Monday, October 7, 2013

Taco Salad

Some say that having salad for dinner feels like a bit of a rip off. But when that salad is loaded with sweet corn, protein-packed beans, creamy cheddar cheese, help me...crunchy, salty tortilla chips, well, then salad for dinner seems okay after all. You might even be able to convince naysayers that they're eating nachos for dinner.

There are several components to this salad. Pick and choose what you want to use depending on what's stocked in your kitchen and how much time you have. Let's review the options, shall we?

Steak: If you have a carnivore on your hands, by all means, add steak to your salad. Sprinkle the meat with some chili powder and get your husband/wife/significant other to grill it while you prepare everything else.

Dressing: I took a few extra minutes to stir together a homemade dressing to drizzle on top of our salads. The husband was crazy for it. That said, if you get home late from work, pull out a bottle of Ranch. Everyone loves Ranch.

Salad: Use what you have in your fridge or what's on sale at your market. Swap out Romaine for iceberg or mixed greens. Choose your family's favorite veggies; tomatoes, red pepper, and corn are simply our recommendations. If your avocado is still rock hard on the counter, skip it. My only hard and fast rule? Don't forget the tortilla chips.

Taco Salad
Inspired by Greens & Chocolate
Makes 2 gigantic salads

8 ounces sirloin steak
Chili powder

2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lowfat mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Salt to taste

1 small head Romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 ear cooked corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed)
Tortilla chips

Start by making the steak. Preheat grill (or grill pan) to medium high. Season steak generously with salt and chili powder and rub seasoning into the meat. Grill steak until it's as done as you like, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Cover steak with aluminum foil and allow to rest while you prepare the rest of the salad. Slice very thinly before serving.

Next prepare the dressing. Stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, cilantro, chili powder, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.

When it's time to build the salad, you can get creative. If you really like tortilla chips, you can start by creating a bed of tortilla chips and piling everything on top. If you're less of a chip-lover, crumble the tortilla chips over the top like croutons. Just pile everything onto your plate and drizzle with a generous amount of dressing.

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