When my family needs to whip up a last-minute dinner, or if we’re just having trouble deciding on something, taco salad is always our go-to meal. It’s so simple, fresh and versatile that everyone loves it! We even serve it up for casual dinners with friends. It takes no time at all to chop up and grate the fresh ingredients and then put them into individual bowls so that children are free to make their own salad creations. Quantities depend on how many you are feeding, but leftovers are great for lunch the next day, so make a bit extra. Start with the suggested ingredients and guidelines below and then have fun with it – make it your own!
What you will need:
Meat and/or protein – We use extra lean, ground turkey breast, ground beef, or simply black beans if we want a veggie dinner. Kidney beans work well too, but we prefer black. Use veggie ground round for those who like it.
Vegetables – Green lettuces work best, such as head lettuce or romaine. We also add in cooked corn, diced tomato, avocado and jalapeno peppers. Try pickled jalapenos for a mellower flavour that some children may enjoy. My kids load them on! Experiment with other vegetables such as cucumber, bell peppers and more. The key is to dice them up nice and small.
Tortilla chips – For the best flavour, choose organic, stone ground whole grain and gluten-free tortilla chips. Look for the tri-coloured ones to add some fun to your salad!
Cheese – We typically use cheddar because it’s always on hand, but Monterey Jack is great for authentic flavour. Non-dairy cheese is also another option.
Toppings – Hot sauce (my kids like Frank’s Red Hot because it’s not too hot!), sour cream or plain yoghurt, cilantro, sliced black olives and salsa. Try fresh guacamole on top instead of chopped avocado if you have it on hand.
How to put it together:
It’s quite self-explanatory and there are no hard and fast rules. Cook the meat in a frying pan and heat up beans in a small saucepan. In the meantime, place tortilla chips at the bottom of four shallow bowls and use your fingers to press down on them and break into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the chips and when the meat and beans are done, ladle a few scoops onto them (this will melt the cheese nicely). Next, start piling on your other ingredients; including corn, tomato, lettuce and peppers, then drizzle with hot sauce and tangy sour cream or yoghurt.
By Kristen Wint