Sometimes, we learn new things from unlikely places. For instance, one of my kid's favorite menus at her school cafeteria is walking tacos. I'd never heard of them before and images of tacos growing legs and wandering around made me wonder what they were feeding the kids. However, she quickly explained that traditional taco ingredients get added to individual bags of corn chips and presto!, you've got a pretty portable lunch, although actual walking with the walking tacos is discouraged in the cafeteria. So, inspired by the combination of taco stuff and corn chips, I decided to make my own version of taco salad:
Now, this salad doesn't get tossed into chip bags and there are fewer chips than healthy veggies in this meal, but that doesn't stop my daughter from digging in with an enthusiasm that's quite impressive. I thought about adding tomatoes to this recipe, too, but I think they are best kept for late summer when they are at their peak. In the meantime, sweet peppers, smooth avocado, and tender chicken get a flavor infusion with a spicy dressing and some crunchy sliced green onions.
This salad really is a meal on its own, but you could easily add fresh fruit or breadsticks on the side. For me? I like the idea of a margarita or a glass of frosty lemonade. Pick what makes you happy … I mean, other than a delicious meal that can be on the table in about a half hour!
- 1 T. cooking fat of your choice (I used bacon fat)
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 tsp. taco seasoning or your favorite southwestern seasoning (I used Penzeys southwest seasoning)
- 10 oz. torn romaine lettuce
- 8 oz. mixed sweet mini-peppers, sliced into thin rings
- 1/3 c. corn kernels
- 2 green onions, sliced into thin rings
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 3/4 c. corn chips, lightly crushed
- 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. lime juice
- 1-3 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (use more for a spicier salad)
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 T. mayonnaise
Heat the cooking fat in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breast to the pan and immediately sprinkle with half of the southwestern seasoning of your choice. Allow the chicken to cook, untouched, for 4 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and sprinkle the other side with the remaining southwestern seasoning. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the skillet and continue cooking until the meat is fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Toss the next 6 ingredients (lettuce through crushed corn chips) together in a large bowl. Combine the next 6 ingredients (olive oil through mayonnaise) in a small resealable jar and shake vigorously to combine. Add the chicken and the dressing to the large bowl and toss well to evenly coat the salad in the dressing. Serve immediately.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes