tEX MEX TACO SALAD
I love authentic Mexican food but let's be honest: we all grew up eating Tex-Mex tacos and we wouldn't change a thing. When I was a kid, a taco was a yellow corn shell, stuffed with chopped vegetables, simply seasoned ground beef and grated cheddar cheese. While simple, and not gourmet by any means, those tacos were delicious and I looked forward to eating them every single time.
This salad is a deconstructed Tex-Mex taco without the shell and I'm not apologizing for it. It's delicious. Yes, it has rice instead of taco shells but I somehow prefer it this way. The meat/beans and rice are the only items that require cooking. The rest of the salad ingredients are to your taste. I've noted, below, what I like to use but you can use any vegetable/cheese combination you like. Because all of the ingredients are so flavourful, this salad doesn't require a dressing.
This is actually a vegetarian recipe that uses soy protein instead of meat. However, if you want to use meat, the method is exactly the same.
Soy Taco Meat and Beans
1 package soy meat replacement (like this one) or 3/4lb ground meat of your choice
1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1 can red kidney beans - rinsed and drained
1 small onion - minced
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1. heat oil in a large sautée pan. add onion and garlic and cook until onion is slightly translucent.
2. add soy meat or ground meat and stir to coat, breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon.
3. add taco seasoning and stir to evenly distribute spice mixture. add crushed tomatoes and water. stir to combine.
4. add kidney beans and lime juice. stir and bring to a boil. season with salt and pepper.
5. reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. the mixture should be thick and reduced. taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste.
1 cup basmati rice - washed thoroughly
1 3/4 cups water or stock
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp crushed tomato or tomato puree
1 clove garlic - finely minced
1 chilli of your choice - minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1. melt butter in your rice pot and add garlic and chilli. sautée for 2-3 minutes, making sure to not brown garlic.
2. add rice and stir to coat, toasting rice for 2-3 minutes.
3. add water or stock, crushed tomato, spices and salt. bring to a boil.
4. reduce heat to low and cover. cook for 15-20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.
5. remove from heat and fluff with a fork before serving.
To assemble, mound the rice in the middle of your bowl. add a spoonful or two of your meat mixture and surround with chopped vegetables. I use: a couple of slices of avocado, romaine lettuce, tomato, cilantro, green peppers, pickled jalapeños, fresh red chilli slices and a tablespoon or so of grated old cheddar cheese. Squeeze some lime juice over the whole thing and you're set. Add some sour cream if you want to.