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Taco Salad My Way

 

I love Taco Salads. But I tend not to order them when I eat out. First of all they are way too expensive for the ingredients used. I mean, talk about a rip off. Two, they are simply dripping in fat.

So I wondered if I could come up with a taco salad even a little less fatty and a little less expensive and still be tasty and delicious too. This is what I came  up with years ago.

Don’t get me wrong!! I am not saying this meal is a healthy meal. What I am saying is that if you desire the taste of a good Taco Salad, this one has less fat than any restaurant Taco Salad. And it is tasty too.  And since I use far more lettuce and tomatoes than you get at any restaurant it will fill you up longer too.

Taco Salad My Way
This is what you will need for 2 large (dinner) salads or 3 small (lunch) salads:

1 pound ground chuck

1 package taco seasonings

1 head Romaine lettuce

1-2 tomatoes

3-5 green onions

½ can sliced black olives

4 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons sour cream

14 tortilla chips

1 avocado (optional)

Here is what you do:

Slice the lettuce into very thin strips; as thin as you can make them.

I like to use Romaine rather than iceberg lettuce simply because iceberg lettuce  has few if any nutrients. Romaine is tastier and has far more nutrients. Plus it has a wonderful deep green to yellow green color that looks pretty.

Chop the tomatoes and green onions. I don’t normally use Roma tomatoes, but the regular tomatoes at the store looked terrible. So I bought some Roma tomatoes that looked better.

Observant readers will have noted that I forgot the olives in the ingredients picture above. My brain needs a memory upgrade! What can I say? I rectify that oversight here. So now that is done…..

Drain about 2-3 tablespoons of the olives and set aside.

Sauté the ground chuck over high heat. I keep the chuck in one huge piece…..

…….. until it browns really, really well. Then flip the beef over……..

………..and continue cooking until well browned on the other side. You really want to sear the chuck and even let it burn in a few places. This will give the chuck a really rich, rich flavor in this salad.

Then break the chuck up and lower the heat and cook until it is done. Do you see the really charred pieces of beef in the picture. That is what you want. Drain off the fat.

Now add the taco seasonings and cook according to package directions. If you have  a recipe and the time you can make your own taco seasoning.

 While the meat is finishing cooking begin building  your salad.  Place the lettuce in one corner of a plate.

If you are using the avocado cut it in half and then slice each half into three pieces. Squeeze some lemon juice over it to keep it from browning. Place to the side of the lettuce.

Avocado is not usually an ingredient in Taco Salad, but I like them and they are a healthy veggie so I often use them with my salad.

Add the tomatoes, green onions, and black olives. You can see from the pictures that there is far more lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, and black olives  in this salad than any you are likely to find in any restaurant. 

Sometimes I have seen only a tablespoon or two of tomatoes, not even 1 whole sliced green onion, and only 3 or 4 slices of black olives. At least that has been my experience.

Add the cheese. Observant readers will see some white cheese on top of the Cheddar. I had some Swiss cheese in the fridge I needed to use up so  at the last minute and spur-of-the-moment I decided to add a bit of that too. It is how I operate and cook. Looks pretty though doesn’t it? A nice contrast. 

Now add some of the meat mixture to the side of the lettuce. I like my meat to the side of my lettuce rather than on top because it keeps the lettuce from wilting and getting greasy. What can I say??  Even as a child I was a picky eater. Guess I still am!!

You will also notice there is a lot more meat mixture on this plate than in any taco salad I have ever had in a restaurant. I always want to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

Now add the tortilla chips off to one side of the plate, and last, top the salad with a tablespoon of sour cream. Doesn’t that look super yummy?  

LESS FAT AND FEWER CALORIES

And, it really is fewer calories and therefore somewhat healthier than a restaurant version.

One, I do not use a taco salad shell. The average taco salad shell is 280 calories with 144 calories from fat.

7 tortilla chips (1 serving size according to the package Nutrition Label.) is only 140 calories with 60 from fat. Already I have 140 fewer calories and 84 fewer calories from fat.

I also drain the fat from the ground chuck and I have no idea if restaurants do that or not. I ‘kinda think not. So there may be less fat from that ingredient as well.

Also, I do not use refried beans. That is at least another 100 calories and 33 fat calories that are not in Taco Salad My Way.

There are other things you can add to the salad to make it your own. When I have left over carrots in the fridge I grate some of those on the lettuce. I have even chopped up radishes if I have some in the fridge. Not traditional, but I don’t like to waste food. And it is Taco Salad My Way, so there you have it.

If you like hot you can chop some jalapeños and add to the salad. Many people like some sort of salsa on their Taco Salad, so add that if you like. Make your own Taco Salad Your Way.

Ain’t cooking fun?

Cost

1 pound ground chuck                       $2.41              

1 package taco seasonings                $0.99

1 head Romaine lettuce                     $0.62

1-2 tomatoes                                    $0.46

3-5 green onions                               $0.55

½ can sliced black olives                   $0.65

4 tablespoons cheddar cheese           $0.84

2 tablespoons sour cream                  $0.17

14 tortilla chips                                 $1.14

Total Cost for 2 = $7.83
Cost per person = $3.92 
Fast food/Taco Bell one taco salad runs around $4.99 + tax; sit down restaurant $5.99 to $8.50 at an average moderate restaurant. 
1 avocado (optional)        $1.57 
Total cost for 2 with avocado = $9.40
Cost per person with avocado = $4.70

Taco Salad My Way is still the better bargain with more of each ingredient on top of it. And, I also use the avocado. In fact, you could make this salad with strips of real steak and it would still be a much better bargain than eating out.

And,  AND  best of all there is less fat and fewer calories!!!!

Ain’t cooking grand !!! ??? !!!! 

Bon Appetit!!!!

Quote of the Day: Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?  ~Author Unknown

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