Sunday, June 2, 2013

Healthy Taco Salad

My mom used to make a version of this every week when we were growing up, we always loved taco night as kids! Now I make it for my family, but I have made it a bit healthier and use some unique ingredients. My husband loves when I make taco salad, he asks for it frequently. I usually chop up lots of veggies, lay out sour cream, different veggie or fruit salsas, lots of sharp cheddar cheese and some wonderful organic corn chips. We pile everything onto a bed of lettuce and use the corn chips to scoop it all up, its absolutely wonderful and so incredibly easy. I do not buy pre-made taco seasoning, it doesn't have nearly the flavor of homemade and its filled with tons of preservatives that I just don't want. I just mix up a big batch of homemade seasoning and save it in a small jar for all my Texmex foods and recipes. You can use any combination of veggies that are in season and you can chop them raw or saute them...anything goes! Set it all out and let your family make up their own taco salads! I like making the tacos on a salad and just scooping with chips that way you get way more veggies and a lot less fried shell, I assure you that you won't miss the shell at all! I find that my shell breaks after just one bite and all my filling falls out anyway...that's just annoying.

This recipe makes about 4 servings.


For Meat

1lb Ground, pasture raised, dark turkey meat
1 Large onion, chopped.
3 Cloves organic garlic, minced or grated.
1 Can organic green chiles, I use La Preferida, fresh jalapeno can be substituted, chopped, ribs & seeds removed.
3 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning, (See recipe at the end)
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste about tsp each.
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice, the juice of about 1 lime.
Olive oil, for cooking.

For Beans

1 Can organic, black beans, do not drain.
1 Tbsp butter or Earth balance
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste.
1/4 Cup Goya frozen sofrito, my grocery store has this in the freezer section, you can substitute 2 Tbsp of the homemade taco seasoning for this (See recipe at the end)

For Salad

1/2 Cup green olives, chopped.
1 Cup pasture raised sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, I used Cabot.
2 Avocados, sliced.
1 Cup organic grape tomatoes, chopped in half
4 Cups organic lettuce, I use baby lettuce so it doesn't need to be chopped.
Your favorite organic tomato salsa or hot sauce, I use Jojo's siracha.
Corn salsa, I use Trader Joe's, regular canned corn can be substituted, I like a little pop of sweet.
Pasture raised sour cream, I use Cabot, all profits go right back to the farmers.
Yogurt ranch dressing, to drizzle over each salad, I use Bolthouse Farms.
2 Limes, sliced in half.
Organic tortilla chips, I use Bearitos yellow corn chips, they are the best bagged chips I have ever had.


In a large cast iron or heavy bottom saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft, stirring frequently to prevent burning or browning. Add in ground turkey and chop up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add in more olive oil if your pan seems dry. Cook till the turkey is browned and cooked through. Add in the taco seasoning, chiles and lime juice, scrape the bottom to remove the bits (this is where the flavor is). Stir and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and cover.

While the meat is cooking, heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add in beans, liquid and sofrito or taco seasoning. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until the beans break down slightly and are hot all the way through. Add in salt and pepper at the end, do not salt them right away or the beans will get tough while cooking. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. This thickens the beans and gives them a rich, "cooked all day" flavor.

While the beans and meat cook assemble your taco bar by placing all ingredients in small bowls with spoons for serving. I like to layer my salad so that each  bite of salad has a little of everything. I serve the chips on the side for scooping.

To serve, place meat and beans on your bed of salad, top with sour cream, drizzle of dressing and extra veggies. Squirt with your favorite hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

Homemade Taco Seasoning
3 Tbsp organic chili powder
3 Tbsp organic ground cumin
3 Tbsp organic garlic powder
3 Tbsp organic onion powder
3 Tbsp organic dried oregano
1 Tbsp organic ground red pepper or cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

Mix all together and store, for up to a year, in an air tight container or canning jar. This also seasons ribs, chicken, soups or stews beautifully.

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