Cooking: Easy Taco Salad

A picture posted by my cousin Jane was all it took to inspire me to try making taco salad at home.  But something I didn’t want to deal with was deep frying tortillas to make the taco bowls.  Not only does deep frying add a lot of fat (and, thus, heaviness) to the meal, but it is also more work than I want to deal with.  The key was finding an easier, lower fat way to make the taco bowls.

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After some searching on the internet, I found two techniques for baking taco bowls that sounded promising.  The first involved spraying a tortilla with cooking spray (Pam, Crisco, or another brand).  The second technique involved pouring a tablespoon or so of oil on top of about an inch of water in a large container such as a roasting tray and then dipping the tortillas into the water.  Regardless of which method you used, you then shaped the tortilla between two oven proof bowls and baked for about five minutes in a 400 F oven.  Ofter that, you remove from the bowls and bake the bowls another five minutes until crisp.

Both techniques work well, although if you are going to spray the tortilla you need to be careful about overdoing it.  It also works better if your tortillas are at room temperature or even zapped in the microwave for a few seconds before trying to shape them, otherwise they may crack or tear.  The flavor of the baked bowls was very enjoyable, albeit less oily than with the fried bowls.

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As for ingredients, you could use whatever suits your budget, sense of taste, and amount of prep time.  I used chopped romaine lettuce for a base, although mixing in some spinach or other greens would have been a nice alternative.

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To the lettuce I added chicken and beans.  The chicken had been marinated in a coconut chili sauce that I had handy, although simply sprinkling the chicken with some salt, pepper, and cumin and pan frying would have been fine, too.  For the beans, I drained a can of kidney beans (no black beans were available at the store), then cooked them for just a few minutes with some chopped onion and chopped red bell pepper. 

On top of the protein, I aded freshly boiled corn, chopped tomatoes, and some more red bell pepper.  For a dressing, I used homemade tomato salsa, although if it were the right season, some homemade mango salsa would have been spectacular.


Garnished with some shredded pepper jack cheese and sliced green onions, these taco salads made for a healthy and tasty treat.  Many thanks to Jane for inspiring me.



0 thoughts on “Cooking: Easy Taco Salad

  1. I think I know what I want for dinner… but we have plans and I’ll have to pick through the offerings searching for the low fat alternatives. *sigh* if I were at home for dinner all would be well.

  2. what a great way to make tortilla bowls! i should try that some time. we used to do taco salad when i was growing up, but my mom would buy the premade hard taco shells and we would just crack them into pieces and eat it that way (still good, but it certainly didn’t look as nice!).

  3. @awoolham – @ZSA_MD – and Lakakalo – Thanks for the recommendation.@kunhuo42 – As I embarked on this project, the thought crossed my mind, “Why not just buy some tortilla chips and put them in the bottom of the dish?”  Probably would have been an easy way to do it, although the bowls make for nice presentation.@elliefatani – @awoolham – Oh, do give it a try and let me know if you find a better way to do it.@The_Eyes_Of_A_Painter – Taste was quite good.  What I like about salads is that you can put most anything into them and customize them to your own preferences.@seedsower – @slmret – @hilabpartnerxD – Thank you for your kind words.@murisopsis – Tragically, when eating out in America, “low fat” and “tasty” rarely describe the same dish.  Yet here in Asia, it is very common to find healthy, tasty, low fat meals – and they often cost only a few dollars.  Honestly, that is one thing that makes me think twice about the possibility of moving back.@Fatcat723 – Certainly not my most original idea, huh?  But tasty! 

  4. very different taco salads and they look delicious better then the refried beans and chili powder we get here.  when i go to a mexican restuarant and order a taco salad i always tell them “no beans” not that i don’t like beans just that i know they use rosafita brand or some other canned beans that are full of lard.

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