So I’m not sure if this really counts as a recipe, but I’m going to go with yes.
This past weekend, I was out for Mexican food after spending the whole day cleaning, as to not dirty my freshly scrubbed kitchen. After I ordered my go-to (shrimp tacos, hold the sour cream, double the pico de gallo, and substitute corn tortillas for the flour ones, please. thank you very much) the waiter walked by with a taco salad for another table.
The enormous taco shell bowl was still hot and shiny from the grease of the fryer. I closed my eyes for a split second and imagined biting into the shell, all the flavors from the salad melting together on my tongue. I quickly snapped out of it and dug into the freshly fried chips on my own table to numb the pain, but I’ve been dreaming of a taco salad of my own ever since.
And last night was the the night.
I started by preheating the oven to 375º.
While that was heating up, I grabbed a glass bowl and sprayed it with some nonstick spray. The size of the bowl depends on the size of your tortilla, but there’s a lot of wiggle room here so you should be OK.
Because I keep the tortillas in the fridge, they were a little hard to bend, so I nuked one for 10 seconds before gently pressing it into the bowl.
The most important thing here is that part of the tortilla is flat against the bottom of the bowl so it’ll stand on its own once its baked. I also wanted the bowl to be shorter on one side so the salad would sort of be on display and facing me directly, so I made sure to have one side much higher than the other like this:
Once the oven is preheated, put the tortilla in there for 15 minutes until the edges start to brown and the tortilla is crispy throughout.
The shell will pop right out of the bowl and stand on its own, ready for whatever you want to pile it high with.
I started with a layer of spinach on the bottom.
Topped with a serving of tempeh taco filling (which coincidentally takes 15 minutes to make – aka the exact amount of time the bowl bakes for).
And while we’re on the subject of taco filling, Trader Joe’s makes THE BEST taco seasoning.
It’s cheaper than other brands (79 cents I believe) and has a great ingredient list with only the essentials and nothing extra.
Sea salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, cane sugar, paprika, onion, garlic, black pepper, red bell pepper, oregano, chili pepper, smoked paprika. That’s it.
Where were we? Ah yes, the dreamy taco salad.
I added 1/3 cup corn kernels and a serving of pepper jack cheese.
And then this amazing dressing that is NOT pretty. I mixed equal parts greek yogurt and salsa together (1/3 cup of each) and it made a spicy, tangy, creamy dressing that was perfect but not photogenic.
But I promise you, it was incredible.
The taco shell was warm and crispy, and stood up so well to the taco salad. I kept thinking the taco filling was the start of the dish, but then I’d get a bite of the taco shell doused in the creamy dressing, and it was a draw.
I like to eat with my hands. What can I say?
It was terrible.
If you could order anything you wanted in a Mexican restaurant, independent of calorie count or food allergies, what would you get? I would get a huge order of loaded nachos with guacamole!