Almost every Tuesday night we eat taco salad for dinner. I place a platter of chopped romaine tossed with sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, and cubed avocado in the centre of our dinged up dining table and surround it with small bowls of assorted toppings.
Sometimes it’s a clean-out-the-fridge kind of salad made from the leftovers lingering in the fridge, like half a red onion, some leftover chicken, and pickled jalapenos. Other times it’s a traditional taco salad, topped with a mixture of ground beef and black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and crunchy wholegrain tortilla chips. Better yet, once in a while I’ll deviate from both of those options and serve a taco salad that’s rather unconventional, but equally as delicious.
Lately, I’ve been changing the flavours of our traditional taco salad by adding twists to the ingredients list. The result is a fresh spin on a classic dish that keeps everyone interested in what’s being served while introducing new flavours and textures to the table.
I’ve created a Mediterranean-inspired salad, and another one that’s based on the French flavours I adore, and each one has been a hit with the whole family.
To make the salads, start with the following ingredients, using as much as needed to feed your family or group:
- chopped romaine
- sliced cucumber
- halved cherry tomatoes
- chopped avocado
Then, decide which variation you want to create and add the ingredients listed below to the base salad.
Taco Salad Served Many Ways…
Traditional Taco Salad:
- sliced green onions
- beef, black bean and corn taco filling (recipe below)
- shredded cheddar cheese
- tortilla chips
- sour cream
Mediterranean-Inspired Taco Salad:
- diced red onion
- black olives
- ground lamb and or chickpeas
- crumbled feta
- pita chips
French-Inspired Taco Salad:
- thinly sliced shallots
- leftover chicken, chopped
- green lentils
- broken crostini pieces
- crumbled goat cheese
Basic Beef, Black Bean & Corn Taco Filling
This simple beef taco filling recipe is perfect for stuffing into tacos or topping onto nachos, but in a pinch it also makes a Sloppy Joe-esque sandwich filling that everyone seems to love.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
- 2 tablespoons chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 8 tablespoons ketchup
Taco Filling Cooking Instructions:
- Warm the oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the beef to the pan and cook, breaking the meat up with the back of a wooden spoon. When the beef is browned, the excess moisture has cooked off and the meat is starting to get crispy bits, add the spices and ketchup to the pan. Stir to combine. Add the beans and corn and cook for another minute or so, or until the mixture has warmed through. Remove from the stove and serve.