
1/3c sliced black olives
1 med tomato, chopped
1/4c chopped onion
1 med avocado, peeled & sliced
sour cream
vegetable oil

Instructions:
1) Remove the label from the kidney bean can and wash thoroughly. In a 1-1/2qt saucepan, heat 1-1/2in of vegetable oil to 375°. Place one tortilla over the mouth of the saucepan and using the bean can (you might want to hold it with tongs!), gently press the can down the center of the tortilla into the hot oil and hold in place for 10sec until the form is set. Remove the can and allow the tortilla to continue to fry for 1min longer until golden. Remove tortilla to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and proceed with the next tortilla until all are finished.

2) While the tortilla bowls are cooling, cook ground beef over medium heat for 8min. Stir in beef broth, chili powder, salt, garlic, crushed red pepper, and beans. Heat to boiling then reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10min and turn off heat.

3) While the beef mixture is cooling, mix lettuce, cabbage, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and onion. Toss with 1/4c of dressing. Line a bowl with one taco bowl. Fill with lettuce mixture. Top with ground beef mixture. Finish with avocado and sour cream and enjoy!

Any of these ingredients can be swapped out for another. Don’t feel like Thousand Island? Ranch would work well! Ground turkey can be swapped in for ground beef. Pinto beans can be used for black. Are you over Ramaine lettuce? Red or green leaf works great too! Don’t want cabbage? Just double your lettuce and cut the cabbage. Don’t have shredded Mexican cheese? Shredded Cheddar is equally delicious. (The Mr doesn’t like olives so I left those out for topping.) Enjoy it how you like it!

What are some of your favorite taco ingredients that you would use in this dish?

Currently Reading: Good Housekeeping Magazine, May 2017 issue

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