Friday, May 16, 2014

RECIPE: Taco Salad Six Ways

We’re big fans of Mexican food around our house—but when we go out for a meal, it tends to involve a whole lot of cheese, tortillas, chips and all sorts of other things that aren’t exactly Whole Life Challenge compliant (like, um, margaritas—rocks, salt please!). To satisfy most of those cravings at home (alas, no margaritas or cheese), I came up with a recipe that’s super easy to customize according to what each family member can have. The beauty of this is that you can adapt it to any Whole Life Challenge level, as well as make it Whole 30 compliant, Paleo, vegan/vegetarian and even kid-friendly. It also doesn’t require firing up the grill or turning on the oven—which is a welcome relief in the hundred-degree temperatures we’ve had here in the Los Angeles area lately. The recipe below is perfect for Advanced Whole Life Challenge players, but here are some variations:

Beginner level: Serve with compliant tortilla chips (on the side or layered into the salad)
Intermediate level: Serve with 1/2 cup of brown rice (on the side or layered into the salad)
Paleo and Whole 30: Omit the beans
Vegan/vegetarian: Omit the meat
Kids/Dairy-friendly diets: Serve with tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and/or sprinkled with some shredded cheese

See how versatile this is? Now, without further ado, is the advanced level Whole Life Challenge version:

RECIPE: Taco Salad
Serves 4
2 cups shredded lettuce (we like romaine)
15 oz. can of any type of beans (I use organic black beans)
1/2 cup homemade or store-bought pico de gallo (Trader Joe’s has a good, compliant one!)
For the taco meat:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. organic, grass-fed ground beef (I get ours at Trader Joe’s)
2-3 teaspoons garlic powder
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt, pepper and additional seasonings, to taste
For the guacamole:
2 small avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place olive oil and ground beef in a skillet and sauté over medium heat, sprinkling with seasonings, and cooking until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
2. Warm the beans in a small pot on the stove until heated through.
3. Prepare the guacamole by mixing all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
4. In wide, shallow bowls, assemble the taco salads, layering each with 1/2 cup lettuce, 1/2 cup drained beans, 4 oz. of ground beef, 1/4 cup guacamole and 2 tablespoons pico de gallo.

489 calories; 29.8 g fat (8.8 g saturated); 75 mg cholesterol; 859 mg sodium; 698 mg potassium; 28.9 g carbohydrates; 8.7 g fiber; 2.7 g sugar; 29.3 g protein; Vitamin A 66%; Vitamin C 41%; Calcium 10%; Iron 84%

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