July 23, 2013

Easy Weeknight Taco Salad

A bed of leafy greens topped with our favorite easy taco meat, other taco-like toppings, and cilantro lime dressing. This meal is on the table in 30 minutes or less, especially if you make the dressing ahead of time!

We are on a 5-week vacation currently (left last friday), so I apologize if my posts for the next five weeks are a little less wordy! I'm trying to maintain this blog while still on vacation and enjoy the time we have with family. 

This salad is one of my absolute favorites, especially for busy weekdays. We almost always have the ingredients on hand and, just like tacos, people can customize their own taco salad or you can just mix everything all together and serve. On really special occasions I like to make my own tortilla strips by cutting up tortillas with a cookie cutter and shallow frying them in canola oil until they are nice and crispy (sprinkle them with a little salt after frying).

Easy Weeknight Taco Salad

Recipe Source: © Amanda Jenks

2 heads green leaf lettuce, washed and dried then torn into bite size pieces
3-4 tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1 small can sliced olives, drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed *or black peans, or pinto beans, or chick peas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese *or pepper jack, or colby jack, or monterey jack cheese
1 recipe taco meat
1 recipe cilantro lime dressing (below)
crushed tortilla chips or store-bought tortilla strips 

Optional salad toppers: sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, diced avocado, thawed frozen corn, etc.

Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and kidney beans in a large salad bowl. I serve the taco meat, cheese, dressing and tortilla chips (plus any other optional toppers) on the side in individual bowls, that way people can customize their own salad just like they’d do with tacos!

Cilantro Lime Dressing 

Recipe Source: Kalyn's Kitchen

1 Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch packet, prepared according to package directions
4 small tomatillos, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

If you don't have the time, or don't want to make this dressing for the salad, we also love putting regular ranch dressing mixed with salsa on these salads. Works in a pinch!

Serves: 6
Calories: 356 w/o dressing, 470 w/ 2 TBSP dressing
Carbs: 29g (includes 2 TBSP dressing and 2 TBSP tortilla strips--- like the kind you find next to the croutons in most grocery stores)

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  2. I hope you have a fantastic vacation Amanda, and as long as you keep those delicious recipes coming we'll be happy! This Taco Salad looks amazing and I'm all over that dressing!

    Krista @ joyfulhealthyeats


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