Sunday, April 28, 2013

Original Recipe - Tex Mex Salad

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When I was a kid in the 70's, we always had some recipe making the rounds.. I think someone would see it in a magazine or on the back of a box or jar of something.. now days, it would be a Pinterest recipe posted on Facebook!

I distinctly remember jello poke cake .. which was so disappointing. You'd think 'cool, cake!' and then you'd find out it was gross jello poke cake.

Not cool.

I remember my mom making 'taco salad' that consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, hamburger meat and crushed tortilla chips, tossed with Wishbone Russian dressing. I'm guessing it was found on the Wishbone bottle.  I remember the corn chips scraping my throat as I swallowed.. it was a painful and delicious meal.

I wanted to re-create this idea with healthier, whole food ingredients with a fun twist - homemade corn chip croutons! If you don't want to make the croutons.. you can just sub in some broken tortilla chips.

You need to make all the components and then assemble it. This will make 2 large entree sized salads or 4 side salads. I like the taco meat to be room temp or cold, but you can also have it warm if you'd like.

Taco Meat 

4 oz meatless ground
1 tsp oil
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Heat the oil in a pan and crumble the ground into it. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Warm it up until it's all incorporated.

Tomato Dressing

I recommend using a bullet type mini blender for this. If you don't have one, try a whisk.

4 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp nutritional yeast
3/4 tsp garlic powder or granules
3/4 tsp onion powder or granules
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Red Hot Cheesy Mayo Drizzle

I think you'll make this a lot once you try it. This is also great on a salad itself or you can dip your fries, carrots or chick'n nuggets in it! It's really addictive.

2 Tbsp Veganise
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Frank's Red Hot

Whisk together until very smooth and so it thins out enough to drizzle it. You may need to add a little unsweetened non-dairy milk to get it thin enough. It's your call.

Corn Chip Croutons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

6 corn tortillas
1/8 cup veg oil (canola, olive or corn)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, divided
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp garlic granules

Stack the tortillas and cut into strips and then into small squares and place in a large bowl.

In a measuring cup, blend the oil, 1 tbsp of the yeast, lime juice, salt, taco seasoning, onion and garlic and mix well. Pour over the tortillas squares and toss until all the pieces are coated. Then toss with the last tbsp of nutritional yeast. Spread out in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Bake until lightly brown and crispy, tossing every few minutes to avoid burning. They will start to make a sound on the sheet when they are crispy.. you'll 'hear' it and you can taste test them.. you won't be able to resist. Cool.

To assemble the salad:

Place a 10 oz bag of mixed greens into a large bowl with chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup sweet corn and toss gently and lightly with the tomato dressing. (add a little at a time as you go) Turn out onto a plate and top with the meat mixture. (you may not use all of it)  Drizzle the red hot mayo over that and sprinkle the croutons on top.

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