Tacos aren’t just for Tuesday. It’s Cinco de Mayo!! Although I’m all the way up in Canada, and I am not even a little bit Mexican, I think this is such a fun holiday and really, a perfect excuse to enjoy delicious Mexican-inspired food (and drink) and have a little fun!
If you read my 10 Thoughts yesterday, you’ll know that I plan on concocting a queso dip tonight, but I think that might end up being a late night party food for us. I think this taco salad is a great dinner plan. It will go so well with that margarita I have in mind….
Let me give you some back-story on this taco salad.
A long, long time ago, I can still remember (anyone else singing along to American Pie?) my brother making this family favorite for us while my parents were away. It was delicious. BUT – he made SO much – and covered the whole thing in dressing. This salad is NOT good the next day if it’s been dressed up already. Think soggy lettuce…
Anyway, it turned into a “just one more bowl”, “come on we can’t waste it, just a little more” scenario and we all ate so much we thought we were going to be ill. Needless to say, I didn’t touch taco salad for a few years! Have you ever eaten so much of something you just don’t even want to think about it for a while? I’m sure we all have!
So, I’m happy to say that I’ve forgiven the taco salad (and my brother) and we’ve rekindled our relationship. The original salad uses crushed Doritos chips, which are DELICOUS, but if you’re trying to go a bit healthier and less processed, you can create your own seasoned tortilla strips. I’ll tell you how!
I use ground beef in this recipe, seasoned with cumin, cayenne and a mix of salsa and sour cream. Ground turkey or chicken would be equally delicious, or you can even go vegetarian and skip the meat altogether!
The salad itself is a blend of shredded romaine lettuce and an assortment of fresh veggies. Topping everything off is a homemade creamy Italian dressing. This dressing is SO good you guys. I put it on pretty much everything! Oh, and cheese. Do not forget the cheese!
I love to serve this salad in baked tortilla shells. Check out my tortilla pans – how cute are these!? I used jalapeno cheddar tortilla wraps for the bowls.
There you have it. Taco salad. And you can have it any day of the week, in about 20 minutes. De nada!
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Yield 6-8 servings
Tacos aren't just for Tuesday. Try this taco salad with ground beef, crisp lettuce and colorful vegetables topped with cheese! Perfect any day of the week.
Seasoned Tortilla Strips
- 4 small flour tortillas
- 2 tsp oil (grapeseed, canola or avocado)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Creamy Italian Dressing
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 small red onion
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb ground beef (sub ground turkey or chicken)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup purple cabbage
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- cilantro, avocado for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a large baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cut the tortillas into 1/2" strips and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil and toss to completely cover. Combine the seasonings and shake over the tortillas, tossing to thoroughly cover the strips. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and shake, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a salad dressing bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the meat until browned, breaking into smaller pieces as it cooks. Drain, return to pan and sprinkle the meat with the cumin and chili powder, cooking for an additional minute. Combine the salsa with the sour cream, then add to the meat, cooking for another minute or until the meat is covered in the mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, toss the chopped lettuce, diced tomato, bell pepper, carrot, celery and purple cabbage together. Add the cheese, browned meat and seasoned tortilla strips and toss together.
- Serve the salad on a plate or in a tortilla bowl, topping with the creamy Italian dressing*, avocado and cilantro.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered.
- To avoid soggy lettuce, do not add the dressing to the entire salad, but instead add it to the individual servings.
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