10-minute taco salad, aka weeknights

GLUTEN-FREE | CAN BE VEGETARIAN* | CAN BE PALEO/WHOLE30**

My approach to cooking is very different on weekdays vs. weekends. On weekends, I love taking my time, dirtying a stupid amount of pots and pans, continuously delaying dinner with my whimsy.

During the week, by the time I get home from work I’m usually already a little hungry. I nibble on something to last me through my 6pm workout (like a banana or a rice cake with hummus), but I usually want to eat as soon as I get back from the gym. Unfortunately, the logistics of this are quite difficult. If I don’t have a dinner already prepped, it’s a mad scramble to put something together that isn’t a sandwich or scrambled eggs. Hanger is dangerous, people. The hungrier I am, the less I seem to be able to think of a decently healthy dinner solution, and the closer I am to ordering a pizza.

This quick-as-hell taco salad is a perfect solution to that weekday hanger. This recipe is for ground beef, but you can use whatever meat you have. For this recipe, you simply chop up an onion, brown some meat, add some spices, and throw it all in a bowl with lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and other toppings of choice. It’s quick, easy, flavorful, healthy, and requires very little effort.

This recipe makes 2 healthy-sized salads. If you’re cooking for 1, pack the other half of the recipe in your lunchbox the next day! Just be sure to keep all the ingredients separate so nothing gets soggy.

Of course, this recipe calls for a homemade taco seasoning that will require a minute or two to mix together. I forbid you from using any spice mix that comes in a packet. Mix your own spices and avoid eating weird preservatives. You might have to buy a spice or two, but you’ll save money and expand your culinary possibilities in the long run.

VEGETARIAN VARIATION*

If you don’t eat meat, you can make the same dish with tofu in place of the ground beef. Skip the straining step and add the spices when you add the tofu to the sautéed onions. The spices and onion will flavor the tofu beautifully.

SHRIMP VARIATION (PICTURED)

Pescetarians can make this salad with shrimp. I like to marinate shrimp for about 20 minutes in a mixture of lime juice, olive oil, and chopped cilantro, and then sautee it in a hot pan in a little butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

YOU’LL NEED

INGREDIENTS

  • grass-fed butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 2-3 tbsp. taco seasoning mix (use this recipe)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 cups spring mix, spinach, or chopped romaine
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream ** (not for paleo/whole30)
  • sea salt
Toppings:
  • salsa of choice
  • whole milk yogurt** (not for paleo/whole30)
  • pickled or fresh chopped jalapeños
  • organic tortilla chips** (not for paleo/whole30)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. As always, start by prepping your ingredients. In this case: dice your onion, slice your cherry tomatoes, slice your avocado.
  2. Heat grass-fed butter or olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and sautee until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Add beef to the pan, breaking it up with a spatula, stirring around constantly. When the meat is brown, dump it all in the strainer and strain out the liquid.
  5. Put it back in the pan, stirring in the taco seasoning. Add salt as needed.
  6. Assemble your salad and enjoy! Tortilla chips optional.

 

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