Have you ever walked into your kitchen and been legitimately surprised at what you have in there? It happens to me occasionally, and I think I’m going to chalk that up to my (and Mike’s) penchant for impulse buying at the grocery store. However, it is not all bad. Sometimes I look in our pantry and recipes just kind of pop into my head. That is what happened with these taco salads. They were born out of necessity to eat something quick and healthy after a long day at work.
It’s so easy to get caught up in being tired after a long day and just pick something up. And by something, I mean something likely processed, deep fried and completely horrible for you. It’s all too easy. That’s why I like finding happy surprises like salsa and black beans in my house. That’s the start of a meal if you approach it the right way. And my version of the taco salad is about a billion times better for you than what you’d get at your local fast food joint. You’re welcome. Also, Mike and I didn’t miss meat while eating these. The rice and beans give them a really hearty feel.
Veggie Taco Salads
Serves 4 (perfect for dinner for 2 and 2 leftover lunches)
¾ dry cup white rice
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tspn dried oregano
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup prepared salsa (we love the Jack’s brand from Costco)
2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups crumbled tortilla chips
Cook your rice in 1 ½ cups of boiling water for 15-20 minutes. This step can be done ahead, keeping the cooked rice in your fridge and then when you put the salads together it’s even quicker.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and corn, and cook for about 5 minutes. When the onion is starting to brown, add the tomato, rice, beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano and mix well to combine. Cook this mixture, stirring frequently for about 5 more minutes. Then take it off the heat and let it cool down.
Toss the shredded lettuce in a large bowl and mix in the bean mixture, salsa, cilantro and cheese. Place the crumbled chips on serving plates or bowls, and top with the salad. Add a small sprinkle of the cheese on top and enjoy! We both ended up adding a little extra salsa as well. Or you could get fancy, and bake up some little tortillas so they look like mini tostada shells. So cute!
To make the taco shells, turn a cupcake pan upside down, spray your tortillas with Pam, and then wiggle them into the spaces between the cups on the pan. Bake for 15ish minutes at 350 to get them crispy! Super fun and cute way to serve this for a bunch of people!