Don’t read this and think. “Oh sure, she’s eating a salad again,” because here’s the cold, hard truth.
I also seem to have a sudden affection for all things made with dough: biscuits, dumplings, pasta.
And then there’s the baking. I don’t bake! Now I’m baking.
I blame the pandemic, but it’s probably related to emotional eating, or boredom, or the fact I’m buying stuff I don’t normally buy.
So I’m working to offset that by having some healthy meals, and salads are among my favourites.
I’ll share with you another one I love, a taco salad with an edible bowl. This one came together with inspiration from three sources: fresh veggies from our local garden company, Food For Thought Farms; edible salad bowls similar to the ones the chef at our golf clubhouse makes (oh, how I miss his cooking); and a dressing recipe from the former cook at the course. Yes, we are spoiled in our little corner of the world.
You can modify this one as you like, using chicken instead of ground beef, or skipping the meat all together for a meatless Monday meal. You can cook the ground beef with packaged taco seasoning (when I do, I use half the amount as I’m not crazy about too much of it). Or, you can add your own spices and seasonings.
You can decide whether to the make the edible bowls – these were really good, although not as good as Jake’s deep fried ones! Nothing is as good as deep fried, but it’s important to have somewhat healthy alternatives.
And, you can make the dressing yourself, or use bottled Kraft Russian dressing to save time.
Here’s how I made it, with these portions being suitable for 4 people. Adjust as necessary. Leftovers are great!
First, make a salad:
- 1 head of lettuce
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 3-4 green onions
- 2 peppers (red or yellow are best), cut into chunks
- cucumber (optional; you can add whatever vegetables you like, such as mushrooms or celery)
Then prepare the toppings:
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef, browned, drained and cooled (feel free to cook this with Taco seasoning if you like, or mix in chopped onions, jalapeños and your own spice mix. Or simply cook the beef).
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- several Doritos spicy nacho cheese chips, broken into pieces
- jalapenos (fresh or jarred), chopped up (these are good to keep separate from the salad so people can adjust the heat to their liking)
Once everything is ready, each person can individually serve the salad into bowls (see below for instructions on making an edible bowl). Top with the meat, beans, cheese and jalapenos.
Garnish with sour cream, salsa, and avocados if available. Note: in these pictures, I forgot the kidney beans (can’t even follow my own recipe!) and I didn’t have any avocados on hand.
Then serve with this dressing:
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar
Mix well. This makes quite a bit, so feel free to make half of it for 2 people, or bottle it for another day.
And if you really want to get fancy, make edible salad bowls ahead of time for serving the salad – they are delicious to munch on with the salad.
Edible taco salad bowls:
Heat oven to 375F.
Put 3/4 cup water in a pie plate, along with a tsp of olive oil. Select an oven-safe bowl that matches the size of your tortilla shells. You can use the bottom of a muffin tin, but you’ll need really small shells for that.
Once the oven is heated, spray your oven-safe Pyrex bowl with cooking spray, dip a tortilla shell in the water, and push into the bowl until the shell takes the shape of the bowl. Crimp the edges. Add seasoning inside the shell if you like, such as chili powder, cumin and seasoning salt.
Bake the bowl and shell about 5-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden – keep an eye on it to prevent burning. If you want to brown the bottom a little more, carefully take the bowl out and turn it over, and take the shell out and place it on the bottom of the bowl. This helps the entire bowl to brown, but you don’t have to do this step. Bake 5 minutes or so longer, once again watching it carefully to prevent burning.
Take it out of the oven and out of the bowl to cool, and proceed to make enough bowls for the gang. Let the bowls cool before making your salad.
I hope you enjoy this healthy alternative, switched in with other decadents delights.