Last week was chocolate cake , this week it’s salad. Gotta keep the balance, right? I would not call myself a person that loves salads, but I make this here taco salad once a week. Probably because it’s ready in no time at all and ridiculously easy to assemble – exactly what I want on a weeknight. Oh, and it’s colorful, crunchy, and delicious.
For this weeknight dinner, there are very few rules. You can pile on all of the toppings you want, or just what happens to be in the fridge that night. Half of the time I make the taco salad without ground beef and use more black beans instead. (One less step.) I actually developed a habit of keeping a can of black beans in the pantry at all times, so this meal is ready to go any time.
Of the few rules for this recipe, I have found through many, many tastings that: 1) Don’t skip the chips. They add a necessary crunch to the salad. 2) The sour cream mixes into the salad much better if you add it when the meat and beans are warm. 3) Avocado never keeps well. So commit to using a whole one, or skip it. Unless you happen to have a great refrigerator avocado-saving trick, in which case I’m all ears.
Also, let’s discuss the spice mix. I’m not a big fan of buying pre-packaged spice mixes from the store. Everything I need to flavor the ingredients is right in my spice cupboard already, without any added preservatives. If I make the salad without the ground beef, I add the spices into the simmering black beans instead.
Similar to nowadays, taco night happened once a week when I was growing up. My siblings were such picky eaters, so we stuck to pretty basic meals on rotation. I definitely had nothing to do with that. Nope. I find it amusing that so many years later I still love my taco night. Once I figure out how to make a giant fried tortilla bowl like in the restaurant, I’ll let you know. For now, I sometimes just eat the salad out of the huge metal bowl that all of the ingredients are tossed together in. Nothing fancy here, just a solid, satisfying weeknight meal.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 15-oz. can black beans
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 3-4 tbsp sour cream
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 2 green onions, diced
- 1-2 cups loosely broken tortilla chips
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced
- ½ cup shredded cheese (Cotija or Monterey Jack)
- Lime juice, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Mix together the chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and pepper in a small bowl. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break up with a spoon. Sprinkle the beef with the spice mixture, stirring well to coat. Cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, heat the black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and drain the liquid from the beans.
- To assemble the salad, place the mixed greens in a large bowl. Add the desired amount of ground beef and black beans. Stir in the sour cream. Add the remaining ingredients, adjusting amounts to taste. Serve immediately.
- This will make extra ground beef and beans that you can use for leftovers, yay!
- If you do not use ground beef, you can add the spices to the black beans as they simmer, omitting the salt.