My Personal Favorite: Quick, Easy, Flavorful – Taco Salad
One of my go-to meals for family or having friends over for dinner is a taco salad bar. Not only is it quick and easy to prepare, but it’s also filled with flavor. At Lemond Nutrition, we always talk about making a “Power Plate” to balance your nutrition and fuel your body. A balanced, power plate should have a minimum of three out of the five food groups (protein, grain, fruit, veggie, and dairy). Building a taco salad typically includes 3-food groups: Protein, dairy, and veggies.
Another bonus about building a taco salad is that all of these ingredients can be prepped ahead of time and kept in the fridge for a few days for aquick taco salad option, or for use in other meals. All veggies can be pre-cut, and it doesn’t really take much time. Tomatoes can continue to marinate for a couple of days in the lemon or lime juice with salt and pepper. Meat can be browned ahead of time, and both the beans and meat are easily reheated on the stove top or in the microwave.
BUT – the unspoken ingredient within this favorite dish is FLAVOR! Taco Salads are filled with flavor. When planning out meals, many make the mistake and don’t remember to intentionally or mindfully incorporate and add flavor. A little trick about maximizing flavor is to add flavor with each step or layer of food -- don’t wait until the meal is assembled and then just top with flavor.
Regardless of how you build your taco salad, it will be packed with nutrition to fuel your body and flavor to satisfy your tastebuds.
Mix and Match Taco Salad
No Measure Ingredients – Just Mix and Match, YOUR CHOICE
Ground or cubed meat (beef/steak, chicken, turkey, or shrimp) – season your meat while cooking; I typically use a prepacked taco seasoning or a Southwest Seasoning Blend
Lettuce Mix, your choice
Black or Pinto Beans (whole or mashed) – can also add some Taco or Southwest Seasoning while heating up.
Sour Cream (or pureed Cottage Cheese, or plain yogurt for alternatives)
Corn – take a couple of extra minutes and roast in a saucepan with a little oil, salt & pepper. Roast until slightly charred, takes about 5-minutes more vs. just adding as is.
Tortillas, Chips, or taco shells
Tomatoes – marinate with a little lemon/lime juice, salt & pepper to taste while meat is browning.
Cilantro – for flavor and garnishing
Onions – always flavorful.
Choice of Peppers: Bell, Poblano, and/or Jalapeños
Salsa, Tabasco, or Siracha – can mix in with avocado, sour cream, or sour cream alternatives
Taco/Mexican Seasoning – can mix in with meats, avocado, sour cream, or sour cream alternatives
Lemon or lime juice – squeeze or sprinkle on the any or all veggies & avocado
Salt & Pepper to taste – I like to use on the tomatoes & avocados
- Stack the above ingredients in whatever way you like! I personally layer the lettuce as my base, then my meat choice and build from there. What is your favorite combination?
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