This easy Taco Salad recipe combines ripe tomatoes and avocados with spicy beef, cheese, tortilla chips and other fixin's to make a festive meal in itself or even a great picnic food idea.
Plus, I'll tell you How to Make Tortilla Bowls, the perfect, eye-catching vehicle for taco salad, nachos or dips. Baked or fried, you can make tortilla bowls with props you have at home. But there are some nifty kitchen tools you can purchase that make the job a snap.
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 small head lettuce
2 chopped tomatoes
2 chopped ripe avocados
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
1 (12-ounce) bag tortilla chips, slightly crushed*
Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain all but about 3 tablespoons of the grease and stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the onions. Set aside.
Tear or chop the lettuce into salad size pieces and place in a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, avocados, and cheese and toss.
Pour the beef mixture in while still warm and toss.
Add the tortilla chips and toss again. *You can skip the chips if you are making tortilla bowls for the salad.
Serve at room temperature, as is, or if you prefer, top with your favorite dressing, salsa or sour cream.
Guests always mmmmm over taco salad but they oooooh over tortilla bowls.
Baked Tortilla Bowls:
Preheat your oven to 375°. Warm 8" or 10" flour tortillas in the microwave for a few seconds. Lightly coat both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Drape them over inverted, oven-proof canning jars or small bowls. Don't try to press them down; you want that wavy look. Place the jars on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then remove them from the jars.
You can purchase tortilla bowl molds inexpensively. Not only is this the quickest, safest and easiest way to go, but the tortilla bowls are uniform and stackable. Great look.
Fried Tortilla Bowls:
Heat vegetable oil to 375° in a deep fryer or pot. (Small and deep is perfect.) Gently press corn or flour tortillas into the hot oil with a metal ladle, or better, a tortilla bowl frying basket to get the wavy look. Yep, the tortilla goes under, not in, the basket or ladle. The hot oil forces the tortilla up around the mold, forming a bowl. When the bowl is golden brown and crisp, 30 to 90 seconds usually, carefully remove the bowl with tongs and drain on paper toweling. Repeat as necessary.