With the start of the new year comes the inevitable new year’s resolution of “I’ll eat healthier”! I think we’ve all been there in some form or another, right? For me, this year was no exception as I sheepishly realized that I don’t eat nearly enough salad greens. Sure, there’s always a box of mixed greens in my fridge, but when was the last time a salad was dinner’s main attraction and not the opening act or side show? In a moment of clarity, I realized a problem…I personally find most salads to be boring.
Yes, there it is…I said it. B-O-R-I-N-G. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good salad, but that’s just it, in my experience a good salad usually entails lots of work or exotic ingredients. But…what about a creative pairing? Would that work? Wondering if perhaps I had stumbled upon an epiphany I set about to experiment. And really guys, that’s exactly how this recipe came about…through a random experiment spawned from an even more random thought that popped into my head.
Creative genius? Maybe? To be fair, a portion of the credit has to go to my fridge and its bounty of leftovers. The night before, I had made tacos for Mai and had some leftover taco meat. While foraging for ingredients to make a creative pairing, it hit me, why not a taco salad? Not a cheese laden, more like a dip than a salad, taco salad, but a real bona fide greens salad with a taco flair? As soon as I thought it, I knew I had myself a winner.
So I sprinkled a little bit of taco meat on a bed of salad greens, garnished with tomatoes, roasted corn, onions, tomatoes, some crumbled tortilla chips for texture, and concocted a vinaigrette made of taco sauce. Guys, this was a true moment of serendipity. Really. It was tasty, far from boring, pretty healthy, and the best part, it’s QUICK. In as much time as it will take you to brown up some ground meat, add taco seasoning, and simmer, you can get the rest of the ingredients ready. Better yet, I learned that you can brown up a pound of ground turkey, keep it in the fridge, and make a fresh taco salad every night of the work week for a quick and healthy dinner.
As envisioned by TastyDesu
1 pound ground meat (I prefer ground turkey for lower fat content, but feel free to use what you like)
1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1 small onion, minced, reserve 1-2 tablespoons for salad garnish
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
For taco sauce vinaigrette:
1/4 cup taco sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (you may find you like more as I did)
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Over medium high heat, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute onions until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add in meat and continue sauteing until browned. Add in taco seasonings and finish preparing according to packet directions. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Using a shallow baking pan, roast corn under broiler for about 5 minutes, or until corn is golden brown. Remove and set aside. In a serving dish, start building your salad, starting with the salad greens, then a portion of the prepared taco meat, corn, tomatoes, and reserved onions. Sprinkle with cheese if using (honestly, the first time I made this I used cheese…in the many subsequent times that I’ve had this, I’ve forgotten the cheese and I really don’t miss it at all).
Prepare vinaigrette by stirring taco sauce, honey, and vinegar together in a small bowl until incorporated. If the vinaigrette looks a little too thick, you can add more vinegar to thin it out. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stirring quickly, slowly add in olive oil and keep stirring till oil is fully incorporated into vinaigrette. Drizzle over salad. Take a few tortilla chips and crumble a few over the top of the salad. Enjoy!
Liz note: Regarding the vinaigrette, the first few times I made this salad, I made this vinaigrette and I loved it. However, I tried this salad topped with salsa instead of the vinaigrette and I find that I personally like it better with the salsa. I recommend trying the salad both ways and deciding yourself which way better suits your taste 🙂