Ok, this is not a fancy new recipe for taco salad. It doesn’t feature spectacular new ingredients, or a taco sauce that takes 14 ingredients, special equipment, and an hour to prepare. The meat is plain old ground beef, chicken, or turkey, and the toppings are just what you would expect if you ordered taco salad at any of your favorite restaurants.
What this recipe for Taco Salad does feature however, is an oven baked tortilla base, taco meat that is perfectly seasoned with dried herbs, spices, and ingredients that you should already have in your pantry, and a two ingredient taco sauce that is refreshingly light and delicious. And because you season the meat yourself; no more buying those expensive little packets of taco seasoning mix that contain unnecessary ingredients like too much salt and sugar that you wouldn’t even want your childhood nemesis to ingest, much less your family!
Oh, and did I mention that this salad is stinkin’ easy to prepare? Probably not! I get so excited about the ingredients and flavor of a dish sometimes that I forget to tell you about the ease of preparation. I also sometimes fail to mention that certain parts of the recipe, the taco meat and the taco sauce in this case, can be prepared ahead of time and sequestered on a shelf in your refrigerator.
So no matter how you want to look at this dish, as an easy to prepare one dish weekday meal, as an inexpensive one dish weekday meal, or as a delicious one dish weekday meal, you’re covered. (I’ve always got your back; don’t you ever forget it!)
- 4 small (7½-inch) or 2 large (10-inch) flour tortillas
- vegetable cooking spray
- taco sauce (see recipe below)
- taco meat (see recipe below)
- chopped romaine lettuce (as much or as little as you want)
- any of the following toppings for your salad:
- diced tomatoes
- halved black olives
- diced avocado
- diced yellow, white, red, or green onion
- grated sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Cotija cheese
- canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- canned corn, drained and rinsed
- anything else that strikes your fancy
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 4 oven-proof bowls or for larger tortillas, 2 6-inch cake pans on a large rimmed baking sheet. Warm the tortillas in your microwave for 20 seconds or until pliable. Spray both sides with cooking spray, then drape over the bowls (smaller tortillas) or nest the larger tortillas inside the cake pans. Bake until the tortillas are crisp and just starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (Watch them carefully the last few minutes.) Set aside.
Meanwhile prepare the Taco Sauce and the Taco Meat (recipes below).
When ready to serve, place a taco shell on a large plate. Scatter lettuce in and around the shell. Scoop some of the taco meat into the shell and surround with your toppings of choice. Serve with taco sauce.
- 1 c. (8-oz.) sour cream
- ½ c. salsa verde – I use Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley Salsa (which BTW contains no preservatives or ingredients that can’t be pronounced) when I’m feeling lazy. When I have time and inclination, I prepare the Salsa Verde recipe on this site.)
Whisk ingredients together, cover, and store in the refrigerator until needed.
- vegetable cooking spray
- 1 lb. ground beef, chicken, or turkey
- 2 T. dehydrated onion
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano (Mexican oregano if possible)
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- ½ tsp. seasoned salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T. tomato paste
- ½ c. water
Spray a non-stick fry pan with cooking spray. Add the ground beef and cook slowly until the meat is just about brown. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a high simmer, reduce heat, and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.