A super easy, quick take on taco salad with a spicy jalapeno ranch dressing.
- 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup light olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (seeds in or out – your call!)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
For the salad:
- 2 romaine hearts
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup roasted corn
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, diced (or use guacamole!)
- Optional: sliced jalapeno, radish, cheddar or cojita cheese
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add ground beef and break up a little to get things started. Let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.
- Flip meat over in large sections and then using a wooden spoon begin to break meat down into small crumbles. (If using ground turkey, or another lean meat, go ahead and add a little oil at this stage.)
- Add garlic and spices and stir well. Reduce heat to medium and let meat cook, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
- Push meat aside to clear up a little space. Add oil to that space in the pan, along with the tomato paste. Using your spoon, begin to break up the paste and let it fry a little in the oil for 30 seconds before mixing it back in with the meat.
- Add stock or water, increase heat again to medium high and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until meat is fully cooked and some of the liquid evaporates.
- Make jalapeno ranch dressing.
- Make salad: To create a platter salad, arrange romaine leaves on one side of large platter. Pile on taco meat, roasted corn, cherry tomatoes, onion, avocado/guac and any other toppings you want! Add bowl of dressing on the side.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I, on average, eat a taco salad for dinner once a week. Sometimes I make it totally from scratch, but more often than not it’s a way to use up leftovers.
One of my favorite things to do is shred some leftover chicken up and quickly cook it with my house seasoning. It takes about five minutes, and then I have the perfect filling for tacos, rice bowls and….(you know where this is going)…taco salads!
I’ve listed out the specific spice measurements in the recipe here, but I highly suggest making a batch of taco-style seasoning to have on hand. Whether it’s my house seasoning, or another (google it – so many options!!), it makes weeknight cooking just a little easier.
If I don’t have chicken, ground beef or turkey is it and I think I actually prefer it with ground meat?! I think it just reminds me of the taco salads of our youth. You know, the ones in those delicious fried bowls!
This is obviously a slightly healthier version, but I will not be mad if you thrown this whole thing in a fried shell. Or or or! Maybe just scatter a bunch of tortilla chips on top. That works too!
Other key players here: Roasted corn (I always have a bag in my freezer from Trader Joe’s) and my jalapeno ranch dressing. Neither are 100% necessary, but I should tell you they are THE BEST.
I’m showing here in a platter just because I thought it might be fun for photos, and it’s a great way to serve a salad for company because everyone can admire the beauty before building their own bowl. But we all know about my love for a chopped salad, so obviously this all gets chopped up and thrown in a large bowl when I’m eating.
Make this tonight. Tomorrow. Forever.