What’s Taco Salad?

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Taco salad is a fun and healthy dish with a fried tortilla shell base and a variety of Mexican ingredients. Spiced ground beef, refried beans, salsa, and a variety of cheeses and toppings can be added. Dressings can be low-fat or spicy.

A taco salad is both a fun and healthy dish. It is prepared with a fried flour or corn tortilla shell as a base, then filled with your favorite salad and Mexican food ingredients. It can be made with a variety of ingredients to suit your preferences.

For those who eat meat, the spiced ground beef is prepared as you would a taco. The main spices are chili powder, cayenne pepper and cumin. A little grated chocolate adds a special authentic Mexican taste. These ingredients are sautéed in a “magic,” which is any blend of spices, cooked individually in oil within the same pan.

Once cooked, the sauces are swirled together to create the “magic”. Onions and garlic are usually included in taco salad meat. Some prefer to add tomato sauce to create a meat sauce. For those who don’t eat meat, there are varieties of ground vegetable meats available that serve the same purpose.

Separately, refried beans or pinto beans are prepared. Pinto beans should be cooked, mashed and fried plain or with your favorite Mexican spices. Pumpkin seeds (nugget) add a unique flavor and are roasted until they “pop”.

The tomatoes are made into a salsa consisting of chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lemon juice. Chopped lettuce, green onions, corn, jicama, olives, and Spanish rice are options to add to your taco salad. A variety of grated cheeses can be included.

Queso Blanco is similar to a Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella. Chihuahua is similar to mild cheddar, and cotija is comparable to strong Italian Parmesan. There are many other Mexican cheeses but out of these three, a taco salad will be complete.

The finishing touches are fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream and your choice of toppings. Avocado can be plain or made into a guacamole and used as a topping. Guacamole involves avocado, onions, chiles, salt, and lemon or limejuice.

The American and European versions of a taco salad often use ranch, blue cheese, oil and vinegar, or lemon-tahini dressings. There are some wonderful more authentic Mexican condiments, using combinations like pepitas and cilantro.

As with most salads, the dressing is usually responsible for most of the fat in the dish. If you prefer a low-fat dressing you can go with an olive oil and red wine vinegar or lemon dressing on your taco salad. With the spices involved in ground beef and refried beans, no additional spice is needed for this condiment.

In most cases, if you’ve spiced up your meat, bean, and rice ingredients, you’ll want to have a simple seasoning. If you have simple ingredients, a more colorful and spicy dressing will be preferred. A taco salad can be made finely chopped and layered or tossed in a medley of colors and textures.

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