Eating In: Taco Salad

The Boy and I periodically decide we are going to be healthy.

“We’re getting on the salad train,” we announce. “No stops for donuts! No stops for cheese platters!”

This usually lasts until the next time one of us is presented with the opportunity for a donut or a cheese platter, but hey – three days of healthy eating is better than none, right?

This awesome salad, courtesy of Shutterbean, is something we discovered while riding said healthy train – but it actually tastes really, really good. (Not that healthy food doesn’t, I just generally hate all salads because my lettuce repertoire is limited to spinach and, more recently, butter lettuce.) It’s easy, once everything is chopped, and fully customizable. It also can be made to look really, really pretty to impress other people. So what are we waiting for?

If you are one of those people who’s good at thinking ahead, you’ll start by chopping everything and having your mise-en-place all ready and feeling like a fancy French chef. If you’re me, you’ll start by making the dressing and then realizing how much you have to madly chop to get the salad ready. Dressing is made in the blender:

Then, once dressing is made and you’ve gotten everything chopped…you’re basically done. The only decision left is how to serve it. I opted for Shutterbean’s fancy-schmancy way to impress the Boy.

Sure, that might be a beer in the foreground. Sure, we might have added cheese. But hey, overall this is pretty healthy and very vegetable-filled. So modify to your liking and enjoy guilt-free!

Taco Salad
Adapted from Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean
This is mostly Tracy’s original recipe with a few to-taste and by-necessity substitutions. She used Chipotle Tabasco, I only had regular. She added red pepper, the Boy hates them. She made a vegan salad, I like cheese. But however you choose to make it – make it. You’ll feel good, and it’s not hard. And it even lived another day for leftovers (I dressed the portions individually).
Yield: 4 Servings
1 large avocado, pitted with flesh scooped from skin
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
8-10 dashes Tabasco
1 head butter lettuce, roughly chopped
1 ear corn, shucked & cut from the cob
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
2 green onions, chopped (both white and green parts)
1 jalapeño, thinly diced (seeds removed)
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
3-4 handfuls tortilla chips, for serving
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, for serving
1/2 cup shredded cheese, for serving (optional)
Combine all ingredients together and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add additional water, lime, and or hot sauce to taste. Transfer mixture to a jar and keep chilled until use.

Toss lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, jalapeño, and radishes with enough avocado dressing to fully coat the mixture.  Fold in chopped avocado and divide salad between 4 large bowls. Serve with a handful of crushed tortilla chips in each bowl and top with cheese and additional chopped cilantro for garnish.

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