Taco Salad with Homemade Taco Dressing and Side Pepper Salad

As I mentioned earlier this week it has been quite warm for March/April for Northern Virginia.  Because of that I’ve been in the mood to use the grill and have summer salads for dinner!  I know!  Summer isn’t anywhere close, but I’m so ready for the warm weather!  Just having the front door open, breezes in the window, hearing the birds chirp and the warm sidewalk under bear toes!  Hmmm!!!  The joys of spring and summer!
I grew up eating taco salad as a kid all the time!  It was a great part of summer and was always a huge hit for family and lots of friends.  The tomatoes would still be warm from the garden, meat warm from cooking and the rest would be cool and crisp!  Mom used to put Catalina dressing on it and Dorito chips mixed in.  Yes, that does bring back some memories and no wonder why any kid would like salad if there were Doritos and a sugar based dressing! 😉
I’ve since modified what I remember, but still enjoy every bite!  Mom did start making her own dressing, which still had a lot of sugar in it, but that too had to be changed!  Sometimes if Dad was working in the kitchen he would make salad bowls out of the flour tortillas and toast them just like you’d get in a Mexican restaurant!

Here is our new healthier version, but still tasty, and loved by our family and friends!

Ingredients:
Salad greens – Romaine, Red leaf, Spring Greens, Spinach, whatever sounds good
1lb ground beef
Cumin
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 onion chopped
1-2 Tomoatos depending on size
Handful of black or green olives
Salsa
1 bunch of cilantro chopped

Instructions
1. Brown the meat.  Add about 1 TBSP Cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  
2. Saute garlic and ½ of onions in drippings from cooking meat.
3. After garlic and onion are soft, mix with meat and keep warm.
4. Chop tomatoes, olives and cilantro.
5. Build salad or put ingredients into separate bowls and serve to people to build their own salads at the table.

Salad Dressing
Mix together all ingredients and shake well.  Serve over the salad.

½ cup oil (I usually use olive.  I think the coconut flavor is too strong with coconut oil)
½ cup fermented ketchup
½ cup vinegar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
½ grated onion
1 clove garlic grated

Salad Variations:

  • Since we are doing more paleo options we no longer do the cheese or kidney beans on it, but they do taste great!  Use probably about ½ cup dried kidney beans and ½ – 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream is also yummy on top.  We sometimes use…
  • SIDE PEPPER SALAD: Can also chop 1-2 red, yellow or orange peppers and then coat in homemade Italian dressing.  Can serve on the side or can also put them on the salad or as a small side.

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