Just because the word "salad" is in the description of a dish does not make it healthy or lower in calorie. Taco salads are a perfect example. Between high-fat grades of ground beef, a deep-fat-fried shell, piles of cheese and dressing, you can get more than a full-days worth of calories and fat from a salad!
All that said, they can taste so darn good. The challenge is to keep the flavors and textures we love while reducing fat and calories. This home-made version does that and is easy to make. Baked tortilla chips are topped with lean seasoned beef, tomato, onion, sweet peppers, salsa, shredded low-fat cheese and a low-fat home-made spicy ranch dressing. It has the crunch of the chips and fresh peppers and onions, the spicy beef and sauces, the mellow cheese and cool tomatoes all for only 360 calories with 11 grams of fat and 4 of fiber.
Skinny Taco Salad
Makes 4 servings
1/2 pound 90 percent lean or better ground beef
1 tablespoons Smoky Southwest Spice Blend
8 ounces shredded lettuce
2 medium to large red tomatoes, diced
4 ounces shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 sweet yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup salsa
4 ounces baked tortilla chips
1 cup Spicy Ranch Dressing (recipe below)
Brown ground beef with seasoning mix.
Crush and spread chips across a plate, top with lettuce, meat, tomatoes, cheese, peppers onions, salsa and dressing.
Spicy Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat butter milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
Combine ingredients and chill. Make ahead to allow the flavors to blend.