I have a recipe for you today that is perfect for warmer days and busy week nights, and that’s taco salad. It’s loaded with crispy vegetables, perfectly seasoned groundbeef and classic taco toppings such as avocado, salsa and cilantro. It’s all of the flavors of a taco in healthy salad form and it’s easily customizable with all of your favorite ingredients. So feel free to swap things up and I’ll give you a few ideas in the article as well. But I think what makes this the best taco salad is the homemade taco seasoning and the homemade salsa. And I’ll show you how to make both of those, so let’s dive in.
We’ll start by making the homemade salsa first, so that all of the flavors have a little extra time to melt together. And trust me, once you make salsa at home, you’ll never buy it from the store again because it’s incredibly easy and much more flavorful. Just toss two cloves of garlic into your food processor along with half of an onion. And the food processor will do most of the work, so I just chop the onion into large chunks. Then, add one jalapeno or serrano pepper. And depending on how spicy you like it, you can remove the seeds for a more mild salsa or keep some of the seeds for a spicier salsa. And I just give this rough chop before adding it to the food processor as well. I also like to add the garlic,onion and jalapeno first because being closer to the blades means that they’ll get thoroughly chopped and you won’t have anylarge chunks of them in the final salsa. Next up is cilantro, and you’ll need about half a cup of leaves, though I rarely measure and just use about half of a regular bunch. When it comes to the tomatoes, the debate between fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes can go on forever, but in my opinion I think using canned tomatoes is best for the perfect restaurant style salsa because unlike Pico de Gallo, which is a chunky salsa,this style of salsa has a smoother consistency and texture. And if you buy fire roasted tomatoes, which I do recommend, you get much more layered depth of flavor than you would from fresh tomatoes. So drain two 14 ounce cans of tomatoes as we don’t want our salsa overly watery and add those to the food processor. To that you’ll add one 4 ounce can of green chilis, and you don’t need to drain this, so just add it on top. Then, squeeze half of a lime for a little zing and tanginess. And add half a teaspoon of salt. Add the lid to your food processor and pulse it in one 2-two second increments until it reaches your desired texture.
I like mine to have a little bit of chunkiness but if you like yours more liquidy, just blend it more. You’ll get about four cups of salsa out of this recipe and I stored in my Weck jars that are linked below and on my website. And also on my website, you’ll find storage tips for this salsa, so make sure to check that out. Of course I have to do a quick taste test just to make sure it’s perfect.
But let’s move on to the homemade taco seasoning because this is another recipe that I make all of the time and then store in my glass spice jars. It’s just one tablespoon of chili powder, one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of garlic powder, a half a teaspoon of paprika,a half a teaspoon of oregano, a half a teaspoon of salt, a half a teaspoon of black pepper, and a little pinch of cayenne pepper. Give that all a stir and you’ve got the best homemade taco seasoning that’s fresh and doesn’t have junky fillers like those store bought options. I’ve always got this spice blend on hand because as you guys have seen, I tend to make a lot of mexican inspired recipes like today’s taco salad.
So now that our salsa and seasonings are made, the rest comes together really fast. Just add one pound of ground beef to a pan on medium high heat and use a spatula to breakthis up and brown the meat. I’m using ground beef that’s 10% fat today so I don’t have any excess fat to drain off but if you do, just drain that off as it cooks. When the meat is about 80% done and there’s still some juices in the pan, Add two tablespoons of the taco seasoning and mix that together until it’s fully cooked.
The great thing about a taco salad is that it’s completely customizable, so feel free to add your favorite taco ingredients. I like black beans so I’ll drain and rinse those today but you could also use pinto beans or swap the beans for more veggies like chopped bell pepper. And the same applies to the cheese. I do eat a little bit of dairy and enjoy a small sprinkle of organic sharp cheddar but if you’re dairy-free you can leave this off. For the base of our taco salad, roughly chop up a largehead of Romaine lettuce. You could also use green leaf lettuce, ice berg lettuce or really any type of lettuce. And I’ve even used spinachin this recipe before. Next, slice in half or quarters a cup or so of grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. Then, set those aside. And then dice a red onion. You only need about a quarter cup of diced red onion. But when I’ve got half of an onion, I tend to just dice the whole thing so I only have to cry once. And then use the leftover in other recipes throughout the week. And lastly dice up one avocado because that creaminess I thinkis an essential ingredient on anything that has taco in the name. Then, all that’s left to do is assemble.
So add a handful of Romaine lettuce to a bowl. Top that with tomatoes and a few spoonfuls of black beans. Add a portion of warm taco meat. And you’ll be able to smell all of the wonderful spices. Sprinkle on a littlecheese, if you so choose, and red onion. And of course, a smallhandful of diced avocado. The finishing touches on this taco salad are the fresh salsa,a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice.
Though a drizzle of my recent lime crema recipe would also be delicious. And if you’re dairy-free, check out my cashew sourcream recipe on my website. A few leaves of cilantro top it off. And if you’d like to keep it super healthy, you can eat it just like this. But if you’d like to add a few corn or cassava flour tortilla chips, you can do that as well. This taco salad recipe is perfect for summer. The whole family will love it. And you can set up a buffet-style taco bar for even more fun. I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe. And if you did, hit that thumbs up. Share the recipe withyour family and friends. And I will see you again in the next video. (