One thing I love about summer is serving dinner salads!! They are easy, healthy, affordable, delicious, and don’t require me to heat up the house by using the oven or stove. One of our favorites is taco salad. This is a great way to use leftover ingredients from tacos or burritos. I sometimes include taco meat or my all-purpose chicken (to be posted at a later time). But because I always use beans and corn, this salad provides a complete protein even without meat.
I almost always use romaine for salad. I buy it at Costco where I can get six hearts of romaine for $2.89. Since my house is so busy, I usually tear and wash more lettuce than I need so I have it on hand, ready to use. I simply tear the lettuce into the colander, rinse it off, shake off excess water, and store it in a zip-top bag or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. The key to keeping the lettuce from going bad is to soak up any extra water. I always place a paper towel or two in the bag before placing it in the refrigerator. If I notice that the towels are soaked, I replace them.
If you have young children, you can’t serve tacos or taco salad without olives. For salad, they are best sliced, but I find slicing olives to be a tedious task since they are so small. You can buy canned sliced olives, but they are much more costly than whole olives. My super-duper trick? I use my egg slicer! I can slice four to five olives at one time.
One great thing about salads is that they are easy to tailor to your preference. The following recipe is how I made it last week. Next time I make it, it will be slightly different. For example, I used an orange bell pepper from our garden. Next time there won’t be any left. And there aren’t any quantities because it’s up to you.
Romaine, washed and torn
Tomatoes, diced (same as for potatoes)
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips, crushed
Taco Salad Dressing (recipe follows)
Other optional ingredients:
Bell pepper, diced
Place a bed of romaine on each plate. Top with desired toppings and dressing.
Taco Salad Dressing
½ c. sour cream
¼ c. ranch dressing
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients until well-combined.