Green up your taco Tuesday with a taco salad

Sierra Grimm

Sometimes taco Tuesday can get bland for your pallet, as it seems to be the same thing every time. To spice up a taco Tuesday, instead of your traditional taco, why not try a taco salad? It’s an easy, quick and healthy substitute for your taco Tuesday tacos. A taco salad is also perfect if you’re not a fan of tortillas of any kind. It gives you the taste and feeling of a taco on a Tuesday while eliminating that poor taste or texture you don’t like. 

First, you’ll need the base. While lettuce is an important staple to any salad, I tend to gravitate toward healthier options, as it doesn’t hurt to substitute and/or eat healthier ingredients that also make your dish explode with flavor. Instead of lettuce, I use spinach. Lettuce is less nutrient dense, and spinach is loaded with necessary vitamins and is, in general, a much healthier alternative. It also holds much more flavor than lettuce and is a highly versatile ingredient. Thus, the base of this salad is made of yummy, raw spinach. 

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For my taco salad, I also choose to make my own taco seasoning. Typical pre-made packets are filled with excessive amount of salt which isn’t all that healthy. A better, healthier approach is to make your own seasoning and have it already prepared in bulk.

To add different and sweeter flavor to the taco approach, I add in mango peach salsa. The mango counteracts the spices and meat and gives the salad that nice sweet and salty mixture that balances out perfectly. Then, for another bold flavor, I add your typical, go-to feta cheese, which also adds a creamier texture. And to throw in one more flavor, I add half an avocado to the mix. For my meat, I prefer to use turkey.

The good thing about taco salad is that there are so many substitutes that you can use if one ingredient is not to your liking. If you’re not a fan of turkey meat, you can use chicken, carnitas or anything else that’s to your preference. Further, if you’re not a fan of mangos or peaches, you can use your choice of salsa instead. This meal can be adjusted to cater to specific allergies or other preferences, making it extremely flexible.

Ingredients:

Spinach taco salad:

-1 bag of spinach: $1.99 – Trader Joe’s  

1lb Ground Turkey Meat: $3.99 – Target   

-1 14 oz jar Mango Peach Salsa (optional): $2.69 – King Soopers   

-1 6 oz container Feta Cheese: $3.49 – Trader Joe’s  

-1 Organic Avocado: $1.49 – Trader Joe’s

Homemade Taco seasoning:   

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  • 4 tablespoons chili powder  
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin  
  • 1 tablespoon paprika  
  • 1 tablespoon salt  
  • 1 teaspoon oregano   
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper  
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder  
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder  

To make the seasoning, combine all ingredients in a sealed container or Ziploc bag and use two tablespoons per pound of meat in your taco salad.

Directions:   

For the spinach taco salad, start by browning your turkey meat in a skillet and breaking it up while cooking until it’s no longer pink. Next, add homemade taco seasoning and stir to combine with your meat.

After you have your meat prepared, grab a bowl big enough to allow you to mix everything in the end and add in a handful of spinach. Next, add a large helping of turkey meat. Then, add feta to your preference, half of an avocado and lastly, a good amount of desired mango peach salsa. 

Sierra Grimm can be reached via email at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSURam5.