July 23, 2010 by Dana
I LOVE Mexican food. I mean, really, what’s not to love? Any cuisine that features cheese, fried tortillas, cheese, beans, cheese, rice, cheese, sour cream, cheese, avocado, cheese, and a whole lotta spice, gets a big fat A+ in my book. (Did I mention the CHEESE??)
But, let’s face it, while absolutely delicious, those ingredients aren’t exactly good for you (or your waistline). Needless to say, as much as I would like to eat a nice big plate of enchiladas or tacos a few times a week, I don’t. So when the craving hits for a Mexican meal, but I don’t want to consume a whole day’s worth of fat and calories in one sitting, I make my “go to” Taco Salad.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Really, Dana? A salad? THAT’S supposed to fill me up when I want tacos?? Trust me. This salad is so big, flavorful and delicious, and uses such healthy and real ingredients, that it easily quells any Mexican food craving, and will leave you satisfied and guilt free.
1 lb very lean ground beef
2 cups fresh salsa
½ packet taco seasoning
1 large head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded (I cheated and used a bag of pre-shredded lettuce mix)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved (or 4 small tomatoes on the vine, diced)
½ cup reduced fat finely shredded cheddar cheese
8 Tablespoons fat free sour cream
If you prefer, you can always substitute ground chicken or turkey for the beef. In most dishes, I would too, but for this recipe, I prefer the ground beef. I buy the highest quality beef and rinse it thoroughly (see below) to remove any excess fat. There is so much flavor from the fresh tomatoes, salsa, taco seasoning, sour cream, and cheese that I don’t miss any of the fat from the beef.
1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef until no longer pink over medium heat, breaking meat into crumbles with a spatula. Once fully cooked, strain fat from beef in a pasta strainer. Run meat under warm water for one minute to remove excess fat. Return meat to skillet and return skillet to heat.
2. Add salsa and ½ packet of taco seasoning to meat and bring to a very low simmer. Cover.
3. Divide lettuce onto four plates or four wide, shallow bowls. Evenly sprinkle tomatoes over lettuce. Place a scoop of the meat mixture on top of lettuce/tomato mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top of meat, and top each plate with 2 tablespoons of sour cream.
Layering each component of the salad makes for a colorful and fun presentation. Use the freshest ingredients possible and you’ll love the combination of flavors and textures (the crunch of the iceberg lettuce is the perfect guilt free substitute for fried tortillas). Once served, I like to mix up the whole thing so I get a little bit of everything in each bite…. Yum! :)