Healthy Lunch Series: Vegetarian Taco Salad with Homemade Seasoning

 
Have you got a dishwasher reorganizer in the family?

We do.

And it seems there’s no easy cure.

No matter how carefully I place the plates, pack the cups or hang the knives, our resident reorganizer sneaks back to the dishwasher, quietly opens the door and proceeds to refile all of the dishes I’ve just loaded (!).

It’s been going on for about 20 years now.

Can anyone else relate?

(So what do we think… is it a nature or nurture thing? A confluence of influences thing? Any hope for reform?)

~~~~
Mexican food is in my top three all-time favorite cuisine types (if you must know, Thai, Indian, Mexican, generally in that order).  I adore the breadth of flavors and ingredients that typically characterize Mexican food and tacos are a family favorite.

The pre-packaged taco seasonings are convenient (and often yummy) but when you investigate the contents of these packages you begin to wonder: MSG, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicone dioxide (an “anticaking” agent), ethoxyquin (etho who? a preservative) and enough sodium to fill your daily quota and then some. On balance, I’d much rather spend the extra 5 minutes creating my own mixture and I think you’ll find the taste worthwhile too.

Healthy Lunch Series

Healthy Lunch Series: Vegetarian Taco Salad with Homemade Seasoning

For the Taco Salad:

  • 2 cups cooked black beans, thoroughly rinsed if using canned
  • 2 cups fresh whole corn kernels or thawed from frozen
  • 2 cups coleslaw or lettuce of choice
  • 16 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or any variety of  tomato chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese or cheese of choice, grated
  • 2 green onions/scallions for topping, finely chopped
For the Taco Seasoning:
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes, optional heat
  • pinch sea salt + black pepper


Serves 4

Notes:

  1. You can make your taco seasoning ahead of time and triple the batch to create enough seasoning for 3 meals.  Simply store the seasoning in an airtight container.
  2. I like to make a double batch of beans on the weekend for weekday meals. In addition to superior taste, I have ongoing concerns about the BPA content in lined cans.
  3. If you wish, you can season most or all of the ingredients in this recipe, as desired, by placing them in the skillet with the beans.
  4. Any plant protein can be used in place of the beans – diced tofu/tempeh, lentils or any other legume of choice.

Directions:

  1. In a small dish, combine taco seasoning ingredients together, mixing to integrate.  Set aside.
  2. Wash and chop vegetables as required and grate cheese.
  3. Warm a medium sized skillet over low heat and add black beans.  Sprinkle the black beans with half of the taco seasoning using a wooden spoon to help coat the beans and toss.  Add a little bit of water to the bean mixture (start with a quarter cup or so) and then add the remaining taco seasoning coating and tossing.  If necessary, add additional water to the mixture – you want the beans to be well coated with the seasoning but not dry and clumpy. The mixture should be mildly liquid. Remove beans from heat.
  4. If eating at home, you can plate the ingredients as illustrated in the photos adding the seasoned beans to the center.  Top the beans with a quarter cup of yogurt and sprinkling of green onion. If preferred, you can also cool the seasoned beans before serving.
  5. Salsa and guacamole also make delicious accompaniments.
  6. If bringing this lunch on the road or to the office, simply layer the ingredients into a container and seal well with lid.  Bring yogurt, salsa and guacamole in separate small containers as desired.
© Inspired Edibles

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I enjoy my taco salad with yogurt, fresh guacamole and plenty o’ salsa!

Bon Appétit

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Comments

  1. SallyBR says

    Oh, my god! I LIVE with a dishwasher reorganizer… it drives me absolutely nuts, as I don’t see anything wrong with the way I put the dishes in, AND I am very careful to leave enough space between bowls, whereas ALmighty Chief Organizer of Dirty Dishes seems more concerned with other, irrelevant (HA!) issues ;-)

    now that I got THAT off my chest, love your healthy lunch series, my kind of recipe all the way…. By the way, I have a new addiction: use a light spread of non-fat yogurt with salt and pepper as a spread on whole wheat bread. Slice of tomato on top, and I am in heaven!

  2. Koko says

    This is sooo beautiful and I’m totally with you on your three favourite cuisines!! I can imagine this with a heeaaaping scoop of guacamole. Mmmm!!

    And wow…Michelle has a nice little garden going there, doesn’t she! Lucky lady!

  3. Sandra @ Kitchen Apparel says

    Beautiful plate!!! The colors just pop out and make me so happy :) This dish sound so healthful and delicious….I’m loving the homemade seasoning!!! I think in our family I am the resident reorganizer…if my husband packs the car for a trip I have to reorganize the job he just did. At least I am able to admit it right?

  4. inspirededibles says

    Heehee, I love it! I specifically steered away from gender bias in describing this situation fully aware that there would be plenty of organizers out there of both sexes! I sure have my peculiarities too but as you say, the first step is recognizing it ;0)

  5. inspirededibles says

    I get ‘gently’ instructed frequently but no matter how I try to meet the standard it appears a re-org is generally required :). Ah, the little things. Your yogurt with sliced tomato sounds divine – my husband & son love a similar duo of avocado and purple onion on mayo :O).

  6. inspirededibles says

    Yes, it would be nice to have the space for a garden expanse like that (but then again, who am I kidding? I kill anything that isn’t a weed so I’m not sure it would matter in the least!). Cheers KoKo – thank you for your company :).

  7. Sissi_Withaglass.com says

    We all have such strange habits as mixing salads before serving them… Now looking at your lovely separated bright “lanes” of vegetables I wonder why I have never had this wonderful idea. It does change from the usual salad and looks so inviting! I totally agree on the sauces: I never ever buy ready-made sauces or dressings (I even have no idea how they taste…) unless they are such complicated things are fermented beans & chili Sichuan sauce or Hoisin sauce… I have heard that jars of guacamole are really disgusting.
    Michelle Obama’s garden looks very appetising ;-)

  8. inspirededibles says

    Hi Sissi! There’s a salad that is quite popular in North America that has those characteristic lanes that I’ve always found very attractive too. If you google image ‘cobb salad’ you’ll see what I mean :).

  9. Eva Taylor says

    I feel your pain! Without divulging who (but we all know it’s just the two of us!) it’s definitely not me! I’ve given up and now I just put the dishes in willy nilly knowing they will be reorganized for optimizing capacity. I no longer take offence, instead it has now been labelled a ‘blue job’ and I’ve washed my hands of it (if you’ll pardon the pun)!
    I’m going to agree with you on the cuisines, except my fav’s usually alter order depending on my mood. Mexican flavours are definitely up there, and I’m with you on prepackaged seasonings, I’d rather know what we’re eating. This is a lovely alternative to meat tacos, we love beans so it will make a lovely summer meal. In fact, our dear friends are coming up to our cottage in a couple of weeks and he is vegetarian, so this is definitely on the menu!
    How did your BIL get up so close? We were a million miles away!
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

  10. inspirededibles says

    Haha, I was going to say the relative order of my cuisine faves depends on my hormone levels but I guess mood pretty much covers the topic ;-).

    So you have a little organizer of your own do you? Yes, optimizing capacity is one stated goal and exposing the surfaces for proper washing is apparently another – the blade spins ‘this way’ not ‘that way’ ;O).

    Ah, yes, the garden shot…. without revealing any national secrets, my anonymous sources suggest that snipers may have been close at hand given the proximity of the shot ;O).

  11. says

    Love the way you have this plated…it’s a rainbow of colors/textures/flavors :) Oh, and I’m totally a dish reorganizer, but only cuz Nate has no idea what he’s doing ;) I think my favorite cuisine types are very similar to yours! Do you like vietnamese and korean food too? They’re my favorite of the asian cuisines. I think what I love about all these cuisines is all the fresh herbs. Yum!!!

  12. beyondthepeel says

    Gorgeous colors and nutrients! How wonderful. I love your homemade taco seasoning. Easy and flavorful. I have to admit, no re-organizers in our house or family. But my mother in law is famous for it. We only visit once a year, so I try not to let it bother me. I think this might be a matter of pick your battles and let this one be. At least it makes for funny story telling and taking the piss (aka friendly ribbing).

  13. says

    Definitely my kind of salad! We obviously have the same tastes in food, but my order is different. Bet you can’t guess which cuisine I put first. :) Love your taco salad! Healthy, beautiful and I know it’s delicious! O.K – I’m the reorganizer, but I’m not sure if Bobby has figured it out yet. He he. I reorganize to get more dishes in the the dishwasher. I can usually fit in twice the amount of dishes so when I get a chance, I move a few things around after he’s out of the room. :)

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