Taco salad is easy to mock. Is it a salad? Isn’t it just a giant fried flour tortilla bowl full of calories? When Budweiser can sell beer by exploiting taco salad’s paradoxical nature in a very funny commercial, you know it probably isn’t that good for you.
But why can’t it be? Why not swap out the edible bowl for a just a few high-quality tortilla chips, and use really good, super lean grass-fed beef. Why not replace the iceberg lettuce (John Waters always calls iceberg lettuce the polyester of greens) with bright, crunchy, vitamin-packed Romaine? Why not throw in some organic cherry tomatoes? Just a sprinkling of good shredded cheese, the hormone-free stuff?
And forget the heavy Ranch dressing or giant scoop of sour cream. If your core ingredients are good, just a spritz of lime juice should do the trick.
1 pound of very lean ground beef
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 head of Romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch ribbons
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, diced
How to prepare:
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté them together until the onion is slightly softened, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the beef and the spices. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Adjust the seasoning. Turn off the heat and begin assembling the salad.
2. Make a bed of about a cup of lettuce in the bottoms of 4 good-sized individual salad bowls. Drain the beef if there seems to be a lot of oil or liquid in the bottom of the pan. Top each bed of lettuce with a scoop of ground beef, followed with the cheese, and then the diced tomatoes. Squeeze a lime wedge or two over the top. Serve with chips on the side.