Thursday, June 9, 2016

Creamy Taco Salad

When I was a kid (and let's face it, even now!) I wasn't a big fan of vegetables. One way my mom got us to eat more was by offering them raw. I loved them that way! Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, celery ... my diet was vastly improved by raw veggies. I don't even remember dipping them in anything, except that we ate peanut butter with our celery. Anyway, these days I have to be creative with salads because I'm still picky about what veggies I like. Often, a good dressing makes all the difference! I like to make my own because I can cut fat, calories and chemicals that way. Cool, tangy Cilantro-Garlic Sauce from Mama Loves Food is the perfect complement in this case. (I modified her recipe a little to suit my taste.) This salad is an easy fix with leftover taco meat. Often, taco salads have corn but I use carrot here to boost the nutrition yet still have that little sweet crunch corn would provide.

Creamy Taco Salad

2 cups romaine lettuce
1 cup iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup prepared taco meat (heated)
1/4 cup black beans
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup shredded cheddar (or pepper jack)

Cilantro-Lime Sauce

8 ounces reduced-fat (neufchatel) cream cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup milk
Juice from 2 limes (about 2-3 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed

In a blender, combine all ingredients except cilantro until smooth. Add in cilantro and blend until smooth again. Keep refrigerated.

For the salad:

In a bowl, layer the lettuces. Top with the carrots, taco meat, beans, and cheese. Drizzle with desired amount of cilantro dressing (reserve extra for another time). Serve!

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